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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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “The issue I am most passionate about is LGBTQ, because in the words of Dr. Seuss ‘A person is a person, no matter how small.’” –Female, 18, KY

Being able to mix up a good cocktail is an attractive quality to Millennials. A recent study commissioned by Southern Comfort found that 70% of single 21-34-year-olds who drink alcohol at least once a month would date a mixologist, and almost all (94%) say that they’re impressed by someone who can make a good drink. The survey on singles also found that 10% are intimated by whiskey (though we know that more of the generation is embracing it) and 44% are planning to stay home and cook for Valentine’s Day (which makes sense seeing as “home-cooked meal” is on their top 15 Valentine’s gift list this year). (Los Angeles Times)

Brands looking to get Millennials on their side need to speak to them—not like them. A survey on brand communication reveals that young consumers aren’t responsive to companies that use slang, emojis, and celebrity quotes. Two-thirds don’t find words like “bae” and “yasss” effective on social media platforms, 70% don’t like it when you say “on fleek,” and 83% think using abbreviations like LOL and FOMO are “a poor attempt by brands to relate to them.” Another word you should steer clear of is “Millennial”—42% loathe when advertisers say it. What’s important is communicating effectively without trying so hard to be “hip” (another word you shouldn’t use). (Adweek

Toyota’s Scion brand launched to build cars for the non-conformist Millennial, but the quirky line is being shut down. The unique-looking vehicle was originally a hit for younger consumers and Toyota reports that 50% of buyers were under 35-years-old. But sales peaked in 2006, and have been falling—not because those younger consumers stopped buying cars, but because they’re more interested in “performance and safety” than colorful design. For brands, the lesson may be that focusing on quality is “a better strategy than pursuing the ever-changing perception of cool.” (Forbes

As Millennials deal with the repercussions of student debt and low income, they may be turning to risky financial solutions to help them get by. The number of consumers taking out personal loans increased by 18% between 2013 and 2015, and a Bankrate survey found that 18% of 18-29-year-olds say they are very or somewhat likely to use a personal loan this year—more than any other age group. With 63% of U.S. adults lacking emergency funds, personal loans have become an easy option to get money quickly without negatively affecting their credit scores. (MarketWatchBankrate)

Time Inc. is continuing their pursuit of Millennial women with Motto, a new website targeting young female consumers with articles on “work, life, and play.” Time Digital’s managing editor reports that, “an enormous amount of [Time, Inc.’s] traffic, especially in social media, is about self-improvement and living a better life.” Motto will feature such “inspirational and motivational” daily stories and video content, which will be posted to Facebook and YouTube, written by Time magazine staffers, celebrities, and politicians. They expect more than 50% of readers to access the site through mobile and tablet. (The Wall Street Journal

Quote of the Day: “I learned to cook through ship to home meals like Blue Apron.” –Male, 24, IL

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