Are Celebrity Endorsements Worth It?

Jazmine Robinson's picture

It’s no secret. I’m a huge Beyoncé fan. Some may even call me obsessive-compulsive. Her influence is evident in the life-size poster that hangs in my living room, CDs in my bookshelves and assorted concert keepsakes. What’s not so obvious is her influence over other purchase decisions, made largely because of her association with them—a swimsuit from H&M, Pepsi and more.

Have you ever based a purchasing decision off of a celebrity because he or she endorsed it? Have you reserved a room from because of Kaley Cuoco and William Shatner? Purchased a Vitamin Water because Kevin Hart drinks it?

Brands have used celebrities to sell their products for years: Fabio and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Mark Wahlberg and Calvin Klein Underwear; and we can’t forget, Billy Cosby and Jello Pudding. Today, big companies still shell out millions of dollars in celebrity endorsements each year.  

But is it really worth the money and the risk?

Less Celebrity. More Focus on Consumer.
In a recent survey conducted by WP Engine (“industrial-strength Word Press hosting platform”), 96 percent of participants said they don’t want to read celebrities blogging about products. The study revealed that consumers aren’t interested in a product simply because a celebrity is associated with it. Companies should instead spend more time focusing on how their product fulfills the consumer’s needs and wants.

Brand reputation can also be threatened when celebrity front-men go off script. Just like you and me, celebrities are human. They make mistakes, which can result in a negative impact on a brand. Think back to the infidelity scandal that Tiger Woods was involved in. Before the incident, he was one of the biggest celebrity endorsers in the world. Soon after the incident, companies like Accenture quickly terminated partnerships with him.

Mommy Bloggers Beat Celebrity Moms.
As an alternative to celebrity endorsements, businesses are swapping to prominent bloggers and vloggers for promotion instead. A 2001 survey conducted by BlogHer and Ketchum revealed that 20 percent of women are persuaded by a familiar blogger versus only 13 percent being persuaded by a celebrity endorsement. Take our client, HoneyBaked Ham for example. Instead of a celebrity endorsement, HoneyBaked Ham enlisted dozens of bloggers to help spread the word during the Easter season. Bloggers had the opportunity to try HoneyBaked products and post about it on their blog. Instead of forcing a connection between their product and a celebrity, popular bloggers were able to post honestly about their experience. The result? Consumer engagement that helps elevate brands, not celebrity status.

In a survey conducted by Nielsen inPowered, 900 people were asked what kind of information they seek when they make a purchase, from home appliances to insurance. Forty-six percent said they rely on expert advice and, as Media Bistro puts it, “fame does not make one an expert on anything other than being famous.”

Tell me about the outfit you purchased or a hair product you tested because of a celebrity endorser. I can’t be the only one!


Oreo has inspired us, once again.

Kaitlynn Knopp's picture

Think about those ads that, as soon as you see them, make you think, “I wish I would’ve thought of that.”  Whether a brand has unveiled a brilliant logo design, a catchy theme line, awesome ad placement, a relatable Tweet or a feel-good video, these brands inspire us. They make us take a step back and think about how we could be more creative—how we could create those ads that everyone loves.

For me, that brand is Oreo. Every day, I find myself fascinated by something new that they’re doing, and today is no different. Today, I’m fascinated by their “Mel’s Mini Mini Mart” video—a rhyming story of how the Oreo Mini rose to fame. A story that could’ve went on untold… but what fun would that be?

Which brands inspire you?


Celebrating 30 years of creative advertising: #3 Sanders.

Laurie Hix's picture

Growing up in Michigan, I have fond memories of going to Sanders for lunch with my Grandma and sharing an egg salad sandwich and a hot fudge cream puff sundae. We’d sit at the counter while the ladies in hair nets made our food right in front of us. It was like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. But it was the 80’s.

To reignite and contemporize its image, Michigan-based Sanders hired Brogan Kabot as its ad agency for its restaurants and products. Our strategy was to focus on the warm, positive feelings Sanders evoked while adding humor to bring it in to the modern age. We created a pool of seven commercials, developed promotional and point-of-sale materials. Sanders sales exceeded projections during this time. The campaign won first place in the National Retail Awards Conference, and one of the spots below, featuring comedian, Tom Sharpe, won a prestigious Clio award. You could say that was the cherry on top of our hot fudge cream puff Sanders sundae.

 Are you fan of Sanders? We still are.

 To see the rest of the 30 Best of Brogan, visit our original post in this series: Celebrating 30 years of creative advertising.


The weekly recap - June 16, 2014.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

More than 300,000 People Enroll in the Healthy Michigan Plan.
Our client, the Michigan Department of Community Health has announced that more than 300,000 people who didn’t have health insurance on March 31 have enrolled in the new Healthy Michigan Plan.

Pinterest, a proven traffic driver, is now a customizable ad unit
Publishers looking beyond Facebook and Twitter for social media-driven audience growth are increasingly finding a compelling alternative in Pinterest.

 5 Free Content Tools to Enhance Your Social Media Marketing
Discover five free tools to help you present your content in new, engaging and interactive ways.

Only 38% of Marketers Can Separate Prospects From Existing Customers
The opportunity to collect more and more data is endless but CRM software will help businesses turn that data into actionable insight.

Digital Media Is Now Bigger Than National TV Advertising, Will Surpass Total TV by 2018
Though U.S. television advertising revenue have increased 8.3% in 2014, digital media advertising is surpassing national TV in size.


More than 300,000 People Enroll in the Healthy Michigan Plan.

Katie Rehrauer's picture

I love my job. When I decided to go into advertising over a decade ago, I was a college freshman who thought it would be fun to hang out at a hip office, sip coffee and come up with catchy taglines. While that aspect of my job certainly is enjoyable, it’s days like today that make me want to scream from the rooftops, “I LOVE MY JOB.”


Our client, the Michigan Department of Community Health has announced  that more than 300,000 people who didn’t have health insurance on March 31 have enrolled in the new Healthy Michigan Plan. The plan, launched on April 1, provides low-cost health care benefits to people in Michigan. In the first year, our client set a goal to provide health care to 320,000 Michigan residents. In just 11 weeks, MDCH is at 90 percent of their goal.

Coming up with a catchy tagline is fun. Being part of a campaign that has helped hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents get health care coverage is career-affirming. 


Mashable’s Madvertising: Smart Advertising in the Modern Era.

Ashley Harrell's picture

There are many different spins on the word advertising, from m-advertising to swagvertising, but my personal favorite is the Mashable-introduced, Adobe-sponsored Madvertising. Inspired by the hit TV series Mad Men, it means “smart marketing in the modern era” and follows iconic brands over time. 

Much has changed since the three-martini lunch marketing era… Mad Men has fearfully exposed the truths of the advertising industry and for this reason, its inspiration has leaked into the doors of modern ad agencies everywhere.  This is where the Madvertising topic comes into play. In the Madvertising series, Mashable talks to marketing executives from brands that were featured in Mad Men and discusses how their brand strategies and creative messaging have evolved since the “Draper Era”.

Source (

Madvertising quickly turned into my favorite Mashable topic because of the historic brand transformations and risks it reveals. The iconic brands featured include Jaguar, Rolex, Heineken, Gap, 3M, Hilton Hotels and more.  Each article discusses the innovative shifts brands have made to stay relevant to the shifting habits of consumers. Let’s be honest, advertising to Millennials and DIYers is almost incomparable to how Draper and his team reached Baby Boomers. These companies have seen it all, and their advertising campaigns have evolved through the growth of marketing and advertising.

So, why is Madvertising relevant for you? This series brings together the top brands and reveals how they are remaining relevant from 1960s to now. If you’re looking to keep up with the digital era trends, this topic is a must-follow. Here are the top five trends I picked out of the series, so far.

  1. Modern era marketing is smart, targeted, and data driven.
  2. Be true to your brand but don’t be afraid to change how or where you express it.
  3. Data is important but your message is more important.
  4. Advertise with your market, not to them.
  5. Get risky; you never know if your platform will become the next big thing.

What people are saying about #Madvertising (Source: Twitter)

Here at Brogan & Partners, we are committed to staying ahead of the curve of the modern trends. Our 30-year history has allowed us to take the chances and help our own clients see the rewards that the companies in the Madvertising series discuss. Stay tuned for our own historic portfolio and you’ll see what makes us “mad” over advertising.

**Check out this article  to see what New York Times said about Mad Men’s influence on the discussion of women in advertising.




Electronic cigarette ads glamorize smoking, BTTW panel says.

Lori Bahnmueller's picture

Electronic cigarettes are making smoking cool again, and may entice kids to try tobacco cigarettes.

This is according to a May survey of Brogan Talks to Women, an informal community of female consumers we tap regularly for opinions and insights about marketing and advertising. After posting a blog about electronic or e-cigarette advertising, we wanted to know our panel’s thoughts.

Of the 119 participants, 73 percent said electronic cigarettes may influence minors to smoke tobacco cigarettes and 63 percent said that e-cigarette ads glamorize smoking. What’s more, 56 percent agreed with critics who are concerned some ads specifically target minors.

Electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine to the user as a vapor. They are usually battery-operated and come with a replaceable cartridge that contains liquid nicotine. When heated, the liquid in the cartridge turns into a vapor that's inhaled or “vaped.” They come in assorted flavors, from sophisticated to candy store.

Magazine ads sparked the most recall among respondents (56 percent), followed by digital (39 percent), TV (30 percent) and radio (22 percent). When asked whether the FDA should ban electronic cigarette ads from TV and radio—similar to tobacco ad restrictions—87 percent said “yes.”

The FDA recently initiated formal action toward regulating electronic cigarettes, with a public comment period inviting all interested parties to weigh in. Still, any new regulations or restrictions could take years to implement. Meanwhile, expect manufacturers to become increasingly emboldened as they jockey for market share. And the product will become increasingly socialized.

Electronic cigarette ads targeting youth increases 256 percent in two years

A new study by the Research Triangle Institute International, published in Pediatrics, found that youth exposure to electronic cigarette ads increased by 256 percent from 2011 to 2013, and young adult exposure to e-cigarette ads jumped 321 percent during the same period. It’s the first study to extensively analyze trends in youth and young adult exposure to e-cigarette TV ads.

"E-cigarette companies advertise to a broad TV audience that includes 24 million youth," said Jennifer Duke, Ph.D., senior research public health analyst and co-author of the study.  "Given the potential harm of e-cigarettes to youth and their potential as a gateway to using cigarettes and other tobacco products, the FDA needs to regulate the positive images of e-cigarettes on television and other venues where youth view advertising and marketing like they do for traditional cigarettes."

E-cigarettes smell like a future social marketing campaign

Last month I saw a 20-something vaping at Detroit Metro Airport, clouds swirling around him conspicuously. He looked incredibly proud of himself. But that may have had something to do with the inconspicuous electronic cigarette-branded tote bag leaning against his legs. Street team vapers. Clever blu eCigs.

After he’d packed his blu eCigs tote bag and boarded the plane, Young Vaper left the air smelling faintly of cotton candy. Though it didn’t smell state fair sweet. It smelled distinctly of a future social marketing campaign. 

Are you female and interested in joining Brogan Talks to Women? Click here to learn more.


The weekly recap - June 9, 2014.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Dove celebrates Dads with an emotional Father's Day ad.
With #RealDadMoments, Dove exposes Dads in the simple moments of fatherhood, just in time for Father’s Day.

In Case You Missed It: President Obama's Very First Tumblr Q&A
President Obama targets students through Tumblr to discuss student debt in #ObamaIRL feed.

Celebrating 30 years of creative advertising: #2: Mountain Valley Spring Water

The second post in Brogan & Partners Celebrating 30 years of creative advertising features an early client, Mountain Valley Spring Water. 

Twitter Launches Video-Sharing Feature With Visa, Adidas
By using a simple hashtag, brands can now lead Twitter users to include their ad in a Tweet.

Facebook to Use Web Browsing History For Ad Targeting
Facebook will soon be able to use the web surfing behavior of its 1.28 billion monthly users for ad targeting.


Dove celebrates Dads with an emotional Father's Day ad.

Maila Kue's picture

Father's day is right around the corner. And while research shows that dads generally get less gifts and goodies than moms do for Mother's Day, Dove’s latest ad could change the trend this weekend. Get some tissues ready if you haven't seen this tear-jerking ad. It'll leave you overwhelmed with emotions and wanting to celebrate your family's superhero.

This one minute spot features the simple moments of fatherhood using variations of a single expression, which we may all be familiar with – “Dad.” Dove presents it as more than just a name. It’s our call for help when our car breaks down, our sense of protection when we have a bad dream, our exclamation of joy when we overcome a milestone in life.

Dove has proven to be an expert at marketing to women. So what does an ad about Father’s Day have anything to do with that? More than you’d think, actually. Although the film does speak to men by highlighting the loving, caring dad moments that are often absent in media today, its main audience is essentially still women. It emotionally engages with women and inspires them to celebrate their dads and husbands. Dove markets their Men+Care products to their main consumers, females, by filling them with gratitude for the men in their lives. So the ad is for the women and the product is for the men. Because after all, who do you think shops for their men’s body wash? Now that’s creative marketing.

As a writer, I value the power of words and how it can be used to spur strong emotions. Dove’s ad is able to stir up a whirlwind of emotions with just a single word. Dad.

What are your thoughts on Dove’s latest ad? Regardless, don’t forget to give your dad a call this weekend.


Celebrating 30 years of creative advertising: #2: Mountain Valley Spring Water.

Laura Pryor's picture

One of Brogan’s early clients (back in the ‘80s when we were still Brogan Kabot) was Mountain Valley Spring Water.  Bottled water wasn’t such an easy sell in the ‘80s; the prevailing thought was, why pay for water when you can turn on the tap?  Mountain Valley’s differentiator was the spring:  their water came from a natural spring in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and they’d been bottling and selling it since 1871 (they still do).  With 153 distributors, Mountain Valley was doing well.  But we helped them really pour it on . . . so to speak.

Brogan created image and retail print, sales materials and some broadcast advertising.  As with many of Brogan’s early clients, the budget was small. In print ads, the visual was almost invariably a black-and-white photo of the product.  And since water is not much to look at, we had to rely on headlines.  Touting the ancient spring, one ad proclaimed, “The freshest water you can buy is 3500 years old.”  To combat consumers’ reluctance to pay for something they could get for free, Brogan conceived the themeline, “The only water worth paying for.”  

Sales went up.  In fact, they went up enough to make the company interesting to a large conglomerate, which bought all of Mountain Valley’s liquid assets.  Unfortunately, the conglomerate had its own stable of large ad agencies, and left Brogan high and dry.   But that’s all water under the bridge.  

Do you remember when buying water was only for health nuts?  What other everyday products can you think of that once seemed like luxuries?

To see the rest of the 30 Best of Brogan, visit our original post in this series: Celebrating 30 years of creative advertising.

Mountain Valley Water print ad

Mountain Valley Water print ad


The weekly recap - June 2, 2014.

Ellyn Davidson's picture

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Guided Search: A Pinteresting way to aid your searches and your emotions.
Learn how to enhance your Pinteresting with the new Guided Search function.

Dove, Adidas, JetBlue, Others Top Loyalty Program Rankings
37% of Millennials said they would not be loyal to a brand without a program.

A Decade of Homepages: An Inside Look at Our Website Redesign Strategy
Hubspot’s website redesign strategy is “carefully planned, benchmarked, and analyzed.” Take a look into their strategy focused on solving specific problems and promoting new ideas.  

LinkedIn's New Profile Design Takes a Hint From Facebook and Twitter
LinkedIn updated Profile design for Premium users, coming to all other members soon.

4 Ways Marketers Will Benefit From the New iPhone
Strong retail potential comes along with iPhone improvemets.

Millennials Check Their Phones 43 Times a Day. This Is What They're Looking For.
Millennials are plugged in without patience, a Marketers dream and nightmare. What do they want to see? Specific, targeted, short and sharable content.


Celebrating 30 years of creative advertising: #1 Keep the best players on the bench.

Laurie Hix's picture

Marcie Brogan has always had a passion for politics. It was evident even way back in the beginning of the agency with the iconic campaign for the Oakland Circuit Court Judges Re-election. Five judges already sitting on the bench were up for re-election and the committee to Re-elect Judges Templin, Andrews, Schnelz, LaPlata and Mester had Brogan come up with a cost effective and high impact multi-media campaign. The clever campaign, with the memorable line “Keep the Best Players on the Bench” featured the judges like baseball players. It was a home run, resulting in the re-election of all five judges by their widest margins ever. And the extra media attention we scored was a big hit as well. This campaign won many creative awards, including an Emmy.

This little campaign did big things for the creative start-up Brogan Kabot. It showed how two creative women could play in the big leagues, making big creative plays just like the big ad agencies they came from.  Do you remember this campaign?

To see the rest of the 30 Best of Brogan, visit our original post in this series: Celebrating 30 years of creative advertising.

Judges of the Oakland County Circuit Court

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