Angelina Jolie was paid as much as $10 million as the new face of Louis Vuitton, above. LeBron James signed a $90 million deal with Nike when he was still in high school. Rapper 50 Cent negotiated a executive office with Vitamin Water and raked in tens of millions of dollars upon endorsing it. Catherine Zeta-Jones got paid $20 million to endorse T-Mobile (and that was before her contract extension and raise).
Everywhere you turn people who play doctors on TV and every other celebrity you can name are telling us what to buy and where to buy it.
However, a new study from Adweek/Harris Interactive shows that consumers don’t give a rip if a celebrity is telling them to buy a product or not.
“When a product or service is endorsed by a celebrity, more than three-quarters answered that it has no impact on their intent to buy,” Adweek reports. “Just 4 percent said it makes them more likely to purchase.”
And when consumers get up to retirement age, celebrity endorsements can actually work against a product, according to the poll. For those 55 and older, 19% noted that a celebrity endorsement might cause them to not buy a particular brand.
It all raises the question of why brands shell out millions of dollars for celeb endorsements if Joe and Jane Consumer aren't buying it.
As for Jolie's Louis Vuitton campaign, the Guardian reports that it's already getting criticized despite her longtime commitment to the country (where her son Maddox was born) and decision to donate part of her endorsement fee to charity:
The response has not been one of unguarded rejoicing. Some have argued that if you travel upriver in a very poor country with mosquitos and ferocious river beasts threatening your life and sanity, you might not want to take a £7,000 bag with you. Perhaps using poor countries as the backdrop to show off your luxury goods isn't in the best possible taste? All the same, it's hard to be mean to Jolie. She did give a tidy chunk of the pay cheque (reported to be $10m) to charity. And all the caring celebrities are doing Vuitton's Core Values campaign these days. Bono. Sean Connery. Bono.
Mark Babej of Reason inc., responding to the AdWeek research on Forbes.com, is skeptical about the findings. He concluded that "celebrity endorsements as an advertising tactic should be approached with caution… but not because of consumer’s self-reported likeliness to be swayed by them." What do you think?
[image - Louis Vuitton via WWD]