Not just a pretty face – Influencing sales through celebrity endorsement | KHWS

Not just a pretty face – Influencing sales through celebrity endorsement


Gary Lineker for Walkers, Kevin Bacon for EE and getting cheeky, David Beckham for Armani. For me, these remain some of the most memorable celebrity endorsements from over the years. However, the ultimate questions remain – have they ever influenced me to make a purchase and do they motivate me to choose one brand over another? Well, apparently so.

It is reported that the first celebrity endorsement dates back to the 1760s when the founder of Wedgewood – a pottery and chinaware brand – used endorsements from the Royal family to build awareness of his brand. From then, the trend of using a famous face to promote different products has increased considerably, with 15% of today’s marketing now featuring celebrities.

Like any marketing technique, the ultimate goal of celebrity endorsement is to grow sales. Recent studies have indicated that sales for some brands increased up to 20% upon commencing an endorsement deal. For example, the partnership between Chanel and Nicole Kidman helped increase business by nearly 16%, without any changes in the actual product.

Another reason that a brand will choose to invest in these endorsements is to add some personality to a product or company. Getting a celebrity involved, can inspire, enlighten and entertain an audience, in addition to creating brand awareness, especially with the use of social media channels.

Katy Perry has nearly 90 million Twitter followers, Justin Bieber has over 82 million – companies are undoubtedly going to tap into this high level of potential consumer reach with their endorsed products. A good example of this was the #BestDayEver campaign by Chevrolet. Five celebrities were involved and the goal was to create buzz among the public that something big was happening. As a result, within 24 hours, the social media posts attracted 1.5 million organic likes and shares.

However, it can all go wrong.

There have been many well-known brands that have dropped their endorsement due to either controversial behaviour or the celeb not portraying the right ‘image’, Nivea for example, ended Rihanna’s campaign after the CEO said she was ‘too sexy’ for the brand. Additionally, in 2010 Tiger Woods lost around £20m in endorsement deals due to issues in his personal life. In both cases, this can tarnish the relationship with the consumer and also damage the perception of the brand.

But what do consumers think?

An infographic from Signarama has shown that 51% of consumers believe celebrity endorsement makes little to no difference on their purchasing decisions and 92% buy products because their family and friends recommend it rather than a famous spokesperson. Additionally, only 1 in 10 respondents claimed to engage with ads because they liked the celebrity.

Personally, I don’t think that I’ve been influenced to buy a product because a celebrity has been the face of the brand, however there are both pros and cons for investing in it.

If a brand chooses to go down the celebrity endorsement route, they need to make sure they select the perfect celebrity to represent their business and its values. While most companies choose a person with a certain personality trait, such as athleticism or intellectuality, the most important element to consider is ensuring that the credibility of the brand doesn’t suffer and authenticity is key.

So I’m off now to buy some L’Oreal shampoo – not because Blake Lively says “I’m worth it”, but because I want too…