Recently, I was having dinner with an acquaintance who commented that one of the reasons that the United States never became a member of the British Commonwealth was due to the founding fathers distrust of the British royal family. Over the years, that sentiment seems to have changed as most Americans now have a keen interest in Queen Elizabeth and her offspring. However, the interest probably stems more from their celebrity than the fact that they are royalty. It has often been said that the U.S. has its own royals, namely American motion picture stars. So if U.S. movie actors are now considered a form of American royalty, what influence do their core beliefs and choices have on the population as a whole? The Nielsen Company recently released an analysis using their fourth quarter 2010 @Plan and NetView data to determine whether a celebrity endorser is a valuable asset to a brand. Following are some highlights from that report.
Not surprisingly, Nielsen found that celebrities may in fact be valuable to advertisers. That is likely the reason why most marketers continue to use music and motion picture stars in their television commercials. However, what was more interesting is that approximately 64% of U.S. celebrity-follower Internet users 18 years of age or older are also attuned to following a brand. Celebrities are likely to bring four times the firepower to a brand’s image and message than unknown commentators.
Celebrity-followers are also more likely to be advice-givers. They are 57% more likely than average to offer their opinions with respect to the best video games, 56% more inclined to recommend music to friends and family and 47% more likely to speak out about website content and electronic goods. They also have a 44% greater tendency to opine on the best versus the worst movies currently running in theaters.
Apart from being advice givers, celebrity-followers also are more likely to be purchasers of products and services online than the average U.S. adult. They have an 82% greater tendency to buy digital music online and are 33% more inclined buy books from online booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Auction site and fashion items are also purchased more frequently online by this group with indices of 130 and 126, respectively.
It stands to reason that if celebrity-followers are more likely to offer advice and shop online, they are also likely to spend more time online involved in various activities. Among the top activities this group engages in are: posting comments on social network sites (86% more likely than average), viewing consumer generated video (+83%), generally visiting a social network site (+67%) and playing video games (+45%). So, given what Nielsen has found in its rather comprehensive analysis mentioned above, it appears that celebrities and celebrity-followers may actually be ranked among the leading purchase-influencers in today’s marketplace. The fact that many leading actors can amass a vast following on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook practically overnight is a testament to this. Consumer brands that continue to use popular public figures as advocates in their advertising and promotions are likely to benefit in a positive fashion so long as today’s “American royals” do not destroy or significantly harm their public image through acts of craziness and immaturity. And we all know who those are!
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