Debate Time: Celebrity Endorsements

Josh Joda and Ross Purves discuss whether traditional media and celebrity endorsement is losing its influence to influencer marketing.

Josh Joda – Influencer Marketing is the Future!

Much has been said about traditional forms of advertising and their effectiveness in an increasingly digital and connected world, I don’t think it’s too controversial to say that the influence of celebrity advertising is ebbing away, though that’s not to say it’s a practice that is completely useless. But in terms of the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement campaigns, celebrity influence is waning. This, in part, has led to the rise of influencer marketing, influencers come in a few different forms, ranging from mega to micro. Getting to the crux of it, the hard truth is that younger generations are smart, savvy and less trusting in brands, being much more likely to listen to a YouTuber over a famous actor, model or athlete. The average person is bombarded with advertising every day and will most likely ignore the vast majority of it. But seeing peers or influencers talk positively about a product can be very appealing.

Trust, authenticity and relatability are the three cornerstones to the success of influencer marketing and they’re also some of the big issues that you have when it comes to celebrity endorsements. Because no matter how famous or likeable a celebrity is, reach and exposure doesn’t automatically translate into consumer trust or even into sales. Celebrities massive reach is ironically a big pitfall for product endorsements as their fan base can often be so wide and varied that generic adverts may only appeal to a fraction of said fan base, resulting in a less effective campaign.

Brands by and large have cautioned against this fact and the power of influencers to target specific, niche audiences and across the board brands have been using influencers from Fashion Nova to Boohoo, to Snickers. It would be ignorant to dismiss influencer marketing as a fad or ineffective when it’s clearly a huge and ever-growing form of marketing.

Ross Purves – Influencer marketing is here to stay. But it won’t replace or hinder traditional celebrity endorsements.

Influencer marketing is certainly big and getting bigger every year. However, I don’t believe that for influencer marketing to succeed that traditional celebrity endorsement has to decline.

I believe that the two do not operate the same function. While influencer (both macro and micro) might be better for the one-off sale through social media and a pitch, a household name provides much more brand value compared to an influencer.

It really depends on what you’re wanting to achieve – if you want a product to sell in a short amount of time then influencers may be the best option to achieve this. If you want to increase brand value to a large demographic then a celebrity endorsement(s) through a campaign of both digital and traditional media will reap a larger reward as it will raise awareness through multiple sale cycles, yielding a larger ROI over time.

Obviously, the best result is a mixture of both. But which method would you spend more money on depends on your goals, target demographics and resources available.

In the end, celebrities are influencers too. But their exposure isn’t limited to social media and an online community. While traditional media exists, the celebrity endorsement isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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