As a small business owner, have you ever seen a commercial for a larger company that featured a very well-known celebrity? Did you get just a little jealous, wondering just how effective one of your ads could be with a celebrity in it?
As it turns out, you have no real reason to be jealous. Recent trends are showing that having a celebrity in your ads really doesn’t help at all.
Ten years ago, this would be a totally different story. Looking back through history, it’s safe to say that Michael Jordan, Grant Hill and many other athletes helped sell tons of Gatorade. But this isn’t really the case now—not with new brands, anyway.
Sure, Oreo is selling lots of product, but it has nothing to do with Eli and Peyton Manning being in the commercials. Instead, Oreo sells lots of product because the product is so well known that it is ingrained in our culture.
But things get different when it comes to lesser known companies. Recent studies have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that celebrity endorsements have very little—if any—impact on consumers. While there has been so proven reason why this is so, many feel that it is because of the abundance of scandals related to celebrities. Lance Armstrong and Tiger Wood were once great sales draws but now look at them (and in the case of Lance Armstrong, look at how well RadioShack is doing after his No Emoticons campaign).
The truth of the matter is that today, people trust the word of those within their social network much more than they trust a celebrity. The reason behind this is simple. The celebrity is being paid to endorse the product, while those in their network are genuinely impressed with the product. Also, it is much easier to relate to someone that is not making millions of dollars a year.
This is a great way of how everything in marketing has shifted due to social networking. Keep this in mind as you plan out future campaigns. Remember that honesty and genuine passion trumps just about everything, even the allure of a celebrity and celebrity ads.