It’s near impossible to scroll through any social media platform these days without being bombarded with images of celebrities promoting some form of teeth whitening kit, fit-tea or miracle cream.

From high-profile celebs like Kim Kardashian selling weight loss shakes to insta-famous influencers like Victoria McGrath (better known by her instagram handle, inthefrow) promoting her latest collab with L’Oreal. It’s a simple answer to the question of how to cut through the thousands of ads that we’re shown in our day-to-day lives.

On average we’re involuntarily presented with 3000 ads a day, leading to over exposure and a more competitive social media. Research shows that if a person sees a celebrity they are familiar with and whom they are fond of, their attention is gained over other ads. However, using celebrities to sell a product can often be seen as a bit of a cop-out, an easy solution that doesn’t require much other thought. But with the right strategy, these campaigns can be very stylish and effective.

Celebrities have their own brand power and often the ‘influencer’ doesn’t even need to outright endorse a product for a brand to reap the advantages of their association. For example, one major U.K. eyewear retail brand used images of members the British royal family in their various spectacles and sunglasses to sell glasses of similar styles. They employed a ‘get this look’ approach so members of the general public can feel like royalty themselves and feel that they are comparable to the elegantly stylish Kate Middleton.

So which celebrity do you choose?

It’s important when choosing a celebrity to pick one that is relevant to the brand. Companies may want whoever is most attractive or has the most followers, but trustworthiness and credibility is key. You want customers to believe that this celebrity actually uses the product they’re selling.

According to a Marketwatch claim in Social Media Week, just one endorsement can lead to an increase in sales by 4%, almost immediately. This represents an increase in perceived legitimacy of the brand – even though the product has not changed – simply because people think “why would this celebrity put their name on something that’s rubbish?”

uSwitch recently held an event in the town of Winkleigh to help them switch energy supplier and save money, as only 6% of households in the town have switched in the last 3 years. They enlisted the help of Countdown star Rachel Riley to give residents another reason and incentive to get involved. Riley is known for being exceptionally good with numbers so this gives her credibility when she talks about how much money you could be saving – it almost makes it seem as if she herself has personally done the calculations.

WDMP helped uSwitch get the word out in Winkleigh by creating promotional communications for the event. Using the headline ‘Win, Win, Winkleigh’, we reinforced the association with Riley as a game show celebrity while also suggesting that the audience can gain something by attending – even if it’s just the chance to meet a celebrity.

The event was a success as uSwitch and Riley helped many Winkleigh residents to save money. But would as many people have been involved if there was no celebrity attached to the event? Would people have listened to uSwitch’s money saving claims without a credible celebrity to reinforce them?

Joanna Simpson-Howe, Junior Copywriter WDMP

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