Celebrity endorsement does not sway the consumer

By Jennifer Whitehead,, brandrepublic.com, Monday, 27 October 2003 08:50AM

LONDON - As Barclays scraps its £10m advertising campaign starring Samuel L Jackson, new research has found that putting celebrities in ads could be, at best, a waste of time, with people saying they are not swayed by their use.

According to the research, part of a new book called 'Celebrity Sells' by the IPA director-general Hamish Pringle, only one in eight people say they have been persuaded to try a product or service because a celebrity endorsed it.

On the other hand, one in five said that they found celebrity ads irritating and 37% said they were "ordinary", rather than standing out from the crowd.

Pringle told the Independent on Sunday: "There's no evidence that celebrity campaigns are any more popuar or have any more of an impact on sales than those that don'et feature celebrities.

"Signing up a celebrity is not a recipe for success."

The report is based in in-depth interviews with 300 members of the public. Other findings include the fact that over 50% of people did not feel that a celebrity appearing in advertising campaign either did not change their feelings about the brand, or made them think worse of the brand.

Although a different survey for the Marketing Society showed that three-quarters of marketers were less likely to use celebrities in their ad campaigns than five years ago, there is still a galaxy of stars appearing on television pushing everything from sofas to shampoo.

A few of the ads use their stars imaginatively and have positive results for the brands, such as Gary Lineker's long-running association with Walkers, and Jamie Oliver's work for Sainsbury's, which the supermarket has credited with a £1.2bn boost to the brand's value.

However, for every success there are embarrassments such as Ben Affleck's "here comes the science" ad for L'Oreal or very bland outings, such as Linda Barker's brandishing a pair of scissors in ads for Currys.

And while people may have loved the ITV Digital advertising campaign, starring Johnny Vegas and Monkey, it failed to translate into subscription sales for the digital terrestrial service, which eventually collapsed.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

This article was first published on brandrepublic.com

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