We’re led to believe that consumers are savvier than ever. So why are brands and marketers still so willing to invest in celebrities and athletes to push their products?
You might think that in this day and age, consumers are less willing to care or believe a message when a celebrity endorses a product. But it’s quite the opposite — and it’s more pervasive than ever. We are fascinated with celebrities and athletes and there’s the hope that if we do what they do, or use the products they use, we might be a little more like them. As a society, we gravitate towards celebrity. And it’s a worldwide phenomenon: many American movie stars pitch products overseas that they would never endorse here.
I’m not sure I’d advocate for any brand to tie themselves into a celebrity so tightly. Take Hertz, for example. OJ Simpson was the face of that company for years. Then when he stopped running through airports and ran into trouble, they cut him loose fast. They’re still the #1 car rental company, but I can’t remember much of their post-OJ marketing efforts.
It’s the subject of my new column on TalentZoo.com, which will be on the home page tomorrow.
UPDATE: And in the hour since I’ve posted this, Hanes announced it’s dropping its campaign featuring Charlie Sheen. Yet we still love us some celebrities in our ads.