1 132,000 BRAND REPORTS WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CELEBRITY-BASED CAMPAIGNS? Celebrities are used in advertising around the world. The right celebrity, used in the right way, can undoubtedly be a powerful brand asset. But using a celebrity is no guarantee of effective advertising; overall, there s very little difference between the performance of ads with celebrities versus those without. And there are pitfalls to using celebrities. To gauge whether a celebrity is right for your brand, you need to establish whether they are known, whether they are liked, and what they stand for, among your target audience. WHO USES CELEBRITIES? The use of celebrities in advertising varies enormously around the world. It s highest in Japan and Korea, where over 0 percent of TV ads feature celebrities, and lowest in Ukraine, Sweden, and Canada, where the proportion is under 5 percent. It is percent in the U.S., and 12 percent in the UK. There is no pattern of celebrity use by category, as this comparison of U.S., UK and China data shows. There is no consistent pattern by category on use of celebrity in ads % of total ads UK USA CHINA Personal Care Drink Food Telecommunications Appliances Apparel Technology Household Automobiles Medical 1 12 The type of celebrity used varies a lot by region. In Asia Pacific, around half of ads featuring celebrities use film stars; this drops to 12 percent in Latin America. The second most popular type of celebrity is TV presenters; this is at 35 percent in Latin America, but drops to percent in Africa. It is also apparent that in Asia, local celebrities are far more likely to be used, whereas in the U.S. the split between local v international celebrities is closer to 50:50 (probably because U.S. celebrities are more likely to be internationally known). Use of local v international celebrities varies by country Japan Korea China Thailand India Philippines Indonesia Brazil Russia United Kingdom USA International Local Overall, there is virtually no difference in performance between ads featuring local or international celebrities. China makes the greatest use of international celebrities in Asia; while foreign celebrities lack familiarity, particularly in tertiary cities, they are more likely to be viewed as different and as trend-setters.
2 0,000 ADS ARE THEY EFFECTIVE? Celebrity-based campaigns can be very effective. In the U.S., one client had used a celebrity in some of its ads over a ten year period, and wanted to know if they should continue the relationship. Our analysis showed that the ads featuring the celebrity performed better on key measures than those without the celebrity. The celebrity had also become a strong branding device. We were able to estimate that the celebrity was worth over $5 million per year to the client. Since the contract cost considerably less than this, the client continued the relationship. In the UK, Barclaycard used the popular comedian Rowan Atkinson during the 10s in a highly successful campaign. It was hugely enjoyed and well recalled, and it communicated the intended messages. Barclaycard s share of new cardholders rose from 15 percent to 25 percent in five years. However, there is very little difference overall between the performance on most key measures of ads with celebrities versus those without; this includes enjoyment and involvement. Some countries, notably the U.S., Chile, Australia and China (except Beijing), find celebrity ads more involving; but in others, particularly where celebrity ads are more common, this is not the case. Overall, branding levels tend to be similar. Celebrities make very little difference overall on most key measures Average global percentiles the cosmetic brand SK-II in China. This example shows the gradual build of one celebrity brand cue over 15 ads. Celebrities can wear in as brand cues What happened in the advert to help you know that it was for Brand X? Celebrity brand cue % A 5 Base: B 3 C D executions over time F E 0 2 G 5 H I J 3 K 55 L O M N 1 () () (1) (12) (2) (5) () () () () (15) () () (12) (12) In Japan, however, branding scores are slightly lower for ads with celebrities possibly due to the celebrities endorsing too many brands. Ads featuring celebrities are no more likely to be seen as conveying new, relevant, credible news than others; so, unsurprisingly, they are no more persuasive than other ads. Enjoyment: Involvement: Branding: Finished Films Ads with Celebrities 5 (0) () () Ads without Celebrities 5 (3,313) (,2) 50 (3,) However, for some long running campaigns, particular celebrities have, over time, become synonymous with the brand: for example, William Shatner and Priceline in the U.S., Gary Lineker and Walkers in the UK, Carina Lau and THREE KEY QUESTIONS FOR EFFECTIVE USE OF CELEBRITIES Given that using a celebrity does not guarantee a successful campaign, what are the guidelines for getting it right? We d suggest there are three key questions you need to answer. Who are they? Where the celebrity is central to the core idea, it s important to establish how well known they are among your target audience. In the U.S., a lipstick brand was launched using a British model. Among those who recognized her, communication, enjoyment and purchase intent were much stronger.
3 1,00 CASE STUDIES Those who recognized the celebrity expressed stronger purchase intent Recognized Definitely would buy / probably would buy for the price of $. % Didn t recognize 5% However, less than a quarter of the audience recognized her, severely limiting the effectiveness of the campaign. Conversely, advertising can make celebrities. In the UK, Halifax bank used staff members in its ads one of whom, Howard Brown, became a celebrity in his own right. Also in the UK, Nescafé s Gold Blend coffee campaign of the 10s created a long running series, following the slow build of a romance. When the couple first kissed, it made the front page of The Sun, the biggest selling UK newspaper, making celebrities of fictional characters. There may be merits to running a campaign which works even if the celebrity is not recognized; but it is useful to be clear how important the celebrity is in your campaign. Are they liked? While it isn t essential for a celebrity to be liked, this can have a significant impact on emotional response to an ad, as the example below shows. Likeability of a celebrity can significantly impact on emotional response Enjoy a lot Like celebrity % Don t like celebrity % 13 N/A A snack food client in Turkey wanted to explore whether to use celebrities in their campaign, and researched two ads with us, both with and without celebrities. The presence of a (much liked) celebrity made a slight difference to the first ad, improving its enjoyment and impact; but the celebrity in the second ad was found pretentious and arrogant, and had almost no effect on the ad s performance; both versions performed poorly. In particular the likability of the celebrity needs to be assessed among the target audience. In one project for a cereal brand in the UK we asked about celebrities considered positive role models. One particular TV and radio presenter was rated highly; but this ranking was driven by the 0+ age group. When we researched an animatic version of an ad for the brand featuring him, he was dismissed by the younger target respondents as being too old and old fashioned. In the ad he played with a younger woman s hair; a scene which was found disturbing and uncomfortable. The ad was not progressed. What do they represent? You also need to understand how well the celebrity fits with the brand, or with where you want to take the brand. When the celebrity is perceived to be appropriate, communication can be enhanced. The right fit celebrity can enhance communication Are made from natural products Suitable for the whole family Ideal for everyday meals Are new and different Create tasty meals without effort Are high quality Combination of different textures Taste great/delicious Moving with the times Find celebrity Don t find celebrity appropriate % appropriate % Difference Enjoyment of ad Quite enjoy Won t mind Won t enjoy much Won t enjoy at all Mean score: (+5 to +1)
4 OVER 00 CONFERENCE PAPERS AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES The choice of the right celebrity for the campaign is important. One automotive client in India came to us asking for advice on the right celebrity to use to represent the brand values and aspirations. We explored which celebrities were best known across India, which were most popular on Twitter and Facebook, and how many brands they already endorsed. But we also explored their personalities, to establish which was the best fit with the brand. The client adopted our recommendation, and saw an almost immediate improvement on brand health and sales. Potential pitfalls Unlike, for example, an animated character, celebrities are human, and subject to human failings. So there are a number of ways in which a celebrity could become a liability to the brand. These are discussed in our Point of View paper, Celebrity Power: Can Less Be More?. The Chinese athlete Liu Xiang was in the London Olympics, but had apparently disguised an injury; the injury flared up and he had to pull out. Public opinion turned against him for his perceived dishonesty, and still hasn t fully recovered. Perceptions of Liu Xiang in China In addition, there is the risk of the celebrity becoming the hero of the ad, rather than the brand. A new campaign was developed for a tea brand in India, featuring popular movie actors. We researched, in animatic form, two versions of the ads; one with the celebrity, and one without. The research showed that, in the versions with the celebrities, the message takeout was weaker; the celebrities were drowning out the communication. And while the celebrities were intended to help gain attention, the versions without celebrities were just as impactful. The client went ahead and filmed and aired versions without celebrities. But experience suggests that this is more an issue of ad structure than the fame of the celebrity. Testimonial ads, for example, with their clear focus on the brand, tend not to suffer this problem. But the celebrity needs to come across as likeable and genuine, or the endorsement may lack credibility. Alternatively, the celebrity may just be a poor choice. In the UK, two ads were tested for a brand. They had identical scripts, but one featured a genuine former pop star, while the other featured an actor playing the part of an old pop star. The version with the actor was preferred. The celebrity was considered inappropriate, and weakened the credibility of the ad Dishonest - Liu Xiang Average The celebrity weakened credibility What was put across about the brand was believable Agree Strongly 2 With celebrity % Without celebrity % UK average % Mar 12 Apr 12 May 12 Jun 12 Jul 12 Aug 12 Sep 12 London Olympics 12 Oct 13 Jan 13 Feb 13 Data Source: Millward Brown CelebrityZ Personality Results Mar 13 Apr 13 May 13 Jun 13 Agree slightly Neither/nor Disagree slightly Disagree strongly Mean score: (+5 to +1) Base: () () (>2 ads) If you liked What are the benefits of celebrity-based campaigns? you may also be interested in... Celebrity Power: Can Less Be More?