Monday, October 12, 2009

Celebrities and persuasion

by Carli Mercer

How often do we see celebrities in commercials for one thing or
another? When you stop to think about it, almost every commercial has
a celebrity or every commercial creates a celebrity. The word
'celebrity' is defined by as "a famous or well-known
person." Companies who hire people who are already in the eye of the
media and the Americans who follow politics, entertainment, etc. are
going in with an advantage over their competitor when advertising
begins. In an article called "Celebrity Selling" from the Plos
Medicine website, they consider "a partnership between a celebrity and
a brand has an intangible sort of magic."

It's unexplainable how well the celebrity can sell a product or
service for a company. While most corporations only hire celebrities
who are looked positively upon by the rest of their country, any
celebrity will have an effect on sales. Take Michael Jordan and
Charlie Sheen who are both in the Hanes commercials. Both of these men
are people who a very large number of the country will recognize, and
Hanes has done a very smart thing with two celebrities from different
areas of entertainment including an athlete and a comedic actor. Every
adult who's watching television is bound to recognize at least one of
them. Not only can celebrities be hired to sell products but they can
also sell services for companies.

Consider Catherine Zeta Jones; she has worked with T-Mobile for
several years helping sell their plans and giving cell phone service a
sensual experience as well. We've all seen the commercials where no
one answers their door for the old, bald men dressed in suits but as
soon as Jones knocks on the door, teenage boys everywhere are letting
her in and setting the mood while their parents are away. Why is this?
Why does it matter to us whether or not celebrities are in a
commercial or advertising a product? Do we really believe they use
everything they are paid to sell and we can be like them if we use it
as well? If they are using the product, it's because it's a part of
their contract to be seen a specific number of times a week using it
or it came free in their dressing room. Do we really think Paris
Hilton wears heals and a swim suit while dancing, washing a car, AND
eating a six dollar burger from Hardee's? Why do we fall for these
marketing tricks and when is the line drawn for extreme celebrity
selling power?

Another big industry that is benefiting from celebrity selling power
is the diet industry. Every commercial for a diet plan has your "every
day, average" people and a celebrity who has conquered their weight
gain or obesity. Also found on the Plos Medicine website was the fact
that "in Spanish, the word advertising is 'propaganda.'" Within the
same paragraph, it also states that corporations "hefty investments in
celebrity selling are well worth it."

As you can see, celebrities have a huge impact on advertising and
sales, not only in America but all around the world. Their influence
on consumers to purchase a product or service from a company is well
worth the money spent on them to shoot the commercial. My advice to
everyone is to look past the advertisement and see what is actually
being advertised and not who.

Celebrity (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2009, from
Gatevackes, W. (n.d.). Judging the Selling Power of Celebrities.
Retrieved July 28, 2009, from
Sexy Paris Hilton Eating Hamburger (2006, October 13). Retrieved
September 20, 2009, from
The Intangible Magic of Celebrity Marketing (2004, November 30).
Retrieved September 20, 2009, from

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