Celebrity marketing is an approach that features a prominent individual to offer an approval of a product. The famous person may be an actor, athlete, musician, cartoon character, ex-politician among many others. The celebrity must not be an international superstar. The fundamental characteristics are that the celebrity must be familiar with the target audience. For example, a famous tennis player may be unknown to the general population but is loved in the circle of the younger population whom an energy drink is being marketed to for they are the target audience. Moreover, a celebrity product endorsement may be either explicit or implicit. A celebrity marketing campaign may involve the product endorser using the product while others may use the image of the celebrity on the product brand. Hence, the product relies on the celebritys reputation to stand out in the market. Celebrity marketing has always been applied across all mediums of communication such as print, radio, television, film, websites and any other form of media. Besides, the fundamental rule of celebrity marketing is to match the product with the famous person. Hence, with a good combination of both the celebrity and the product, the public perception towards the brand and the company is most likely to change for the better.
According to Marshal Cohen, the Chief analyst of consumer research, as consumers, we often encounter more than 3000 images a day. However, we are never conscious of such images. Besides, it is likely that our subconscious records may be only 30 out of the over 3000 images to reach our conscious behavior. Hence, with a celebrity being part of the product message, it accelerates the potential for the product to instigate consumers awareness. Moreover, an advertiser may employ the cognitive capabilities to create a technological and sophisticated informational environment but eventually, consumers brains will revert to a more primitive and a raw association of the celebrity and the product. Therefore, because consumers are faced with many product choices, it is imperative that an emotional connection is created between the client and the product. Thus, celebrity endorsement increases customer awareness about a product. As a result, it influences them to buy it.
There are various types of celebrity endorsements. They include explicit mode. It is where a celebrity overtly declares his endorsement for a product. For instance, renown rapper Sean John Combs aka P- Diddy has been used openly to endorse the Ciroc vodka in not only his music videos but also in various interviews. The Ciroc is considered as the most sophisticated vodka in the world. Therefore, going by the principle that the celebrity must match the product, the manufacturer resorted to using P-Diddy, who tops the Forbes list of richest hip-hop artists in the world. Hence, the celebritys high life resonates with the brand's status as the brand for the wealthy. In his music, the rapper occasionally mentions that he drinks Ciroc Vodka. Such mode of endorsement confirms how celebrities represent a collection of culturally relevant symbols, images, and values. In this case, the rapper represents the affluent lifestyle in hip-hop culture. His image is associated with the product and the meaning it attaches to Ciroc is transferred to consumers together with the manner of consumption. Therefore, celebrity endorsements are strongly connected to the cultural context in which a celebritys image is formed.
Secondly, is the co-presentational mode of endorsement. Here, the celebrity may use either physical or verbal communication. However, the personality does not appear abrasive to influence the consumers choice. The endorsement leaves a client with room to make his or her decision as a way of creating loyalty. For instance, in the movie Ride Along 2, car manufacturer Hyundai featured comedian Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds to endorse its new car model Hyundai Genesis. The premise of the ad is that Reynold distracts two women who are driving in Hyundai Elantra. However, due to the cars advanced technology the car sense that Reynold is not paying attention to driving, the car breaks by itself to avoid an accident. Moreover, in the case of Imperative endorsement, a celebrity recommends to a consumer to the product. For instance, in the advertisement for Keep a Child 15 Alive Foundation Alicia where Alicia Keys serves as its spokesperson, she directly raises awareness about children coping with AIDS.
In some endorsements, a celebrity may take a role of a successful figure that has neither a particular knowledge nor relationship with the product. An example is an advert where Uma Thurman is posing with a Louis Vuitton bag. She does not make any form of a statement regarding the brand or product. Her mere holding of the bag makes it appear like there is no relationship between her and the bag. Finally, an endorser can take the role of a spokesperson whose job is to link a consumer to a product for a long-term period. For example, since 2006, George Clooney, an American actor has always been the spokesperson for Nespresso coffee. Since then, he is the only personality who has appeared in every commercial of the brand Nespresso coffee.
In conclusion, celebrity endorsements influence customer perception of a product. It is because, by associating himself or herself with a product, a celebrity accelerates customer awareness of the product. Four modes of celebrity endorsements are implicit, explicit, imperative and co-presentational. The other type of celebrity endorsement is where a celebrity appears to have no relationship with a brand being advertised. Moreover, a celebrity may act as the link of a product to consumers by being its spokesperson. Hence it is the celebrity who appears in the products commercial for an extended period but not any other public figure.
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