Celebrity endorsements have been part of marketing as long as there have been celebrities and products. As far back as the 18th century, Wedgwood china was endorsed by royalty. You can look back on celebrity endorsement in the 20th century and see some odd matchups, like Doris Day promoting a steamroller and Ronald Reagan advising consumers to send Chesterfield cigarettes to their friends at Christmas.
Celebrity endorsements will probably always be used in CPG brand promotions.
In 1975, when television advertising reigned, approximately one of eight network TV commercials included a celebrity endorser. Though it is still used for CPG brand promotion today, it is more focused and considered, with brands pairing up with celebrities who resonate well with their target demographic.
When It Is Good, It Is Very, Very Good
Figures from 2015 reported that a single endorsement by a celebrity can increase sales by 4 percent, and it happens almost immediately. Therefore, it does not make much sense for brands to dismiss the idea of bringing in someone famous to promote their brand without at least considering the pros and cons.
Celebrity endorsements do not generally have an appreciable effect on brand loyalty, but they are fantastic for magnifying the effects of a specific CPG brand promotion. The mere fact of a celebrity signing an endorsement deal gives that product more “legitimacy,” and signing a contract with a celebrity or athlete can bump a brand’s stock price as soon as the deal is announced.
When It Goes Bad, It Can Be Horrid
Celebrity endorsements sometimes go bad, as you know. Many consumers are old enough to remember O.J. Simpson running through airports in his ads for Hertz car rentals, and many more remember supermodel Kate Moss losing her contracts with several fashion brands for alleged drug use. Tiger Woods is no longer the endorsement magnet he once was, either.
The damage to a brand can be real and lasting, so brands know they take a genuine risk when they sign a celebrity to an endorsement contract. The celebrity hero who confers a “halo effect” onto a brand when their stock is rising can just as easily tarnish the brand if they should get into trouble, make controversial remarks, or otherwise make themselves less likable to the public.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Celebrity Endorser
Many factors must be considered for a successful celebrity endorsement contract.
The three main considerations brands should make when choosing a celebrity for their CPG brand promotion are the celebrity’s attractiveness and likability, credibility, and the compatibility between the brand and the celebrity. Today you are far less likely to see the equivalent of Doris Day advertising construction equipment, for example. In fact, though choosing celebrity spokespeople is still in many ways an art, science and data are now available to help brands make the right celebrity choices for their CPG brand promotion.
Technology Can Do Some of the Predictive Work for You
Successful celebrity endorsements require that brands understand whether and how there is a connection between a star and their target consumer audience. The goals of the brand and the endorser should align and should make sense, whether a brand reaches out to a major celebrity or a niche influencer. It makes sense, for example, for the YouTube hair styling star with gorgeous tresses to endorse a brand of hair care products.
In fact, there are companies and software products today that help brands identify the best celebrities or influencers to ink deals with based on audience interest and affinities and the potential for bringing new customers to a brand. They can even attempt to quantify risk probability so brands can feel more confident a celebrity with whom they work will not tarnish their brand image.
CPG brand promotions and famous people have teamed up since even before mass media existed. Brands have long understood the attention a famous face can bring to a product, and though it sometimes goes awry, it goes right enough of the time to make it a worthwhile risk for many brands. Lessons learned from past brand-celebrity partnerships plus new computer models can help brands align themselves with the most appropriate celebrity for their products.