We live in a celebrity-obsessed world. People and US Weekly magazines dominate newsstands while Access Hollywood and E! fill our screens with EZ Magic Video Review.
No wonder, then, that spokespersons are used to promote events, increase product sales, and generate publicity for marketing programs.
As you plan your celebrity marketing strategy, keep in mind these top 10 tips for using a spokesperson.
Spokespersons typically fall into three categories:
- TV and film stars, musicians, comedians
- Current and former professional athletes, broadcasters, Olympians
- Home design, fitness, nutrition, financial, relationship, lifestyle, medical, fashion, parenting, travel, etc.
Depending on your brand strategy, one or all of these could be a good fit. Look at your product messaging and company values to determine the ideal spokesperson for your audience.
- A well-known and respected celebrity will serve as a draw to your event or product. Hall of Fame star Ronnie Lott of the San Francisco 49ers attracted attendees to a recent Genentech corporate event with his keynote speech and autograph-signing.
- The right spokesperson will naturally attract media coverage. Intuit, in only in the middle of an eight-month program marketing program ("Small Business Big Game") with Bill Rancic (entrepreneur, author, season one winner of “The Apprentice, and reality television star of Giuliana and Bill), had already generated over 8 billion media impressions.
- Celebrities with a connection to a health issue or illness are helpful in educating and informing the public. For a health-related marketing program, we secured actress Holly Robinson Peete, whose father suffered from Parkinson's; she was a terrific ambassador to communicate key message points.
Personifying a brand through the use of a spokesperson is a strategy that some companies use to humanize their brands. Three of the ways that such personification is accomplished in advertising is by ads featuring celebrities, “regular people" (such as Social Video Ads Review), and company founders or CEOs as spokespeople. Using a sampling of representative print ads as stimuli, this exploratory qualitative research probed consumer thinking and perceptions regarding these various approaches to brand personification. It was found that celebrities could magically transport consumers to an idealized place, provided there was congruence between the celebrity and the brand. Ordinary people as spokespeople, when genuinely perceived as “one of us," could be particularly effective in humanizing a brand and eliciting empathy. Famous CEOs and company founders were revered by many respondents who viewed them as aspirational models: they are ordinary people with an extraordinary story. The implications and limitations of the research were discussed, and some directions for future research were provided.
Marketers recognize the celebrity's influence the message “the brand" the companies are trying to convey over to the consumer and their similarity. The marketer also recognized consumer’s information input from the communicator “the celebrity", whom they may have similar goals, interest or lifestyle with other than with a person they cannot relate. In addition, a celebrity is capable of transferring their image to the product the company is advertising. “Company have taken this opportunity into account and tries through using it as an advertising tool, to gain a high brand exposure, attention, interest, desire, and action"( Self-Improvement and Personal Growth 101 Review).
The effectiveness of celebrity advertisement taps into consumer interest. Factors associated with celebrity effectiveness are creditability, knowledge, and trustworthiness and appearance. The creditability and effectiveness of the message depend on expertness and trustworthiness. A celebrity with a higher creditability is more effective than a less creditable message. “Advertiser will opt to use celebrities if they think they have a high level of creditability" (M, Mohan, et al., 2005). Celebrity’s knowledge and expertise of the brand play an important role on the valid assertions of the product.
Majority of companies uses an expert spokesperson
Many marketing companies have realized the importance of celebrity’s endorsement as a marketing communication tool. Corporations hire celebrities because they are individuals with “Celebrity Equality". The awareness and association celebrities portray to consumer firm’s hope this branding transfer to the product they are selling. When corporations endorse a celebrity, they are taking on the possibility and risk of that the spokesperson may become involved in events that can have deleterious effects on the company and the product, they are advertising. “They’re human. When you sign on to a celebrity, you sign on to the whole package –the good, the bad, and the ugly" (L, Therese, & K, Robert & J, Robert, 2001). Throughout my paper, I will be using Tiger Wood as an example of the positive and negative effects of a celebrity as a spokesperson. Celebrity advertising is no panacea for achieving attention and higher sales. Companies believe that the celebrity’s message, delivers a higher degree of appeal, and attention to consumers. Marketer’s claim that a celebrity creditability increase memory of the message and may provide a positive effect that could be generalized to the brand, states M. Mohan & B, Loue & R, Hudson. Firms have come to realize celebrity spokespersons like Tiger Wood have believability, purchase intentions and favorable effect on consumers. “The casual observer is somewhat inclined to believe that professional sport athletics are in greater demand as a celebrity product endorser" (S, George, J, Mathew & J, Jones, 2003). These advertising strategies include sexual, chock, emotional, fear, and humor. Companies are seeking higher brand awareness and recognition to consumers from these appeals. Celebrity used to attract large audiences, a well-known person in the public eye “celebrity" tends to have a great effect on buying of the company product." Celebrity endorsement has been recognized as a ubiquitous feature of modern marketing" (D, Chabo & J, Saouma, 2005). Marketers recognize the celebrity's influence the message “the brand" the companies are trying to convey over to the consumer and their similarity. The marketer also recognized consumer’s information input from the communicator “the celebrity", whom they may have similar goals, interest or lifestyle with other than with a person they cannot relate. In addition, a celebrity is capable of transferring their image to the product the company is advertising. “Company have taken this opportunity into account and tries through using it as an advertising tool, to gain a high brand exposure, attention, interest, desire, and action"(D, Chaboet, et al., 2005). The effectiveness of celebrity advertisement taps into consumer interest. Factors associated with celebrity effectiveness are creditability, knowledge, and trustworthiness and appearance. The creditability and effectiveness of the message depend on expertness and trustworthiness. A celebrity with a higher creditability is more effective than a less creditable message. “Advertiser will opt to use celebrities if they think they have a high level of creditability" (M, Mohan, et al., 2005). Celebrity’s knowledge and expertise of the brand play an important role on the valid assertions of the product. Majority of companies uses an expert spokesperson when a product and service carry a higher financial performance, or physical risk. However, physical appearance does send positive feeling towards celebrity. Studies have linked the celebrity’s attitude toward issues and products have changed because of attractiveness to consumers. When the physical attractiveness and the product match up, the outcome for the company is a positive impact on the product and service. Nike has been consistent in endorsement of celebrities to endorse their brand. When Nike teamed up with Tiger Wood: ace golfer, they had no experience in golf. It was considered that the Nike brand would not be successful but because of the association with the best golfer, “Tiger", in the world, Nike has emerged highly successful in golf apparel, equipment and accessories, states Martin Roll, Business & Brand Strategist. Celebrity endorsements are for products of high price production cost margin with a large customer base. Typically, this type of endorsement is for products of national markets and not local products, e.g. drinks and running shoes. Studies have shown consumers are more interested in product when endorsed by a famous athlete than an average citizen is. There is no other like a celebrity sales person when it comes to selling. At 26, Woods were at a point in his career where he surpassed Jordan as the world’s leader athlete endorser and remarkably set brand new standard for what it means to endorse a product stated on An Exploratory Study on the use of Sports Celebrities in Advertising. “The celebrity help the brand leap out of clutter and if the chemistry between the brand is right, the buzz could turn into an uproar" (Dr. K, Puja, 2006). On the other hand, negative publicity affects the product when damaging information spreads on the celebrity. This can be direct or indirect on the company and product, e.g. Tiger Wood and his sex scandal publicity. Before his discretion in the media spotlight, Tiger perceived as a saint, he had the perfect marriage, kids and lifestyle to his audience. Negative publicity decreases the consumer’s trustworthiness of the celebrity and the brand. After his scandal, his credibility and façade were ruined. For example, his associates, friends, and other endorsements quickly suspended their respective association with the golfer. Even after Tiger’s, negative publicity, Nike continued to use him in their advertisements, e.g. Tiger Dad’s Commercial Tiger Wood and Nike built equity in the golfing arena. There are several reasons behind companies choosing a celebrity for endorsement of their brand. One reason is the company is seeking to refresh the brand image. How the celebrity identified and seen for promoting the product is more important than how a consumer will perceive the brand. Lesser important decisions a company may make are the name of the brand and place where the product is seen and the type of campaigning used for advertising. Over the year’s, celebrities have been involved in some type of scandalous events e.g. Michael Phelps, illegal drugs, Magic Johnson, HIV positive. An English celebrity by the name Lillie Langtry was dropped from Pear Soap in 1980’s because of her promiscuous reputation. For as long as there been celebrity’s endorsement, there is a potential for involvement in defaming publicity. “This in term can influence the awareness of the attitude towards the brand, which affect current and future term sales and earning, by the firms value" (L. Therese, 2001). For example, the celebrity reputation –damage can transfer to the sponsoring company. On the other hand, there has been evidence this type of publicity can be positive for a firm, e.g. Mariah Carey’s admittance into the hospital for a nervous breakdown and undergoing psychiatric care. Studies have shown the impact of these events on the company value depend on the blameworthy of the celebrity that been befallen on them. When a celebrity collapsed because of illness, the consumer finds no fault or blame and sympathy and likeness is the out come. In contrast, when a celebrity collapsed because of drunkenness, fault blamed from the consumers’ anger and disliking is the result. Even though the negative publicity of a celebrity can have serious effects on their sponsoring company and the product their prompting, there are other reasons for brands failing, regardless of celebrity endorsement. Reasons that follow are risk vs. return. Celebrity famous lifestyle of “rich and famous" can overshadow the brand they are trying to sell. The celebrity value and the brand is not a match –up and consumers remember the spokesperson before the brand. Research has shown 80 % of consumers remember the celebrity vs. recall of the brand endorsed, states Dr. Puja Khatri. Another risk is the celebrity creditability question, in these cases in today’s marketing of endorsements the firm competitive and knowledge base questioned by people whom believe, celebrity endorsing used to befool people to buy company products. The last risk is conflicting with images; the mix match between image and product can be harm both. Then there’s the consumer recognizes the recall of a product that was endorsed by celebrity vs. a non-celebrity. “Research shows consumers have a higher level of message recall for product that is endorsed by celebrity" (K, Puja et al., 2006). Consumers sometimes tend to connect emotionally to celebrities. They’re influenced by celebrity’s everyday attire and personality. For example, Paris Hilton started the trend of carrying your small dog in a handbag everywhere you go.