The concept of using celebrity endorsements to market products is almost as old as marketing itself. As a 70s baby growing up in Singapore, I remember those retro calendars featuring Hongkong film stars hung on my grandmother’s kitchen wall. The celebrity photo was printed on a metal plate, next to the logo or product image of the brand which produced the calendars, usually a medicinal oil. If you are a digital native reading this, you would be even more familiar with the concept, what with the array of influencers marketing anything from cosmetics to a million-dollar condo on their social media.
According to research by Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse and Barclays Capital analyst Jeroen Verleun, a celebrity endorsement increases a company’s sales an average of 4% relative to its competition, and also increases a company’s stock value by 0.25%. Of the thousands of deals handled by The Celeb Net founder Kevin Zhang in Singapore for the past 2 decades, he has seen celebrity endorsements averaging 15-25% in increased sales for established brands, and multiple times higher for new brands.
Here are 5 reasons why celebrity endorsements work:
1. Celebrities capture our attention
When we run into a celebrity on the streets, we will almost certainly turn and take a second look. When we see a campaign fronted by a celebrity, it captures our attention better than one without a familiar face. Studies have shown that advertisements that use a celebrity, whom people already have positive feelings and impulses for, grab attention more easily than a standard ad.
2. We want to be like the celebrities
When Vogue Japan released a 17-second teaser video of Korean boyband BTS decked out in Prada in June this year, the brightly coloured couture jacket worn by Jungkook(which costs US$2820 by the way) sold out in 25 countries immediately. You most definitely would have bought products because your favourite celebrity is seen using the product and you want to be like him/her – be it a beverage or a facial cleanser.
3. Celebrities open up new demographic audiences
While influencers generally target a specific niche by creating content relevant to that niche, celebrities offer massive exposure and in most cases, their reach extends to all demographics. For example, you’d have TV stars whom people across all age groups, income levels or even races look up to. While there will be a larger concentration of certain demographics among their audiences, they would be able to reach a more varied audience than influencers. This is the reason why you see celebrities fronting government campaigns, or advertising campaigns when brands launch a new product to the market.
4. Celebrities lends credibility
Celebrities give brands strong social proof by their association with the brands’ products. The brand value added by celebrities is immediate and palpable. When a celebrity signs an endorsement deal with a product, an element of legitimacy is suddenly present in the brand, simply because of the power of the name backing it up. There is an increase in perceived legitimacy from the celebrity’s endorsement, even though the product has not changed at all.
5. Celebrity campaigns have higher ad recall
Which brand of massage chairs is endorsed by JJ Lin and Andy Lau? Can you still sing a line or two from PCK’s SARS rap from 17 years ago? Most of us will most probably be able to answer these two questions if we have been living in Singapore. People are more likely to recall an ad with a celebrity in it. And that is extremely important for brands to stand out in the increasingly crowded marketing space online and offline.
Come discover the magic that celebrities can deliver for your brand and revenue by launching your first celebrity campaign on The Celeb Net, a self-service portal where you can engage celebrities directly and affordably. Apply for a free one-year subscription worth $238 (subject to approval), or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation to kick off your first campaign.