Walking, Talking Advertisements

A company’s prime objective is always to reach their target audience. If they can’t do that, then what’s the point? A common and smart way to reach a marketable audience, especially if that audience is millennials, is to use celebrities to promote your product for you. Teenagers and young adults are extremely impressionable, so it makes sense that they would want to use the same products and services as the people they look up to and want to be like. They also tend to trust their favorite stars and therefore believe in their opinions.

Depending on their targeted audience, a company may choose a celebrity of a certain ethnicity or race to promote their product to try to appeal to said audience. A celebrity’s level of attractiveness is also important. Research and studies found that viewers first impressions of a product were positive (before they even saw it) if the celebrity endorsing it was attractive. Celebrity expertise in the product’s area is important too. If Michael Jordan were selling bass fishing equipment rather than basketball shoes, consumers might not find him to be such a reliable source. It needs to be a good “fit.”

For example, Kendall Jenner recently became the face of the cosmetics company Estee Lauder. This was clearly a good fit, because she is a 21-year-old woman who appeals to girls anywhere from early teens to late twenties. This is a very marketable audience for Estee Lauder, because those are a lot of the girls that will be buying their makeup products. No doubt a big part of their choice was the fact that Jenner has been coined the “Ultimate Instagirl,” with (as of Oct. 2016) a following of over 67 million.

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Kendall Jenner promoting makeup company Estee Lauder with the hashtags #KJ4EL and #EsteeModel.

Another example is the use of Brooklyn Beckham (son of David and Victoria Beckham) to shoot Burberry’s newest fragrance ad campaign. Real photographers were angry about this because the 16-year-old boy clearly wasn’t chosen for his talent or expertise as much as his name and social media following. It was very controversial because people assumed it was his 6 million followers on Instagram that got him the gig. However, it seems understandable since that is quite a large audience that Burberry can reach just by having Beckham post pictures to his account where everyone will see. Even Domenic Venneri (the founder of the digital marketing agency Vokent) said that he won’t hire people, even people working behind the scenes, without them having some sort of social media presence.

Consumers see these glamorous, attractive celebrities promoting a product and then they want to get it for themselves. Especially in the fashion industry, current trends are all about imitating what you see everyone else doing. The people that usually start those trends are celebrities because the platform they have gives them so much power and influence. For example, Jennifer Aninston’s hairstyle from the show Friends in the ‘90’s was groundbreaking. Every woman on the planet seemed to want “The Rachel.” If a company can tap into something like that and put their brand’s name to it, they have themselves a walking, talking advertisement.

By: Alanna Goodman

Professional Athletes: The New Fashion Icons

Around the world companies have used athletes to promote their brands since the 1930s, when baseball legend Babe Ruth endorsed a soft drink brand called Red Rock Cola.  Since then, the times have changed and social media has taken over in brand marketing and brand promotion.  The key for fashion brands is choosing the right athlete to endorse your product. These athletes need to seem like they would be an authentic customer of the product, fashion line, or service that they promote.  Trustworthiness and credibility for the brand are most important.  They need to be believed in the eyes of the public.  This results in fans and consumers buying the EleVen athletic wear that Serena Williams promotes on Instagram and the striving ballers purchasing the newest LeBron James Collection basketball shoes because LeBron states he is an all-around better player while wearing them.

Brands reaching into the social communities of these athletes is the smartest thing they can do.  Even an announcement from a brand signing a celebrity or athlete will make the stock prices of the company rise.  Just one endorsement can increase sales by 4%. Brands utilizing Usain Bolts social media accounts create a personal interest in his fans and followers.  TV commercials and billboards are easy to classify as staged productions, whereas Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles make the promotion significant and much more attractive to viewers.

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Follow @mariasharapova on Instagram to see how she promotes Nike

Maria Sharapova partnered with Nike to promote their brand.  Not only did she build a successful tennis career, but also a large number of followers across her social media profiles.  With 1.8 million followers on Twitter, over 15 million fans on Facebook, and 164,000 on Instagram, she is one of the most desirable athletes for endorsements. 

The Nike Jordan shoe brand has become one of the most successful athlete endorsement campaigns in history. In 2009, statistics showed that Jordan continued to boost Nike’s bottom line with the Jordan Brand taking 75% of the basketball shoe market, and a 10.8% share of the overall shoe market in the United States. Brands must pay more than $10 million dollars just to use his imagery!  The Nike Jordan fashion line now boasts clothing from athletic shirts and shorts to accessories that include socks, wristbands, headbands, hats, backpacks and of course basketballs. Air Jordan shoes are still one of the mostly highly coveted and highest selling items in Nike’s existence.  The iconography of the “Jumpman” logo combined with innovative designs and Michael Jordan himself revolutionized the Air Jordan brand and the look of basketball footwear forever.

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@kingjames endorsing Nike Air Jordan’s

Professional athletes have been endorsing products for years, but in the last decade athletes have started endorsing brands that have nothing to do with the sports they play.  Professional athletes such as Tom Brady and David Beckham have moved to endorsing brands that are trendy and fashion centric on their social media accounts.

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David Beckham modeling for H&M’s ‘BODYWEAR’ collection

Tom Brady is known for endorsing UGG boots.  This eventually skyrocketed the launch of UGG for Men with the help of a giant spread of him sitting against a wall in GQ magazine wearing the furry boots.  David Beckham is a big endorser of fashion lines for H&M clothing.  Bodywear by H&M suddenly became more desiring.  Both Brady and Beckham are not representing themselves as professional football and soccer players on social media but rather presenting themselves as models of desire in the fashion world.  This contrasts with the Michael Jordan brand because as models they are relying on sex appeal to endorse these products instead of athletic talent.        

By: Shannon Quinlan

Capitalizing on Social Media Idols

Celebrities are the ultimate influencers. For as long as advertising has existed, brands have been chasing after valuable endorsements from pop culture icons in hopes of tapping into their enormous influence. Money and power may have made them famous, but those aren’t the reasons why endorsements are valuable. The simple reason why celebrity endorsements are so widely sought is that when they talk, people listen.

We’re all used to seeing our favorite athletes and actors show up in TV and magazine ads. The reasons for using these types of endorsements are well established. According to an article from Forbes, a single celebrity endorsement can raise sales by around 4% almost immediately, regardless of the product or the endorser. It can also raise stock values and inspire confidence in stakeholders. However, the modern communication environment is more complex than it used to be, and so is the prospect of using celebrity endorsements.

It’s common knowledge at this point that having a social media presence is a necessity for any company interested in marketing, but the best practices for social media marketing may not be so common. It turns out that celebrity endorsements are just as, if not more effective when incorporated into social media marketing. A study by Brand Affinity Technologies found that celebrity-endorsed posts are 50% more cost-effective in activating audiences than non-endorsed ones and have clickthrough-rates 21 times higher. These are impressive numbers, but why does this work?

Jennifer Lueck writes about a concept called Parasocial Interaction. This refers to the way in which fans interact with their favorite celebrities on social media. Celebrities who are highly active on social networks, such as Kim Kardashian, have millions of followers. It is virtually impossible to get to know or even have any sort of personal interaction with a fraction of those fans. However, because of the personal and intimate nature of celebrity posts, fans often feel as if they personally know and have a relationship with these social media icons. They feel like a part of the celebrity’s life, knowing roughly the same amount of information about them as most people know about their real life friends. This familiarity and attachment creates very loyal and engaged followers, which is exactly what social media marketers are seeking. This explains why, when Kim Kardashian’s followers see an Instagram post from her featuring a new lipstick she’s in love with, they are 21 times more likely to click through and investigate that product; it’s essentially a recommendation from a friend, rather than an impersonal marketing message.

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Kim & Co. advertise husband Kanye West’s new clothing line

Social media marketing is all about activating and energizing your audience, motivating them to do the marketing for you. Having a celebrity endorse your product on social media is like gaining a mutual friend with millions of people. That is why celebrity endorsements are an approach every social media marketer should look for opportunities to incorporate.

By: Wesley Marcum

Celebrity Benefits: Accessibility and Trust

When walking through a store, or checking certain fashion social media, you typically see familiar celebrities modeling for a particular brand. This is no accident.  When  you like, admire, or value a celebrity you also value what type of outfit they wear and want to replicate it, and the fashion industry has picked up on this. This type of endorsement gives fashion industries a huge advantage because of the exposure it gives to the company, corporation or brand. The use of social media that each celebrity uses promotes the brand and gives the followers a direct click to go straight to that brand’s page. This makes the company more accessible to consumers allowing them to be linked directly with the fashion site. Nowadays no one remembers a fashion campaign that doesn’t have a celebrity in it. The fashion industry thrives on using social media with celebrities to get consumer loyalty as well as product purchases.

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Most popular celebrity endorsements

Fashion is always changing. What is the “in” outfit one fall will be the “out” outfit next fall, and this is usually conveyed through social media. A celebrity’s social media account is where the newest trends of clothing are shown. When a celebrity shows off the first piece of clothing that is just released consumers go crazy and want to buy it. The consumers trust celebrities more than the company and this shows how  the groundswell works in the fashion industry. When the celebrity posts an attention grabbing instagram that gives off something appealing to the eye, it is more than likely people will buy the product being featured. This tends to happen at a higher rate when the celebrity happens to be attractive allowing the consumer to positively think about the company even before actually looking  at the clothing during this time. This type of endorsement through social media builds trustworthiness for the consumers and gives more of a humanizing factor to the celebrity because it is more reachable to the average person. The outcomes are more favorable if the celebrity is likable and ultimately increases the appeal of a certain clothing type or brand.

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Rihanna’s Instagram where she is showing off her new Puma sneakers

Brands of the fashion industry pay money and give lots of benefits to the celebrities that sign contracts with them. A typical endorsement, specifically for male athletes, make a clothing company millions of dollars depending on how many people ‘like,’ share or expose the post.The fashion industry has noticed that the traditional ways of shopping have changed, which has only put more of an emphasis of selling through social media. The fashion industry is tailored to celebrities to make it easier to promote their brands by the constant spread of information. As much as the consumer thinks the celebrity is raving about a brand on twitter, it usually is linked to that company. The horizontal revolution has actually helped the fashion industry because it allows consumers to actively see and be involved with fashion through social media.

By: Corinne Schmidt