Despite Risks, Celebrity Endorsers Raise Print Advertising Awareness
Entertainment Figures Generate Higher Consumer Readership Scores Than Athletes
New York, New York, February 23, 2011 - Although the downside of using celebrity endorsers has been in stark relief in the past few years--think of Brett Favre, Charlie Sheen or Tiger Woods--they provide significant lift to print advertising readership, according to a new analysis from Starch Advertising Research.
Starch analyzed more than 81,000 print ads that appeared in consumer magazines between December 2009 and September 2010. On average, the ads that contained a celebrity endorser produced 9.4% higher consumer readership than ads without a celebrity endorser.
Print ads containing an entertainment celebrity garnered 15.1% more readership, on average, than ads without a celebrity, while the use of sports celebrities raised consumer readership by 7.5%.
"In general, very few consumers will admit that a celebrity endorsement influences their decision to buy a product," said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP Marketing & Strategic Planning at GfK MRI. "However, in terms of helping with the first task in filling up the purchase funnel--getting consumers to read your ad--these data show that a celebrity endorsement moves the readership needle in magazines."
Tiger Woods lost endorsements from Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade owing to his marital infidelities, while Charlie Sheen recently lost Hanes because of his various publicized escapades.
"So far, Wrangler and Snapper have stuck by Brett Favre after the NFL fined him $50,000 for failing to cooperate in an investigation into allegations of inappropriate text messages, but this is the kind of heartburn that most marketers can do without," added Kelly. "Nonetheless, the risks are apparently worth taking."
One celebrity, Ellen DeGeneres, who was considered controversial for being openly gay when she first appeared on television, is now an accepted household name and face. Her CoverGirl & Olay print ad in the March 2010 issue of House Beautiful generated a phenomenal 91% readership score, the highest scoring entertainment celebrity ad in the Starch analysis.
Magazine: House Beautiful, March 2010
Celebrity: Ellen DeGeneres
Readership Score: 91%
About GfK MRI
GfK MRI has a singular goal: to provide the clearest and most detailed view of American consumers--who they are, what they buy, how they think, and the best ways to reach them. Founded in 1979, GfK MRI is the country's leading provider of magazine audience ratings, multimedia research data and penetrating insights into consumers' behavior and motivations.
When conducting its national Survey of the American Consumer™, GfK MRI interviews approximately 26,000 U.S. adults in their homes each year, asking about their use of media, their consumption of more than 6,000 products in 550 categories, their lifestyles and their attitudes. Because these interviews are structured as an area probability study, the results are projectable to the entire U.S. adult population. The Survey also serves as a foundation for an array of innovative GfK MRI research products that answer the market's need for granular, cross-media and consumer-focused information.
GfK MRI is part of The GfK Group, based in Nuremberg, Germany. The Group delivers a range of information and consultancy services in three business sectors: Custom Research, Retail & Technology and Media. It is the No. 4 market research organization worldwide, operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 10,000 staff, more than 80% of whom are based outside of Germany.