Celebrity Ads Get Attention But Don't Always Deliver

Celebrity Ads Get Attention But Don't Always Deliver

Around the world, television advertisers use celebrities or stars in a bid to win consumers' attention, interest, and favorable attitudes toward their brands. Advertisers have employed famous athletes, actors, musicians, and even political figures.

According to a recent Ipsos article, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. David Ogilvy reported many years ago that, in his experience, "Testimonials by celebrities... are below average in their ability to change brand preference. Viewers guess that the celebrity has been bought, and they are right. Viewers have a way of remembering the celebrity but forgetting the product."

The Ipsos study confirms Ogilvy's opinions, but the research also illuminates the factors that differentiate success from failure and can guide advertisers to use celebrities more effectively.

Pretest scores from North America, Latin America, and Europe show that, on average, celebrity ads score below norm on key measures of persuasion and branded communication (related recall). While celebrities may generate higher levels of attention among viewers, the impression is not always strongly linked to the advertised brand.

Average Score for Celebrity Ads (Index % of norm)

 

US

Europe

Latin America

Ad Recall

91%

88%

100%

Recognition

106

94

103

Brand Linkage

88

92

99

Persuasion

80

92

99

Source: Ipsos-ASI

Even when the star is well known, ads that identify the celebrity in both audio copy and on the screen demonstrate greater persuasiveness and branded recall than ads that rely on the star's recognition alone.

Another finding from the research is that celebrity ads often achieve lower ratings not only for believability. The message becomes more powerful when the celebrity endorsement carries "expert" authority or relevance for the brand, such as an athlete for sportswear or equipment, a famous chef for a food product, or a racecar driver for tires or motor oil.

Average Score for Celebrity Ads (Index % of norm)

Believability

86%

Relevance

93

Differentiation

94

Source: Next-TV Europe

While the findings described here come from television ad research, the principles apply to celebrities in any medium. These principles also appear to work across countries, but a given celebrity campaign may not, so international campaigns present additional challenges.

Read more on celebrities here.

Recommend (2) Print RSS