Brands: Don’t Waste Your Ad Dollars on the Wrong Celebrity Endorsements

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Getting a well-known public figure to endorse your product can feel like a tempting endeavor. After all, we all know about society’s fascination with celebrities, and the halo effect that can come with them. 

With Comic Con 2019 just past, it can be especially interesting to work with the celebrities who have graced the big screen in this year’s box office megahits, like Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans, to name a few. 

Having a celebrity as a part of your campaign can be a marketing win, but it isn’t always foolproof. Here, I’ll dive into more of the mentality behind celebrity endorsements, and how you can protect your ad dollars from getting wrapped up in the wrong ones.

Celebrity Endorsements: Why They Work 

As I mentioned above, the halo effect plays a major role in celebrity endorsements. Marketers hope to align their brands with the positive association certain celebrities carry, and hope that positive association will spread to their product or service.

There’s also an element of parasocial interaction at play here. The one-sided relationship we form with our favorite celebrities can develop into their own unique, very personal relationships as well, and need to be maintained much l like others who are close to us. 

It’s hard, for example, not to feel like the well-known actors behind our favorite superheroes are your own group of joke-cracking, on-screen-evil-fighting friends. This kind of social capital gives celebrities more influence over us and our choices, not so dissimilar to the influence a close, trusted friend can have. 

The actual science behind what happens in our brain when we see a celebrity we know in an ad boils down to higher attention and higher recall. Simply put, we listen up when a celebrity is speaking, and remembering that celebrity, and what they did or said in the ad, can also increase the likelihood that we’ll remember what was being advertised.

Celebrity Endorsements: When They Don’t Work

Including a celebrity in your marketing campaign is not always sunshine and rainbows, though. 

The minute a brand and a celebrity don’t match up with one another, the positive effects are lost, and consumers may actually be left with a bad taste in their mouth about the brand.

These incongruencies can be as blatant and obvious as enlisting a celebrity who has publicly expressed a disinterest in health and wellness for an ad around the latest green juice on the market. It can, however, be a little more complex than that.  

Before investing a hefty chunk of ad dollars into a celebrity, it’s critical to examine the trail they’ve left in the public eye. 

Did they recently make headlines for a not-so-savory incident? Have they made any public statements that directly conflict with your brand’s values or mission? Are they well-known for a characteristic that would, realistically, render them a not-so-believable consumer of your product or service?

The same way that positive associations can bleed over into your brand, negative associations can carry over, too. 

Ensuring that you’re steering clear of a potentially incongruent celebrity endorsement can not only help preserve your ad dollars, but it can protect the integrity of your brand, too. 

To Use a Celebrity, Or Not?

The celebrities dominating the Marvel and DC Comics universes are some of today’s most beloved. Having them endorse your brand can be beneficial, but it’s all about taking the time and effort to really choose the right fit.

Exercise caution, and remember that ads live in perpetuity online. Make sure your dollars are going towards something you can be proud of for a long time to come. 

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