YAB Member Reports: Selling Millennials on Celebrity Endorsement

Millennials have grown up as paparazzi culture has reached a fevered pitch. They are well used to tabloids and blogs touting celebrities as being "just like us!" while simultaneously looking for scandals and failings to broadcast to fans. For this generation, there is no mystery to their "idols," and as a result actually idolizing celebrities is a dying sentiment. Their unique experience with celebrity culture brings into question the effectiveness of traditional celebrity endorsement. How believable is a seal of approval from a celebrity when Millennials know more about their personalities and preferences than ever before? Add to this the fact that Millennials might just be the most media savvy generation to date, with full awareness of the machinery at work behind brands and their efforts to lure in consumers. They are a more critical audience, and to reach them, finding the right pairing of brand and celebrity is imperative. Today Youth Advisory Board member Maddie Flager is giving her first-hand Millennial perspective on when celebrity endorsement works and when it falls flat.

 

Selling Millennials on Celebrity Endorsement

There is a fine line between a well-placed celebrity endorsement and one that simply fails to connect. Here are two of the biggest factors Millennials use to judge celebrity-endorsement marketing.

1) Do the Celeb and Brand Personalities Match?

Perhaps the biggest factor in producing a successful celebrity ad campaign is choosing the right person: how well do the icon and the product fit together? Personally, I often find that the less an ad is outright about buying the product and instead features an idea, feeling or attitude that the product evokes the more I will pay attention to it.

Feels Right: Pepsi has matched celebrity with brand perfectly…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

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