The benefits of celebrity endorsements are very well documented. Customers are more likely to choose goods and services endorsed by celebrities than those without such endorsements. Plus with thousands of advertised messages hitting us during our ‘time-poor’ week, well-known identities will attract, and hold, our attention faster.
Finally, most importantly a celebrity who personifies your brand can communicate its values almost instantly with great long term results.
However, there are disadvantages too. There is the cost issue. The bigger the name, the bigger the price. There is also the danger of negative publicity surrounding your celebrity, like swimmer Michael Phelps and his bong smoking episode that saw Kellogs swiftly cut ties. You also have to ensure that you don’t have a “celebrity whore” whose name is attached to everything thus diluting the strength of the message.
But before you make a decision, apply the FRED system, which stands for familiarity, relevance, esteem and differentiation. It stems from a $6 million study interviewing 30,000 people around the world to find out why brands and their advertising efforts succeed and fail (Miciak & Shanklin, 1994).
Familiarity means people must be aware of the celebrity, and see them as friendly and trustworthy. Next is relevance, ensuring there’s a link between the endorser and the product, as well as between the endorser and consumers.
Next is esteem. Consumers must feel a strong affinity, and respect, with the celebrity for overall credibility. Finally, there is differentiation, where consumers should view the celebrity as different from all the rest.
Now, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on who they think makes for a great endorser!