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

“My work schedule can be hectic, so I snack on nuts, berries, or other non-deadly foods during any downtime.”

—Male, 32, KY

AwesomenessTV and fashion/beauty brands are coming together to make branded series for Gen Z. In the past, AwesomenessTV has worked with numerous brands to produce original content, including CoverGirl and Kohl’s. Now they’re planning a 24-part docu-series with Hollister called “This is Summer,” following teens’ high school journeys—while they’re clad in shoppable Hollister clothing of course. Our own Chief Content Officer explains that Ypulse has “found Gen Z to be fairly open to watching sponsored entertainment,” with 77% of 13-17-year-olds agreeing, "As long as the story is interesting, I don't mind that it is sponsored." (Glossy)

Fullscreen agrees that Gen Z is the generation that’s most receptive to branded content. Their survey found over half of Gen Z doesn’t mind even undisclosed branded content, and significantly more Gen Z teens than Millennials have engaged with social branded content (viewing photos, liking and sharing content and tagging friends) in the past six months. Influencer marketing wins out with the group, with over half of teens preferring influencer content to pre-roll, sponsored posts, banners, and traditional TV commercials. The sweet spot for advertisers may be branded video, especially when influencers are involved. (TubefilterAdweek)

Graduation spending is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion for the Class of 2017. Over half of the graduation gifts given will be cash, followed by greeting cards, gift cards, apparel, and electronic devices. Another trend for the year is more and more peers giving each other gifts, with a 6% lift year over year. Younger consumers will spend an average of $78.42 ,compared to 45-54-year-olds’ $119.84 and 65-and-over’s $112.34, and while greeting cards are also most popular, they’re also almost twice as likely to gift clothing. (ConsumerAffairs)

Instagram has the “most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing,” followed by Snapchat, according to a recent study. The image-centric platforms could “driv[e] feelings of inadequacy and anxiety,” and were rated the most poorly for their impacts on sleep, FOMO, and body image. Out of the top five most popular social media platforms, YouTube was the only one that earned a positive score. The silver lining? Some argue the evaluation is “blaming the medium for the message,” and social media/online communities are also Gen Z and Millennials’ top resource for learning about “mindfulness, meditation, and wellness,” according to Ypulse data. (The Guardian)

Lego is being called the “most powerful brand in the world,” beating out Google, Visa, and Nike. Brand Finance’s latest valuation report shows Lego’s brand value increased 68% over last year, looking at metrics like “familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.” At least some of the lift can be attributed to the successful movie franchise (The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) and its strategic partnership with Star Wars.

(Business Insider)

“I kind of don't like the commercialization of fandom culture…However, creating licensed products is one way a brand could interact.”

—Male, 24, MO

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