Celebrity. Human after all.
But oh how we love it. Just look at how popular the Daily Mail online is – the world’s most visited newspaper website, which features a heavy quota of celeb-related articles.
Celebrity endorsement is also powerful, tapping in to that the human need to fit in, and to aspire to be what is valued and idolised within society. And today, maybe more than ever, our idols are celebrities – whether by dint of their sporting prowess, business acumen, or just their ability to look really pretty in mascara.
And while many don’t understand the wide ranging appeal of the nations sweetheart, arguably Cheryl Cole‘s “X-Factor” is her innate “relate-ability”. Cheryl is a our “Geordie girl done good”, but without making us feel she’s gotten above herself (remember that naughty ex-husband). Cheryl makes us feel – “aye we could look like that with a spot of nice shampoo and a good stylist”.
And why not. Their fees may be impressive, but just look at the impact they can have – just this week its been reported that sales of the Modalu bag named the “Pippa” increased a reported 50 times, after Miss Middleton herself was pictured with the bag.
However, not just any celeb will do. We know from the hundreds of ads we work on with clients, that brand sponsors work best when there is fit with the brand, and believability and credibility are also key to a successful partnership.
But there is an inevitable risk to using a celebrity. For every Gary Lineker there could be a Martin Clunes – yes one of our most loved actors, but who unfortunately picked up a driving disqualification whilst featuring in a campaign for car insurance.
So brands have to take the risk of relying on the celebrity to keep their end of the bargain. Easy you for them you may cry, with the kind of pay cheques they receive – but imagine the relief for Jools Oliver now she never has to worry about being seen out with a Tesco, oh okay probably a Waitrose bag.
The sorry saga of the once king of cycling Lance Armstrong swung full circle this week, as he has recorded an interview reportedly making a confession about the doping allegations that have swirled around him for so many years. His corporate sponsors fled a few months ago, wishing to disassociate their brands from him.
As someone who watched him ride the mountains in France, and was close enough to see the look of steel and focus in his eyes as he pushed himself to climb even higher, even faster, it was no wonder that this phenomenon of Lance Armstrong was a fairytale for sports marketers. But at the heart of Armstrong’s story lies the cautionary tale that celebrities are capable of the same failings and fallacies as the rest of the human race.
Celebrities are indeed only human. Even Lance, the once seemingly most super-human of them all.