The Psychology of Celebrity Advertising
If science has proven anything about people, it’s that faces are incredibly appealing to human beings. It’s why babies stare unabashedly at the faces of others; additionally, humans are hard-wired to like a familiar face. Once we’ve seen a face over and over again, we’re inclined to react favorably towards it. This is why celebrity advertising can be such a powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal. It’s especially effective if a celebrity boasts a certain kind of following that the advertiser is trying to attract.
The Power to Open Doors
Particularly for products that are new on the market, a celebrity advertisement can get potential consumers to take notice. For instance, when the company T-Mobile launched in the United States, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones served as the face of the brand. This led American audiences to take a closer look at this new product, which probably wouldn’t have seemed as noteworthy without the participation of this glamorous movie star.
Reviving an Old Brand
Sometimes an older brand will partner with a celebrity whose career is on the upswing; this helps them to attract new attention and become more relevant in many consumers’ eyes. Pepsi in particular has partnered up with many musicians over the years, from singers like Michael Jackson to Britney Spears. Sprite has contracted the services of rapper Drake. Sometimes, when a brand needs to step out and engage younger people, soliciting the support of a celebrity is one of the most effective ways to do it.
Picking the Right Person: How Celebrity Advertising Is Planned
Many brands spend a great deal of time discussing who they want to represent them—and why. Although prospective candidates are often discussed mostly in the marketing and advertising departments, all of the top brass will need to sign off on such major decisions. Once a list of possible celebrities has been devised, then the brand may even use focus group companies to see what the public thinks of an association between the brand a specific person.
After much research and analysis, the brand will then make overtures to the representatives of the lucky celebrity in question. The whole process can be very time-consuming, but at the end of it, the brand will probably emerge with a deal. Press releases will go out, informing the public and already starting to generate some buzz for the alliance.
The Effectiveness of Cross-Promotion
Another reason why brands choose to work with celebrities is due to the effects of cross-promotion. For instance, if a star such as Jennifer Lawrence contracts to do some work as the face of Dior, then their dresses will inevitably end up on the red carpets of the most exclusive awards shows in the world. This kind of publicity is golden, and as Lawrence’s dress selections are continually published online and mentioned on news programs, the name Dior receives a lot of airtime.
Ellen DeGeneres is in a similar position due to her side gig as a CoverGirl ambassador. For instance, when Sofia Vergara appeared on Ellen’s show recently, the two stars discussed a shoot they had done for a CoverGirl commercial. This is exactly the kind of celebrity ads that companies love—just two very recognizable women chatting about their product in a completely natural setting. This kind of celebrity branding, which seamlessly enters the consumer’s consciousness, is more likely to work than any “hard sell” tactic. Once they see these two celebrity women talking about CoverGirl on Ellen’s show, they’ll be more apt to get online and research the new product—or even check it out in person the next time they’re at the drugstore. It may even lead directly to a sale.
Gift Bags and Celebrity Advertising
Every year, when the awards show roll around, the public is stunned by reports of the decadent gift bags that nominees receive. Bursting with perks like free trips to Israel, sunglasses that cost more than a car and free plastic surgery, the gift bags are often worth over a hundred thousand dollars. However, many people aren’t aware that the companies who are placing their products in the gift bags are paying to do so.
Why? Because just a few tabloid pictures of a celebrity wearing their t-shirt or using their services will automatically boost the profile of their company. This kind of advertisement is worth its weight in gold, which is why businesses go to such great lengths to get their items in a gift bag or gifting suite. Also, since the news media often reports on the free gifts that nominees receive, the company will receive an added boost of exposure from the news articles. It’s truly a win-win for all the parties involved.
Celebrity Advertisements Are Here to Stay
Whether it’s a former supermodel hawking her wares on an infomercial or a movie star slipping on a designer’s dress, the data indicates that celebrity advertisements work. Fulfilling the human need for familiar faces and pairing it with celebrity culture, this kind of marketing has worked since the dawn of advertising—and will continue to do so for years to come.