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Calling in a star to help out a brand

When celebrity endorsements click, they tend to deliver mega-sized outcomes

Gulf News

Mila Kunis and Willem Defoe are featured in marketing campaigns for the iconic American brand Jim Beam. Daniel Craig stars in a global Heineken advertising campaign connecting the brand to the James Bond franchise.

The quarterback Drew Brees stars in a Pampers Super Bowl campaign, while Gary Sinese does the voice over for SunTrust Bank’s Super Bowl ad. Jeffry Tambor stars in a Sabra Hummus commercial.

And LG launches a global campaign featuring Pretty Lights. These examples happen to be campaigns done by StrawberryFrog. It’s not a new idea in marketing — celebrity endorsements sell products.

Not all brands align with the theory of celebrity endorsements. However this is based in pretty simple logic. Increasingly, people admire and moreover idolise celebrities — so when famous people are seen in ads promoting a product, audiences buy that product.

I for one am not advocating using stars in ads. Though they do make an impact. We launched the ‘Hello Tomorrow’ brand advertising across the globe in an award-winning work but it wasn’t until the brand shifted to Jennifer Aniston in a funny commercial that the ads went viral.

The positive impact on product sales cannot be understated. According to a Marketwatch claim in ‘Social Media Week’, just one endorsement can spell an increase in sales by 4 per cent, almost immediately.

That’s why businesses, even small businesses, would be foolish to ignore star influencers to promote their brand. The effects can be significant if you can align a prominent name to influence your audience.

When stars may not affect brand loyalty, one study entitled ‘Impact of celebrity endorsements on consumer brand loyalty: Does it really matter?’ says star “endorsements are a powerful and useful tool that magnifies the effect of a campaign”.

Icons hang out with icons. In my personal experience when a celebrity signs an endorsement deal with a product, legitimacy aligns with the brand, simply because of the star power behind it.

According to the US magazine “Ad Age”, a brand that signs an endorsement contract with a celebrity or an athlete can see their stock rise as soon as the news is made public.

Studies have shown that advertisements that use a celebrity, about whom many people already have positive feelings and impulses, grab an audience’s attention more easily than a standard ad.

Take, for example, RDG Global, the fashion company in the US. They design and market the activewear brand Jessica Simpson. There are reports that Jessica Simpson fashion achieves over $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) a year in sales.

Of course, it is equally important to remember that a star endorsements alone do not guarantee success. It is the combination of several factors, especially the price and other elements that work together for the success.

And of course there’s always the risk that the celebrity’s behaviour can have the opposite effect. When you’re aiming for the stars, you really need to know what you’re doing and work with partners who are used to working with celebrities.

Scott Goodson is the CEO of StrawberryFrog, the New York-based agency.