Why do companies use celebrity endorsements in advertising?

Have you ever purchased a product because you knew a celebrity was also a user of the item? Maybe you bought a brand of lipstick because your favorite actress expressed in a commercial that it made her lips plumper? Or did you buy a pair of sneakers because you thought it would make you jump as high as the pro athlete pictured in the magazine ad?

A celebrity endorsement is when a famous person uses her/his notoriety to help to sell a product or service. It has been practiced since the 18th century, as Josiah Wedgwood, the founder of Wedgwood, used royal endorsement to create a heightened value for his products. During our days, it is typical for brands appealing to a specific segment to seek out an ambassador who meets the criteria. As consumers become more and more weighed down by the amount of advertising, companies are pushing their boundaries and exploring more innovative solutions for catching the attention of their target audience.
In 2013 Gillette employed 3 famous spokeswomen models to promote their Fusion ProGlide Styler; it was the first time for the brand, who had always used masculine representatives. The ad works on the presumption that many American men would want to appeal to women’s care preferences.
Also Nike went beyond their boundaries when it published an ad containing the slogan “Improve your game with Nikefootball+ – Are you ready for the elite?”. This slogan was on the lid of an open shoebox with a pair of Nike football shoes in it. Behind this box more than 50 professional football players from various teams. The players’ teams were all sponsored by Nike and wearing their Nike-team apparel on this photo montage, even if some of the players were sponsored by Adidas and actually play with Adidas shoes.
Therefore why do companies decide to link their products to celebrities?
Brands look for celebrities who share qualities, values, ideas in order to create a potential synergy between the company and/or its products and the celebrity. Besides, a large follower-base is a key criterion for a brand, as it enables it to reach a wider audience thanks to published pictures, clicks, shares and tweets. For example, data collected by Opendorse, suggest that Toronto Blue Jays’ athletes are paid $500 per tweet for every 100,000 followers they have.
Moreover, the perceived credibility is higher since customers are more likely to attribute credibility to a company that is endorsed by a celebrity they trust.
But how much is a celebrity worth? Can every company invest their equity in endorsement? What about the risks of potential brand damages? Those are important questions to answer before deciding a strategy and they will be answered in the next article.
To learn more:
Adidas challenges Nike (implied) shoe claim in the Hamburg Higher Regional Court
The culture factor series: III. Celebrity Endorsement
Celebrity Endorsements in Advertising: Definition, Benefits & Examples
Does your celebrity endorsement deliver incremental sales?