Celebrity Endorsements:  The Influence and Challenges of Famous Faces in Marketing

05/07/2024 by Newman Staff

What do Kylie Jenner, Harry Styles, David Beckham and George Clooney have in common?

Their names are linked to successful product brands. Jenner has partnered with Puma, Beckham with Adidas, Styles with Gucci, and Clooney with Nespresso.

Image showing brands associated with celebrity endorsements.

What is celebrity endorsement?

Celebrity endorsement, also known as celebrity advertising, is a marketing strategy that utilises a celebrity’s fame and image to promote a brand or product. This approach is not limited to commercial enterprises; non-profit organisations and charities also harness the power of celebrity endorsements to raise awareness and generate funding for their causes.

What are the benefits of celebrity endorsements?

Celebrity endorsements offer numerous benefits for brands:

  1. Increases Brand Recognition: In the age of social media, a single tweet from a celebrity endorsing a product, service, or brand can be extremely lucrative. Studies have shown that people are more likely to recall and remember advertisements featuring celebrities and are more inclined to watch an ad if it features their favourite celebrity.
  2. Builds Brand Personality: Over time, the attributes and characteristics of the celebrity become associated with the brand they endorse. This affiliation helps in shaping and enhancing the brand’s personality, making it more relatable and appealing to the target audience.
  3. Boosts Financial Results and Profits: Celebrity endorsements can lead to increased sales and higher profits. The credibility and appeal of a celebrity can drive consumer interest and influence purchasing decisions, resulting in improved financial performance for the brand.

While celebrity endorsements can offer substantial benefits, there are several pitfalls to consider:

  1. High Costs: Celebrity endorsements are often very expensive. Agreements can reach up to 100 million pounds for a 10-year period, making it a significant financial commitment for the brand.
  2. Overexposure: Celebrities often endorse multiple brands simultaneously, leading to overexposure. This can dilute their impact and result in a loss of credibility and trust among the public, as consumers may perceive their endorsements as less genuine.
  3. Image Issues: Since the celebrity’s image becomes intertwined with the brand they promote, any scandals or negative shifts in public perception surrounding the celebrity can have a disastrous impact on the brand. This risk can undermine the brand’s reputation and affect its overall success.

What should brands therefore do to make sure they benefit from the endorsements?

To maximise the benefits of celebrity endorsements, brands should carefully consider the alignment between the celebrity and the brand’s values. Here are some key strategies:

  1. Align Values: The celebrity’s personal values and public image should align with those of the brand. For example, a sports product would be more credibly endorsed by a well-known athlete whose lifestyle and values resonate with the brand’s ethos.
  2. Relevance and Fit: Select celebrities who have a natural connection to the brand’s products and target audience. This relevance ensures that the endorsement feels genuine and persuasive.
  3. Long-Term Viability: Evaluate the long-term compatibility of the celebrity with the brand. Choosing someone likely to maintain a positive image and remain relevant to the brand’s audience over time can lead to more sustained benefits.
  4. Continuous Monitoring: Regularly monitor the celebrity’s public image to ensure it remains consistent with the brand’s values. This proactive approach can help mitigate any potential negative impacts from scandals or shifts in public perception.

By implementing these strategies, brands can create authentic and effective endorsements that build trust and resonate with consumers.

In the current digital era, virtually every brand has a social media presence and leverages celebrity endorsements or influencer marketing. To maintain relevance, brands should focus on cultivating strong, collaborative relationships with their endorsers, rather than merely treating them as paid promoters. By aligning values and goals, engaging in creative collaborations, and fostering long-term partnerships, brands can ensure that endorsements feel authentic and resonate with audiences resulting in more effective and meaningful marketing strategies.

Dr Gautam Rajkhowa, Senior Lecturer in Business Management. To contact: g.rajkhowa@newman.ac.uk