The Celebrity Endorsement Paradox

On Monday, I wrote about how the popularity of a product can cause people to buy it. This is true because the average consumer is a victim to the “need to be like others” curse. It’s part of being human. And marketers can take advantage of that. But it flies in the face of another commonly used marketing tool.

The celebrity endorsement.

Many people would say that a celebrity endorsement is a good thing, no matter what. But there is a good and a bad side to this tool that we should be aware of.

First, associating your product or service with a celebrity can give it more buzz. That’s a good thing. Until that celebrity creates their own negative buzz (see Tiger Woods a year ago) and it damages your brand because people associate your products with them.

Second, people associate positive feelings about a person with products that they are associated with. So simply seeing an ad for your product featuring someone they like, might in their mind mean that they like the product. But what if I hold negative feelings about that celebrity? I now hold negative feelings about the product.

But we all knew that already.

Why I referred to Monday’s post at the beginning of this one was because the “popularity” theory works because people want to be like others who are similar to them. Celebrities are not similar to us. So you lose that “understood credibility” that you get when masses of average Joe’s want a product.

There is good and bad in every marketing trick out there. The key is knowing that, and looking for it before moving forward.