5 Reasons to Hire a Celebrity Spokesperson Right Now

5 Reasons to Hire a Celebrity Spokesperson Right Now

#1 To Kickstart your Brand, Use Borrowed Equity.

It can take years to establish a new brand, and millions of dollars in advertising. The advantage of hiring a star is that celebrities have well-established brands built by decades of viewership. When you hire a celebrity spokesperson, you are in effect “borrowing their equity” at a fraction of its actual value. Their name recognition, relevance, public awareness, credibility, attractiveness and likeability are valuable, and their endorsement of your product, if handled adroitly, can quickly transfer these same qualities to your brand. There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates that celebrity sells.

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The Dangers of the Homegrown Spokesperson

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While the benefits of hiring a celebrity spokesperson can be substantial to a company’s image and bottom line, the pitfalls of a rogue brand ambassador can be even more damaging and long-lasting. This is true regardless of whether the person was a public figure prior to fronting the product or service, or a homegrown spokesperson whose fame came as the result of starring in an ad campaign.

Such is the case of Jared Fogle, the longtime successful spokesperson for Subway, who was recently shown the door by the sandwich chain after criminal allegations concerning child pornography and sexual misconduct with minors came to light. Fogle pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison.

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Under the Influence: Celebrities in the Sales Process

“Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement, and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent.” –Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo, 1955–1984)

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Captain Kangaroo understood that parents are the “ultimate role models.” What he didn’t say was that for millions of us—three generations of kids—he was almost as influential as our own parents.

One of the most important attributes any person can possess is the ability to influence others. Certainly, influence is even more essential for anyone who works in sales, and its effect is magnified exponentially for any person who plays the spokesperson role in television ads.

But what dynamics make one spokesperson more influential than another? And how can these attributes be identified and evaluated in the context of a celebrity’s ability to truly resonate with the public?

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Today’s Top DR Brand Ambassadors

“If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.”-General George S. Patton

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Today’s Top DR Brand Ambassadors

The InterMedia Entertainment (IME) Star Index® currently tracks nearly 1,000 celebrities who are either currently employed, or have the potential to act, as direct response advertising spokespeople. This issue, we concentrate on 25 celebrities who are working in DRTV today—people who represent a national brand and have appeared in television commercials in 2015.

The leading direct response advertising category for celebrity spokespeople is Financial Services, with six current advertisers. The associated products and services cover a broad spectrum of companies, ranging from reverse mortgages to payday loans. Other major categories employing brand ambassadors include Health and Beauty, Charity, Diet Products, Pain Relief, Nutraceutical Supplements, Insurance, and Senior Care.

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Scandal vs. Stability

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No doubt about it: Popularity is, and has always been, fleeting. This is particularly true in the entertainment field, where social media and the 24-hour news cycle can change public opinion so fast it would make Horace Greeley’s head spin. If you have any doubt, just ask Tiger Woods—the ultimate cautionary tale for sponsorship deals.

But how fleeting is popularity? And in the sphere of celebrity spokesperson selection, which types of celebrities are most resistant to, or most at risk for, quantum shifts in popularity?

InterMedia Entertainment (IME) launched the DR Star Index® in 2013 to evaluate and rank the advertising spokesperson potential of top personalities. The Index’s scores and rankings are based on public perceptions of these individuals in six key spokesperson attributes: Recognition, Trust, Influence, Likeability, Attractiveness, and Relevance. Analysis shows that Trust and Influence are the most critical in determining whether a specific celebrity has the potential to be effective in a spokesperson role.

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The Value of Experience

Morgan Freeman

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”—Mark Twain

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In a world defined by instant gratification, the conventional wisdom is that recency equals relevancy—that newer is better, and experience is secondary. This has become especially true with the explosion of social media, where saying it first often trumps getting it right.

So it is surprising that nonagenarian Betty White ranks highest in the most recent InterMedia DR Star Index®, especially since the Index surveys a proportional cross-section of U.S. adult consumers in which the population of the 18–34 demographic exceeds that of other, older age segments. White’s extreme popularity with young consumers of both genders, as well as with older groups, helps her attain a top ranking.

IME set out to determine whether White’s ranking and universal appeal is an anomaly based on singular circumstances, or part of a larger dynamic that could potentially be leveraged by companies seeking a nontraditional brand ambassador to represent their product or service. In other words, does a celebrity’s advanced age preclude him or her from effectively representing a brand targeted at consumers throughout the age spectrum, or can the perceived wisdom and perspective an individual achieves through experience trump the age gap?

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Everybody Loves Betty White! Golden Girl Tops InterMedia Entertainment® Q2 2014 IME Star Index® Rankings

Betty White

Forget the glamour girls–Betty White has all of them beat! By taking the top slot in the Q2 2014 IME Star Index®, Betty showed that age can indeed stand before beauty.

The top women following her on the list were Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez.

“Betty White’s staying power is a marvel of the entertainment business; she has proven herself to be a highly-effective celebrity spokesperson—one whose sense of humor and disarming charm seem to only strengthen her trustworthiness and influence with people of both genders and all ages,“ says Rob Levy, President of InterMedia Entertainment®.

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Could Red Bull Become the New ESPN?


Who is Red Bull, really?

Among the existential questions that plague humanity, maybe this one is not as high on philosophers’ radar. But for those interested in the state and future of branded content, it’s one worth asking.

First, they were a company known for making hyper-caffeinated drinks; then, they were an energy drink company that was surprisingly content-savvy. Now, they’re beginning to firmly look like media company that happens to sell an energy drink, as The Content Strategist’s James O’Brien foretold 18 months ago.

Perhaps nothing helps shape the answer to the question of who Red Bull is right now more than the release of a new app,, and the update of another, Red Bull TV, which seem to showcase the company’s identity—as it stands today, anyhow.

According to Gordon Plutsky, VP of Marketing at Digital Bungalow, what Red Bull is doing is in some ways classic content marketing, but taken to the highest degree seen thus far.

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