It is easy to see why marketers seek celebrity endorsements. It has worked for companies like Priceline with William Shatner, Lincoln with Matthew McConaughey, David Beckham with H&M, and Nicole Kidman with Chanel. If the celebrity has predominately credible characteristics and is considered positive (like Michael Jordan) as opposed to negative (like Tiger Woods), then the brand will likely benefit from a celebrity endorsement. However, a study from the University of Colorado Boulder suggests that consumers might be more likely to associate celebrities’ negative traits to a brand over the positive ones. Consumers revealed in one test that they had “both positive (sexy and fun) and negative (ditsy and weak) associations” with the star, Jessica Simpson (“Celebrity endorsements,” 2012). Later, the same participants were asked to evaluate a product that Simpson had endorsed. “When the endorsed product wasn’t a good match with the celebrity, in this case Jessica Simpson endorsing a pocketknife, the celebrity’s positive associations of sexy and fun did not transfer to the brand, while her negative associations did,” said Caleb Warren of the Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (as cited in “Celebrity endorsements,” 2012). As long as celebrities stick to endorsing things that they are considered a “good match” with, then the brand will likely see a ROI with the celebrity endorsement.
Just for fun, I would like to include the Kevin Bacon commercial for the American Egg Board.
I think this is where a celebrity endorsement really works. Here, Kevin Bacon is not taking himself too seriously, does not have skeletons in his closet (hopefully!), and is not perceived as having negative qualities that could haunt the American Egg Board. Though it turns awkwardly suggestive at the end, overall it has a light, fun tone. The upside for the American Egg Board? According to the USDA, “Per-capita egg consumption grew to 260 in 2014, an increase of more than a dozen over the last five years” (Nudd, 2015). Bacon’s celebrity status clearly worked in promoting eggs.
Incredible Egg. (2015, March 12). Wake up to eggs with Bacon. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elUNFHEWaCc.
Nudd, T. (2015, March 12). Kevin Bacon does ads for eggs, Because what goes better with eggs than bacon? Adweek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/kevin-bacon-does-ads-eggs-because-what-goes-better-eggs-bacon-163436
University of Colorado Boulder. (2012, June 20) Celebrity endoresements not always a good bet, CU_Boulder study shows. [News release]. Retrieved from http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2012/06/20/celebrity-endorsements-not-always-good-bet-cu-boulder-study-shows#sthash.YTOQ9wtv.dpuf