Understanding Celebrity Influence on the Public
Wed, April 21, 2021

Understanding Celebrity Influence on the Public

Influencers may be the new trusted source for internet audiences, but it doesn’t mean that celebs are completely out of the spotlight when it comes to influencing / Photo by: rawpixel via 123RF

 

Influencers may be the new trusted source for internet audiences, but it doesn’t mean that celebs are completely out of the spotlight when it comes to influencing. After all, they won’t stay in the position they’re in if they don’t command a sizable following especially from the markets emerging from the budding business hub that is Instagram. What influence do celebrities continue to hold and where? 

 

How Influential?

First, let’s look at the numbers behind celebrity influence before digging into what makes them influential. In a 2014 article by Marketing Charts, a research paper from Ace Metrix, showed that the advertising influence of celebrities has really taken a beating recently. 

“Based on advertising data gathered from the beginning of January 2012 through October 2013, Ace Metrix (an advertising analytics company based in El Segundo, CA) found that in the aggregate, TV ads containing celebrities underperformed [compared to] those without. There was a wide range in performance, however, leading the researchers to conclude that celebrity advertising is a ‘mixed bag’ for brands using them.” 

Diving deeper into this analysis, Ace Metrix observed 12,000 ads, 1,200 of which featured a celebrity. The ads that featured celebrities underperformed in large part because they lacked elements like “desire” and “relevance.” The research further stated that “the worst performers were those where the celebrities featured had little apparent connection to the brand.” 

If you compare that to the current dynamic of influencer marketing, we see a trend where consumers are more discerning now than ever, deciding that trust in an advertiser stems from knowing what their personal brand is and therefore seeing that same brand reflected in what they are trying to advertise. 

However, brands aren’t completely forgoing celebrity endorsers for influencers. In fact, companies still see celebrity advertising as viable. Since the current political climate seems to be impacting a big part of society, some 45% of adults “believe that celebrities can make either a large (11%) or some (33%) positive difference to issues they are promoting.” 

Of course, this is so provided that the issues they are promoting, again, are something that they themselves personally align with. Such a trait seems to be important to audiences now. 

The current trends seem to be pointing out that celebrity advertising may not continue to be fashionable or interesting to consumers. According to an earlier study, “just one in 10 respondents claimed to engage with ads because they like the spokesperson or celebrity, or because that person is someone they recognize.”

That being said, there are still a sizable 2017 data presented on the statistics website Statista that showed that people from the 16 to 24 age group (16%) and the 25 to 34 age group (16%) still found products through celebrity endorsements.  

The current trends seem to be pointing out that celebrity advertising may not continue to be fashionable or interesting to consumers / Photo by: Kaspars Grinvalds via 123RF

 

Outside Advertisements

Just because celebrities don’t hold as much power in advertising as they did before doesn’t mean that their influence is not completely felt. Although whether or not these influences are legitimately good is a point of contention. 

In a report by Newport Academy, an American therapy program website, it was mentioned that celebrity influencer extends to body image the most. Celebrities are under so much pressure to look good and presentable all the time and while mature people understand that this is the case, younger people tend to misconstrue this as the only gold standard. 

In research presented by the Today Show and aol.com, they found that an alarming 80% of teen girls “compare themselves to images they see of celebrities.” And because most celebrities post only the best versions of themselves on social media, which is every teen girl’s playground today, teens’ body image views tend to lead them to develop eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem.

But teen girls are not the only ones affected by these things because it turns out, body dissatisfaction brought about by the media we consume on a daily basis also affects young men, who then turn to excessive exercising, which might cause them legitimate health problems. 

Celebrities also often get in the heads of teens, even influencing what and how they eat. A study titled “Popular Music Celebrity Endorsements in Food and Nonalcoholic Beverage Marketing” found that teens are also vulnerable to advertisements made by their favorite music celebrities. 

Seventy-one percent of beverage endorsements by these celebs promoted sugar-sweetened drinks, while 81% endorsed foods that had low health nutrients. However, there is a movement among celebrities that seem to be turning the tides a little bit. Celebrities like Rihanna, Beyoncé, Melissa McCarthy, and others have been advocating for a healthier perception of body image. Rihanna, in particular, has released a lingerie collection that aims to flatter every body type, a trend that was not as explored in the world of intimate wear. 

Artist Lorde also took to Twitter to try and shift the tide of low self-esteem issues for the better after she called out a photoshopped image of herself and tweeted, “Remember, flaws are ok.”

Celebrities today may have lost a step as the original influencers, but their voices, when used correctly, still have a deep effect on the public.

Celebrities today may have lost a step as the original influencers, but their voices, when used correctly, still have a deep effect on the public / Photo by: 36clicks via 123RF