Fast-forward to 2014 and we see this trend continuing, particularly with major campaigns affiliated with the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. Of the 86 celebrity-driven campaigns launched as of this week, the majority were associated with these two seminal events. As in previous years, athletes continue to be a popular choice for brands seeking viral ad success.
However, there are two interesting celebrity trends that are unique to 2014 thus far:
The Use of Multiple Celebrities
In general, some of the most popular celebrity campaigns of all time -- including YouTube’s end-of-the-year wrap-up videos from 2012 and 2013, Samsung’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” Turkish Airlines’ “The Selfie Shootout,” and Comic Relief’s “Red Nose Day” -- tend to feature more than one famous face.
But in 2014, there seems to be an overwhelming trend of featuring multiple celebrities in a campaign. During the Super Bowl, Bud Light had five in its campaign, Jaguar had three, and Hyundai, Ford and Volkswagen each featured two in their campaigns. In some cases, the use of multiple celebrities is a ploy to reach different demographics all at once. In others, like Bud Light, it is also a way to create buzz around the campaign and make it feel epic.
The Use of Nostalgic Celebrities
Last year, one of the biggest video hits was Volvo Trucks’ Live Test, featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Following that example, we are already seeing that most of the most viral celebrity campaigns of 2014 star celebrities that had their heyday back in the 1980s and 1990s.
This year, we’ve already seen two campaigns with Arnold Schwarzenegger, another action hero from yesteryear as well as spots with Richard Lewis, Carmen Electra, Sarah McLachlan and John Stamos, among others. And Radio Shack’s Super Bowl campaign featured a host of 1980s stars including Hulk Hogan, Erik Estrada, Dee Snider and ALF.
The virality of these campaigns -- and the increase in spots using stars of yesteryear -- demonstrates how nostalgia plays to our deepest emotions.
Here is a look at the results of the top five viral ad campaigns of 2014 that feature celebrities:
We expect to see these trends continue throughout 2014, with celebrities leveraged in major World Cup, back-to-school and holiday campaigns.