On October 30th 2015, Amazon premiered its new advertising campaign for Amazon Prime, starring an unexpected celebrity:
The following day the name Jeremy Clarkson appeared in 90 newspaper headlines, according to Google Trends, and at the time of writing, the YouTube version of the advert has gained almost 2.7 million views. Amazon chose quite possibly the most controversial and divisive UK celebrity of recent months and gave him a platform from which to blast his previous employers on national TV.
And it worked.
Amazon know what the BBC have always known: like him or loathe him, Jeremy Clarkson will bring in viewers like almost nobody else in UK television. His inclusion in a campaign was always going to be a resounding marketing success.
But what if you can’t afford Jeremy Clarkson (and let’s face it, not many people can)? Does the use of celebrities help or hinder a marketing campaign? MarketWatch compiled some of the limited information available on the subject and discovered that celebrity endorsements mostly made a difference to the stock market.
Discovering what is right for your business may take some time. Well-known local figures can be valuable for regional marketing campaigns but alienating to customers from further afield. Misjudging the appeal of a celebrity may ultimately do your business more harm than good.
Arguably the most significant power of a celebrity endorsement is in prompting discussions of your business on social media and increasing brand awareness. TellyJuice have put together our top tips for using a celebrity to boost your marketing campaign.
Find someone who is a natural, or unnatural, fit for your business
Finding the right celebrity for your brand doesn’t necessarily mean finding someone who already uses your product or service. It might just mean understanding how their personal brand could benefit that of your business.
The series of Country Life adverts starring John Lydon were incredibly popular because there is something inherently fascinating and amusing about seeing an anti-establishment punk icon selling butter on the telly.
Charities often use comedians in the same way for appeal videos. The serious tone of the videos is startling to audiences accustomed to seeing comedians in the context of their comedy. Each year Comic Relief is a powerful reminder of how this contrast can be used to considerable effect.
Ensure that the audience will laugh with them, not at them
Wayne Rooney has never been the most charismatic of celebrities, he isn’t even charismatic for a footballer, so his inclusion in this cringeworthy advert was never going to be an easy watch.
Deliberately making a celebrity the butt of a joke is never a smart marketing strategy, but most people are willing to indulge in a little self-deprecating humour. Just to prove that footballers can crack a smile, this Luis Suarez advert is funny, clever and helped to increase international awareness of Uruguayan company Abitab (who you almost certainly would not have heard of otherwise).
Harness the power of social media
One of the most valuable ways in which using a celebrity can really boost the visibility of your business is with social media. Using a celebrity in an unusual or funny way can prompt a flurry of activity on social media, which is why many adverts now include a specific hashtag for viewers to voice their opinions.
The #PleaseNotThem marketing campaign by the National Lottery is a smart recent example: hiring celebrities well-known for their legions of loyal haters to take part in a bit of tongue-in-cheek awfulness and hopefully spark discussion on social media.
Celebrities can make a huge difference to a marketing campaign, but one which can often be difficult to directly relate to monthly sales figures. The intangible nature of marketing and advertising ROI means that the value of celebrities to a campaign can only ever be estimated, although this hasn’t dissuaded Nike from spending a whopping 10% of its total revenue on its collection of sportswear-loving superstars.