What Is Celebrity Marketing?

Even though celebrity marketing has been around for a long time, its power is still undeniable. Humans naturally tend to trust someone they know, and that trust is even stronger if that “someone” is viewed as a role model. Logically, companies have used this tendency to advertise their products via celebrities and reach a wider audience than ever before.

Definition of Celebrity Marketing

Before we get into the specifics of how this marketing type works, let’s first define it as a term. In essence, celebrity marketing is the process of paying a famous individual (such as a movie star, acclaimed athlete, singer, former politician) for advertising or endorsing goods or services provided by an enterprise.

This marketing approach uses such methods as: a) featuring stars in commercials, presentations, and press-conferences, b) encouraging them to make comments about the organization in interviews and articles, and c) compensating celebrities for using a company’s product during prestigious events.

Now, let’s examine the strengths and weaknesses of celebrity marketing and attempt to determine whether this approach deserves the popularity it has. Among the benefits of using this strategy, industry experts list:

  • brand exposure;
  • increased speed with which the company is being recognized;
  • transfer of the celebrity’s positive image onto the company’s image and reputation;
  • trust gain.

As for what can be counted as a disadvantage of celebrity marketing, marketing professionals have deduced the following factors:

  • Unpredictability of the celebrity’s human nature
  • Brand incompatibility
  • Low sales-generating efficiency

The two lists presented above clearly demonstrate that this marketing strategy isn’t the perfect option for everyone, as its usefulness depends on the goals that an organization has set for itself.

Successful and Unsuccessful Celebrity Marketing Campaigns

To better understand how this type of marketing works, let’s take a look at some examples:

First, let’s start with Avon and their men’s cologne campaign that featured the famous actor Patrick Dempsey. The campaign turned out to be a huge success not only because the company allowed the star to create his own smell but also because Patrick constantly reminded the public that he uses Avon’s cologne every day.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Christian Dior’s involvement of Sharon Stone in their advertising campaign that unpredictably backfired on them and was banned in China (which is one of Christian Dior’s biggest markets). This happened after the movie star called the natural disasters that took away the lives of thousands of Chinese people a “karmic punishment” that they deserved.

As evident from the examples above, celebrity marketing campaigns aren’t created equal. The success and failure of each campaign depend on how well it was planned and executed, as well as on the image and personality of the star involved.

Attributes and Skills of a Celebrity Marketing

When trying to determine the effectiveness of a celebrity marketing strategy, a company’s management usually examines the following attributes:

  • Familiarity

The individual has to be relatable to the organization’s target audience and preferably be seen as a role model by the society.

  • Relevance

The individual has to be connected to the item he or she endorses in a way that makes sense for the target audience.

  • Esteem

A respected and acclaimed individual will add more respect to the product he or she advertises.

  • Differentiation

An unexpected or “standout” celebrity will always gather more attention from the general public and the media.

Who Employs Celebrity Marketing?

Generally speaking, this marketing type isn’t limited to a single industry or business size. Small, medium and large companies can all successfully use this approach. Even more so, statistics show that up to one-sixth of US-based advertising campaigns include a star in their ads. The only factor that limits a company’s capability to do so is its budget, as it determines both the caliber of the star that can be invited and the medium in which he or she can be used.

In conclusion, celebrity marketing is a powerful strategy that can help a business build up its reputation and increase visibility, granted the enterprise has the resources to launch such a campaign and can choose a star that is relevant to the products it offers.