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Celebrity Endorsements

April 25, 2007

Celebrity endorsements may not work as well as companies thought.


Do celebrity endorsements help? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[T-mobile jingle]

T-Mobile dropped Catherine Zeta-Jones as its spokesperson last year, and said it would instead use everyday sorts of people. New research from marketing professor Brett Martin of the University of Bath in England suggests that may have been a good plan. His team found that people who buy products to impress others were more influenced by ads with so-called "typical consumers" than those with celebrities. Martin says this may be because the unknown spokesperson seems like someone you might actually meet and get a chance to impress.

BRETT MARTIN (University of Bath):
What this means is that it may be more effective to spend less money getting typical consumers than more money on expensive celebrities.

On the other hand, some of the nearly 300 volunteers had no interest in impressing anyone. They looked only at the product specs. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.