Traditional celebrities endorsements, YPulse perceives, are no longer as effective as they once where because for millennials there is no mystery to their “idols,” and as a result actually idolizing celebrities is a dying sentiment. Their unique experience with celebrity culture brings into question the effectiveness of traditional celebrity endorsement. How believable is a seal of approval from a celebrity when Millennials know more about their personalities and preferences than ever before? Add to this the fact that Millennials might just be the most media savvy generation to date, with full awareness of the machinery at work behind brands and their efforts to lure in consumers.
There is a fine line between a well-placed celebrity endorsement and one that simply fails to connect. Here are two of the biggest factors Millennials use to judge celebrity-endorsement marketing.
1) Do the Celeb and Brand Personalities Match?
Perhaps the biggest factor in producing a successful celebrity ad campaign is choosing the right person: how well do the icon and the product fit together? Millennials often find the less an ad is outright about buying the product and instead features an idea, feeling or attitude that the product evokes the more Millennials will pay attention to it.
Feels Right: Pepsi has matched celebrity with brand perfectly in their campaign featuring Beyoncé. Because their energies are such a good match, the believability of the spokesperson using the product becomes somewhat less important. Does Beyoncé really rehydrate with Pepsi during rehearsal breaks? Probably not, but that’s not to say she doesn’t during other times of the day. In this case, utilizing relatability over star power is a non-factor – Beyoncé is superhuman. If Beyoncé likes something, we do too. The pop-art print campaign and limited-edition can sporting Beyoncé’s face enhance Pepsi’s appeal even more. The vibrant, colorful designs reflect the fun and refreshing attitude that both Pepsi and Beyoncé embody.
Falls Flat: This month’s Lipton tea ads featuring Kat Dennings did not live up to this standard. While Dennings was funny, the pairing didn’t add up. Her quirky, energetic personality was a mis-match with this product. The ad didn’t make Millennials want to go out and buy tea, and didn’t make Lipton stand out either. The humor and energy they attempted, was somewhat interesting, to interject with Dennings’ eccentricity, but the execution stripped the ad of authenticity.
2) Does It Feel Real?
As a consumer, Millennials need to believe that the person advertised would actually use whatever product they are endorsing, or they will be instantly turned off.
Feels Right: A superior example of this is the perfectly matched endorsement between Taylor Swift and Keds. The brand falls in line with Swift’s wholesome style, and I would not be at all surprised to see her wearing the shoes on the street.
Falls Flat: A prime example of this effort falling flat is McDonald’s.The multi-billion dollar company has become an American staple. Despite their huge success, their spokespeople feel ironic. Celebrity athletes from Michael Jordan to Lebron James have all endorsed the fast-food chain over the years. In the 2012 summer games, they added athletes like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte to their roster of endorsers. Despite the company’s “favorites under 400 calories” menu additions, Millennials are hard pressed to believe that these athletes are regularly eating McDonald’s, or that this food has in any way attributed to their outstanding success and health.