The Power of Celebrity

Our celebrity culture is incredibly pervasive. The media is dominated by coverage featuring celebrities and their controversial lives. They’re already some of the highest paid people in the world, so why would it make sense to send your product or service to a celebrity – for free? The answer is simple, really. Get your product or service used by a celebrity – and therefore create the perception of an endorsement – by someone famous, and you’re in big business.

How big, you ask?

Well, even very famous people eat, drink, travel, go shopping and generally behave like normal consumers, albeit ones with much greater spending power and the ability to influence the buying decisions of others simply by what they choose to buy for themselves. This aspirational effect, whereby people seek to emulate their favorite celebrities, presents a golden opportunity for brands.

Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Eva Longoria and Tony Parker are photographed vacationing at the St. Regis Bora Bora within days of each other and the resort is booked for months afterwards. Gwyneth Paltrow wears her favorite pair of Blue Cult jeans with front pockets and it sells out of every store from NYC to LA, causing retailers and buyers to name the style “The Gwyneth.” Jennifer Aniston cuts her hair while starring in the television sitcom “Friends” and thousands of women run to their hairstylists with tearsheets from magazines, requesting “The Rachel” cut.

In fact, some of the biggest brands with the biggest budgets already understand the power of celebrity. Penelope Cruz and Cindy Crawford sell lipstick for Revlon, Ellen Degeneres sells membership to American Express, Kate Walsh sells Cadillacs, and Tiger Woods used to sell numerous brand names before the public became privy to his salacious affairs.

Having a celebrity associated with your product or service provides two very important things to your brand: aspiration and credibility. Many people aspire to “live like a celebrity” and pour over publications such as People and USWeekly that provide them with countless bits of information about what celebrities are wearing, what products they are using, where they are traveling, eating, shopping etc. This makes it very easy for the general public to mimic the lives of celebrities – and patronize the very same brands that celebrities are using.

There also seems to be a universal belief that “if Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are using this product, then it must be good.” The cache and credibility of having the “right” celebrities associated with your brand is priceless.

Here are the main credibility enhancers of having a celebrity associated with your brand and how it can take your business to the next level:

  • An A-list star wearing or using your product or service gives your brand immediate credibility in the eyes of the consumer and can immediately stimulate sales
  • A celebrity name associated with your brand earns the respect of the media and almost always guarantees media coverage
  • Retail stores and buyers are much more likely to sit up and take notice and take you more seriously when you have a celebrity clientele
  • From a style and design standpoint, celebrities give trends (and the products and services they use) validation.
  • In our celebrity-obsessed culture, celebrities grab attention-getting headlines more than anything else

The bottom line: celebrities sell. When a star wears it, uses it or promotes it, the world follows. Nothing creates more excitement and desire than the aspirational lives that celebrities lead. If a fan can wear exactly the same dress that Halle Berry wore, eat at the restaurant that she frequents, take a yoga class at the same studio or use the same color lipstick, then she is able to recreate a little bit of that perceived glamour and inspiration for herself.

In today’s cluttered and competitive marketplace, a perceived celebrity endorsement can give your product or service the instant recognition and legitimacy that would normally take years to earn. From a marketing perspective, it remains one of the best ways to build name recognition, get publicity and skyrocket sales.

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