Celebrity-Fueled TV Commercials Double Down During March Madness, Other Events

TV commercial misdirection can be a good thing for weary TV consumers insisting on celebrity-filled TV messaging pushing big consumer brands.

Celebrity-based, high-production TV commercials continue to be a major factor -- especially in big events like the Super Bowl, “The Oscars," and even the current March Madness event, the NCAA's Men's College Basketball Tournament. 

As it turns out, some marketers really like the idea. But who really wants to pay those multi-hundred-thousand-dollar celebrity endorsements? 

One of the more intriguing celebrity-themed TV campaigns a few years ago, in New Zealand, took a different spin.

Skinny -- a mobile phone service in that country -- ran a campaign in 2018 called ‘Famous Names’, showing real, ordinary New Zealanders who just happened to be called Ben Affleck, Michael Jordan, Clint Eastwood,  Anthony Hopkins, Julia Roberts, and Sarah Jessica Parker among others.



It was kind of clever and got lots of attention to push its theme that this mobile phone service was inexpensive -- largely because it was not wasting money on huge athlete endorsements like the "more expensive Michael Jordan" commanding the sky-high price, according to the less-basketball-savvy New Zealander of the same name onscreen. 

Celebrity-themed messaging comes to mind when watching TV commercials during the current March Madness event running on CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV networks.

Capital One has amped up its on-screen celebrity-attached brands by featuring a slew of celebrities -- sometimes all in the same commercial, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley, Spike Lee, Magic Johnson,  and Jennifer Garner. Recently it added musician Willie Nelson.

While entertaining, it seems to TV Watch that this is some tough sledding. Consuming a number of these ads with the blur of celebrity exposure, TV Watch found itself forgetting that all this was promoting the use of a credit card. For me, it seemed like a bunch of well-known faces on the TV screen just having a good time and joking around.

No matter. One recent study says this still means celebrity brand ambassadors can improve a brand's value to the point of raising sales by 4% over its competition.

One USA Today analyst said the science is baked in here. “Because of the concept of familiarity, seeing a celebrity arouses our emotions. It connects us to the product and makes it memorable. Our emotions, more than any other thing, tend to drive our decisions.” 

Sure. But I'll pay off my TV brand emotions in cash once in a while.

1 comment about "Celebrity-Fueled TV Commercials Double Down During March Madness, Other Events".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Paul Bledsoe from Bledsoe Advertising/Productions, April 3, 2023 at 2:54 p.m.

    Great article, celebrities do catch viewers. In regards to Capital One creative, viewers have come to love those creative pieces each year and I'm a part of that group. It's fun to see what happens next! I'm glad there is no charge to see them!

Next story loading loading..