How to Select the Right Celebrity Endorser?

Rio Olympics has ended, but the craze on Olympic athletes has not yet faded. However, do you know that the microblog comments of “Wang Baoqiang Divorce” (10 billion pieces) once surpassed that of “Rio Olympics” during the Olympic Games? It is unprecedented that celebrity gossips should take away the limelight of the Olympic Games.

How to Select the Right Celebrity Endorser?

The author(s)

  • Minmin Wang Ipsos Connect, China
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Moreover, Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui’s exclamation that “I have swum up to my potential” and the news on Ma Long and Zhang Jike, rather than the number of gold medals China won in Rio Olympics, became an Internet hit.

In a time overwhelmed with entertainment and socialising, the public pays far more attention to celebrities and stars than ever. Naturally, smart marketing experts never allow to let any opportunities go. While hyping these hot topics, they would always bring forth their own brands or LOGO as an effort of propaganda.

Now, it's time for us to calm down and reflect upon this question: how to select the right star spokesperson in marketing activities to maximise marketing results?

Will stars and celebrities in an ad contribute to its performance?

According to the analysis of Ipsos Connect advertising database, 40% of the ads have used spokespersons. The analysis of over 2300 pieces of ads in pre-testing database indicates that ads with star spokesperson have slightly higher ad recall and persuasiveness index that those without, which is also consistent with our common sense that “Stars are eye-catching.”

How to select a suitable "star spokesperson"?

A star is usually the spokesperson of multiple ads or categories. Therefore, you should be cautious and try not to “busy yourself but merely benefit others” when choosing a star as your spokesperson. Then, what are the standards for selecting the right spokesperson?

  1. Compared with the popularity of the star, one thing is more important: whether the star fits the brand. A better fit can lead to better performance of the ad.
  2. In general, to be a good story, the leading role must be played by the brand, rather than the star him/herself. Instead of taking away the limelight of the brand, the star in the ad will “serve” the brand.
  3. The popularity and recognition of a star vary with areas in China. Therefore, prior to choosing the right star, a brand needs to know how popular the star is in the target area.
  4. The negative news or word of mouth of the star spokesperson will directly harm the brand image. So, the reputation and image of a star is essential!

Who are better, stars at home or abroad?

When looking for a spokesperson, many advertisers may encounter such a problem: Should I choose a star at home or abroad? Actually, one can not make simple judgment as regards the nationality of the star, as the nationality of many “domestic” stars is no longer China (just kidding).
Let us look at the database analysis first:

  • Recognition: 74% for Chinese star - 58% for foreign star 
  • Popularity: 36% for Chinese star - 33% for foreign star 
  • How he/she fits the brand: 37% for Chinese star - 34% for foreign star 
  • How he/she influences views on the brand: 38% for Chinese star - 33% for foreign star 
  • How he/she influences purchase interest: 35% for Chinese star - 31% for foreign star 

As can be seen from the table, except for the gap in star recognition, namely, 16%, there is no signific ant difference in other pairs of KPI.

When including "how star fits brand image" (hereafter referred to as "match"), we find that "popularity" is not the most important consideration.

In case of low match, the performance of the ad can also be greatly reduced, even with high-profile star as the spokesperson.

Actually, it may even be lower than that with "high match - unpopular" stars. However, the performance of the ad can be equally good, be it with "popular" or "unpopular" star spokesperson, as long as they are "high match". This is quite different from what we would always believe.
Our original question is whether "high-profile" stars are a guarantee of sales, however, given the difficulty to quantify the sales of different sectors and categories, the varied demands of a brand for spokespersons at different stages (to boost sales in a short period time, to perfect brand image, or to be more visible), as well as the different prices of endorsement, please notice that we can not simply define "a guarantee to sales".

The author(s)

  • Minmin Wang Ipsos Connect, China

Media & Brand Communication