The end of the celebrity?

Posted on 01/02/2011


Hallelujah! The world has escaped from the clutches of celebrities at last.

Research from the US has found that adverts without sporting celebrities have the same impact as those with them (and in some cases celebs perform worse). PR Week reports that just one in five kids will support a charity because of celebrity endorsement.

So, great, my worries about the impact of celebrity led PR on young people have been addressed.

But before we use the nfpSynergy research to drop our celebrity endorsers, it’s also worth realising just how alive celebrity culture is.

Look at the newspapers, even the quality ones, and they recognise that celebrity sells. And research by the company I work for, Band & Brown, shows that 30% of under 25s had a conversation about Cheryl Cole in the last week (this is actually a relatively low score, she normally polls higher in their TalkingPoint research).

This is the point. While celebrities may not be the be all and end all of campaigns, as long as people still talk about them, their advocacy will still be sought after by PR and advertisers alike. And as the nfpSynergy slides implicitly admit, having a celebrity doesn’t turn people off – it just isn’t the sole reason why young people pick a cause to support.

So, yes, celebrity for celebrity sake is bad. But by picking the right ambassador, who can talk passionately and emotively about a cause, charities (as well as consumer brands) will still be onto a winner.

Posted in: PR, public relations