Commentary

Do Celebrity Endorsements Move The Needle?

Results of The Harris Pollof 2,577 adults, surveyed online, show that 53% of Americans say that celebrities can make a large or some positive difference to the cause they are promoting, up from 45% who said this in 2008. 22% believe these celebrities can make little positive difference for their cause and just 16% say they make no difference at all.

Celebrities Making a Difference (% of US Adults, November 2013)

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Generation

Difference

Total 2013

Echo Boomers (18-36)

 Gen X. (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

Large/Some Difference (NET)

53%

57%

53%

49%

50% 

   A large difference

15

18

14

15

12 

   Some difference

37

39

39

34

38 

Little/No Difference (NET)

38

33

37

39

46 

   Little difference

22

23

19

23

22 

   No difference at all

16

10

18

17

24

   Not sure

10

9

10

11

4

Source: Harris Poll, November 2013 (Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; categories and ages in all charts are: Echo Boomers (18-36), Gen X. (37-48), Baby Boomers (49-67), Matures (68+)) 

19% of Americans say they have gotten more information or done anything to support a cause because of something they heard an actor, singer or other celebrity do, up from 15% who said this in 2008. Actors and singers supporting a cause may be a way to spur younger Americans to get more involved. Over one-quarter of Echo Boomers (27%) say they have done something because of a celebrity, as have 22% of Gen Xers, compared to 15% and 10% of Baby Boomers and Matures, respectively.

Done Anything To Support A Cause Because Of Celebrity Endorsement? (% of Respondents; Base: All U.S. adults)

 

 

Generation

 

Total 2013

Echo Boomers (18-36)

Gen X. (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

Yes

19%

27%

22%

15%

10%

No

81

73

78

85

90

Source: Harris Poll, November 2013

55% of Americans believe that negative publicity can be very or somewhat damaging to the issue that celebrity is promoting, while 23% believe it can be a little damaging. Just 7% of Americans believe the negative publicity to a star would be not at all damaging to the cause they were promoting.

Certain celebrities are known for having more star power than others. When asked about actors, musicians, athletes and other celebrities who are currently active in championing a cause, over one in ten Americans (12%) say Angelina Jolie has been very effective in raising awareness of her cause, followed by 5% who say Brad Pitt. Next on the list are Michael J. Fox and Bono/U2, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres, and Jerry Lewis and Marlo Thomas.

Celebrities Very Effective In Raising Awareness Of Their Cause (% of Respondents; Base: All U.S. adults) 

 

 

Generation

Celebrity

Total 2013

Echo Boomers (18-36)

Gen X. (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

Angelina Jolie

12%

14%

11%

13%

6%

Brad Pitt

5

6

3

6

5

Michael J. Fox

4

4

5

4

5

Bono/U2

4

5

2

4

2

George Clooney

3

3

4

4

3

Oprah Winfrey

3

5

2

3

3

Ellen DeGeneres

3

3

2

3

1

Jerry Lewis

2

*

1

3

4

Marlo Thomas

2

-

1

3

2

Source: Harris Poll, November 2013 (* response rate of <0.5%)

Besides causes, celebrities are also becoming more and more involved in politics, not only at the presidential level, but also at the gubernatorial and senatorial levels. They endorse candidates and appear at events with them, hoping their fans will support their political choices. Americans are divided as to how good an idea this is, with 40% saying it is a bad thing and 38% believing it is a good thing; 22% are not sure if it is a good or bad thing.

58% of Americans say they believe the support of a celebrity can change a person's views about which candidate to support, compared to 25% who say this support does not change a person's view.

Support Of A Celebrity Changes People's Views About Which Candidate To Support (% of Respondents; Base: All U.S. adults)  

 

 

Generation

 

Total 2013

Echo Boomers (18-36)

Gen X. (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

CHANGES VIEWS (NET)

58%

65%

54%

57%

52%

   Definitely changes views

10

12

10

9

7

   Probably changes views

48

53

43

48

45

DOESN'T CHANGE VIEWS (NET)

25

18

23

28

38

   Probably does not change views

20

14

16

23

29

   Definitely does not change views

5

4

6

5

9

   Not sure

17

17

23

15

10

Source: Harris Poll, November 2013

For additional information, please visit HarrisInteractive here.

 

 

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