Nowadays brands are more and more using celebrities to promote their brand, this is also known as celebrity branding. Celebrity branding refers to a form of brand or advertising campaign that involves a celebrity using his or her fame to help a company promote its product. The clip below is a well known example of celebrity branding; George Clooney promoting Nespresso.
When a brand decides to hire a celebrity to promote its products, there are a few important decisions the brand should make. The most important decision is of course which celebrity the brand would like to hire. An aspect that should be taken into consideration here is that the image of the celebrity has to match the image the brand wants to be related to. For example when a celebrity has been involved in scandals in his or her past, the brand will be less likely to hire this celebrity because the brand does not want to be associated to scandals. Another important aspect is whether the celebrity has a connection to its targeted customers. If the companies’ customers are not interested in or do not know the celebrity, it does not make sense for the brand to hire the celebrity since the goal of celebrity branding is to increase sales by attracting customers through the celebrity. The third aspect the brand should pay attention to is whether the celebrity has an affinity with the product the brand sells.
Celebrity branding has several advantages. According to Hovland, Janis and Kelley one of the advantages of celebrity branding is increasing source credibility. They believe that celebrities are seen as credible spokespersons or opinion experts in the brands they endorse and therefore they provide consumers with a degree of confidence in the advertising message and thus the brand. This in return raises the level of acceptance and exerts positive impact on attitude change and behavioural compliance. Another advantage of celebrity branding is that it increases the attractiveness of the brand. McGuire states that the attractiveness of a brand may increase when it uses a celebrity to promote it. Consumers may then associate the endorsed brand with positive evaluations based on their positive opinions of the celebrity. For example Serena Williams, a successful tennis player, promoted Nike. The products Serena Williams promoted for Nike may become more attractive for Nike’s customers since they believe those products have contributed to her successful career. The third advantage is that the audience will be able to easily remember the advertisement. The celebrity is already familiar to the audience since they have seen him or her before and that is why they will be more likely to remember the advertisement.
However, there are also some risks attached to celebrity branding. One risk is that when a brand chooses a very popular celebrity this celebrity may already promote more brands. It may then happen that customers lose trust in the brand and think the celebrity only promotes the brand to earn money, not because he or she is really in favor of the brand. Another risk is that the celebrity may outshine the brand. Customers are then only focused on the celebrity and lose track of the product he or she is actually promoting.
Although celebrity branding is very popular and used by a lot of companies nowadays, there are also some groups who question this way of branding. In my opinion celebrity branding is a very useful tool for companies as long as they select the right celebrity to promote their products in the right way.