Luxury brands are spending every year millions of dollars hoping to be able to engage as many fans as possible in as many ways as possible via as many channels as possible.
For instance, the famous Louis Vuitton brand had a $10 million advertising agreement with Angelina Jolie. With such a powerful celebrity endorsement, everyone would expect to automatically be an amazing success. But it depends on the way this tactic is approached.
The first question that everyone should ask himself is if the celebrity endorser is credible for a given product or category. Angelina Jolie is quite credible for Louis Vuitton – she is an icon of fashion and glamour and it’s not too hard to imagine her wearing Vuitton products by choice. James Gandolfini would be credible for cigars – it doesn’t require a whole lot of imagination to see the Tony Soprano actor smoking a Montecristo. Now if we change the roles, there will not be any relevance into this approach. So…is the celebrity endorsement cost-effective? Campaign budgets vary, and the situation is the same for celebrity price tags. But as a general matter, the kind of celebrities that could make a difference are not cheap at all.
To find out an answer to the question stated above, Adweek/Harris Interactive recently conducted a poll about celebrity endorsements in advertising, and the results are as follows:
- 77% of respondents claimed that “when a sports star, movie star or other celebrity endorses a product” they are no more or less likely to buy it.
- 14% stated they are less likely to buy.
- Only 4% stated they are more likely to buy. What’s more, these results were remarkably consistent across age groups and gender.
Of course, this poll, as any other opinion survey takes into consideration three big assumptions:
a) that respondents are aware enough of their, often subconscious, mental processes to assess their reaction
b) that they will openly admit their views; and
c) that their stated views are predictive of their actual behavior
In other words is the celebrity endorser credible for a product category? The answer is simple: not always. For instance, if we take into consideration categories such as perfume, liquor or fashion, celebrity endorsements can bring a lot in terms of credibility while if we refer to financial services, a Hollywood star will never have a positive impact simply because he is not a finance specialist and second because he does not represent the portrait of a potential customer who may need such services.
So, what marketers should do first is to analyze the advertising tactic from different perspectives and be very cautious regarding who is going to endorse the respective product or service because the category and the celebrity are chosen wrongly, then even if the company spends $10 million it may not bring any brand capital.
The following infographics speak for themselves: