The Public Relations Papers

Because sometimes you just don't have a choice.

13 October, 2006

Celebrity Advertising


In a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, big-time celebrities are becoming more and more prominent in today’s advertising. Though this sounds like a quite obvious statement, it wasn’t always so. Celebrities seem to be emerging from their Hollywood estates more often to 30-second television advertisements as well as the multi-million dollar films.

According to the article, “About 20 percent of ads in the United States feature celebrities, up from closer to 10 percent only a decade ago, said Hamish Pringle, director general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in Great Britain.” When you think about it, that is quite a dramatic spike, and a trend that shows that advertising is leaning more and more to the celebrity endorsement.

But why exactly are these A-list celebrities doing the 30-second daytime spots? Of course it’s not for the money, but for personal image. Brad Pitt, for example, appeared in a commercial for Heineken during the 2005 Superbowl.

“‘Celebrities themselves are realizing their personal brand potential,’ said Doug Lloyd, president of Lloyd & Co., an ad agency in New York.”

Celebrities, just like most people, are seeing the power of branding and publicity. Celebrities are now individual brands that have cult-like followings. The very people who will only buy one specific brand of ketchup are the same people who will go see every movie that a specific actor makes, regardless of the quality of the film. Thus, it is important for the Hollywood mogul to keep having his or her name circulating through the public.

But the main outcome of celebrity advertising is usually reciprocally beneficial. But, by the same token, if one of the two brands is involved in scandal, corruption or otherwise negative situation, then the other brand will likely feel the ill effect of the other. The public will not try, care or want to differentiate the two.

Generally though, celebrity advertising is a good thing. It works. That’s why brands use it. But now, celebrities are realizing that the brand is advertising them as well.

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