Back to Basics: Trusted Celebrities

Charlene Coughlin 04.02.19

Back to Basics: Trusted Celebrities

One of the Queens of Scream. Carrie. Lil’ Jon. The Good Witch. A few of the GOATs. A Boy Band. Wild Thing. Harrison Ford (I mean, need we say more?). Even Lassie and Free Willy.

If there’s one theme that came up (outside of females driving advertising) celebrities were key during the biggest advertising day of the year. I’m not sure we’ve seen this many celebrities in years – it felt as though every other commercial featured one (if not multiple) celebrities. By my count, at least 35 celebrities were featured as part of a campaign, including a few recognizable faces making a comeback as some of your favorite on-screen characters: Sarah Jessica Parker in her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw; Sarah Michelle Gellar for her role in Scream; and The Big Lebowski.

It Takes More than Name Recognition.

What’s the benefit of using a celebrity as part of your brand? Well, to start with there’s an immediate endorsement – especially if you are using a trusted and well known celebrity. If the celebrity has similar values as the brand, it becomes an easy match and helps to immediately elevate your brand.

Let’s take Bumble for instance, who has quickly become one of my favorites when it comes to understanding their brand, standing up for what they believe is right and creating an authentic voice. This year, their first time in The Big Game, they aligned themselves with one of the Greatest of All Time – Serena Williams. Immediately this alignment made sense to me. Use a woman who is admired by so many, has continued to do what she feels is right and exceeded the expectations of those around her. She’s a true trailblazer for women and just like Bumble, she’s willing to make the first move. Plus, Bumble made sure to use a mostly women-run creative team — talk about understanding your brand and how to ensure that you are living your brand values! When it comes to The Big Game advertising — in addition to brands recognizing that women are watching too — Bumble was my clear winner.

My second favorite? Olay. Another first time advertiser, Olay went a different route than I personally would have expected. Comedy. Not just comedy, but comedy with a favorite actress for many women in my age range who remember seeing her in TV and Movie roles: Sarah Michelle Gellar. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Sarah Michelle Gellar on-screen in her role in Scream, but bringing her back, as well as the film, was a fun way to utilize nostalgia for a group who may be interested in, and able to, purchase the Olay product line.

While celebrities can be a great brand activator, they can miss the mark if you don’t find an endorser that truly aligns with your brand. Could you throw Lil’ Jon or Harrison Ford into just any spot? Maybe if you have the money. But does it make sense? Will your consumers / target audience appreciate it? A poorly executed endorsement can cause more damage that no advertisement at all.  Kudos to this year’s campaigns that managed to find the perfect match between celebrity and brand to engage their target audience.

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