Celebrity Endorsement in Ads Mostly Ineffective

According to an Ace Metrix study of all nationally televised ads in the first 11 months of 2010 (summarized here in Ad Age), commercials featuring celebrity pitchmen and pitchwomen generally perform worse than non-celebrity commercials. While the average TV ad contributed to an 8% lift for the brand, celebrity spots (on average) hurt brands — affecting a negative lift of 1.4%.

Ad Age data on celebrity ads

What’s going on? Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll speculates that relevance and social recommendations have become more important than associations with fame.

“Today’s consumer is more likely to be influenced by someone in their social network than a weak celebrity connection. Today’s consumer is informed, time-compressed, and difficult to impress, and they are only influenced by ads that are relevant and provide information. They don’t want to have products pushed at them, even from a celebrity. In fact, the data show that relevance and information attributes were key missing ingredients from most celebrity ads.”

I wonder, too, if celebrity endorsements make it easier for agencies get lazy — so confident that the famous face will sell the product that they forget to make a brilliant commercial.

Related: Back in November ChasNote asked Would you want Snooki and Rod Blagojavich endorsing your brand? For those of you fence-sitters, here’s some data to help you decide. While Tiger Woods (-30% for Nike), Martha Stewart (-21% for Macy’s), Andie MacDowell (-21% for L’Oreal) and two dozen other celebrities fared worse for their sponsors than did Snooki and Blago, both hurt the Wonderful Pistachios brand. Snooki delivered negative lift of 15% and Blago brought it down by 12%. Go, Snooki!

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