Last week, Adweek published an article written by senior editor Robert Klara that offered a well-rounded perspective on the future of celebrity endorsement. Excitingly enough, the piece (titled “Are the Most Valuable Celebrity Brand Endorsements the Ones Brands Don’t Actually Pay for?”) largely revolved around Spotted and our new approach to the celebrity arena.
With consumer skepticism at an all-time high, people are increasingly tuning out endorsements that are obviously paid for. At the same time, brands, understanding the well-established link between celebrities and brand performance, continue to ramp up celebrity activities. The issue is that these celebrity activities are all scripted, staged and contrived. And now, most consumers aren’t buying it.
All the while, the most compelling, authentic celebrity content has been right at brands’ fingertips: the moments that show celebrities using and wearing brands, not because they’re paid to, but simply because they like to.
That’s where Spotted comes in.
Spotted specializes in analyzing and optimizing these moments, providing deeper insights into the authentic relationships between brands and celebrities. This allows us to help brands measure their cultural relevance and then increase trust with consumers.
Adweek supported last week’s story with Spotted’s data in order to show that this more authentic approach to celebrity endorsement (predicated on celebrities’ “natural affinity”) has been proven to drive sales and can create true brand impact.
Here are 5 highlights from the Adweek article:
1. “[W]hile brands have long paid celebrities to endorse their wares, they’re totally in the dark when it comes to ‘natural affinity.’”
Brands know the impact celebrities can have on brand performance. The issue is that they remain largely unaware of how natural affinity can affect their business: the moments when celebrities happen to buy, wear or use their brand, not because they’re paid to, but because they just like to.
2. “In her [Spotted CEO Janet Comenos’s] view, brands that pay celebrities to endorse their stuff have the marketing equation backwards.”
In the article, Spotted CEO Janet Comenos says, “Brands are drastically increasing their investment in celebrity activations, but 100 percent of these activations are all scripted and staged.”
Meanwhile, consumers (especially younger ones) are just not paying attention to endorsements that are obviously paid for. At the same time, brands continue to dedicate “their efforts to these contrived forms of advertising.”
3. “Spotted can filter out paid endorsements and zero in on the brands that celebrities opt to use on their own.”
There are plenty of tools out there that “purport to help brands discover their best celebrity fits.” Spotted looks past the paid endorsements and focuses on the brands celebrities just love using and wearing. It gives brands an idea of where they truly stand “in the esteem of the rich and famous.”
4. “It was, in fact, brands’ own awareness of the importance of Hollywood stars that gave Comenos the idea for the company in the first place.”
In the article, Comenos details the inspiration behind Spotted: “Brands were telling me within minutes of a public mention that a celebrity wears something, it sells out. Brands will say that item and half a dozen similar items will sell out within five minutes. But brands have no way of capturing all of these instances and integrating this content into their larger marketing mix.”
That is, until Spotted came along.
5. “Spotted’s roster of spottings is an undeniably fresh take on the symbiotic relationship between famous faces and the brands they like to use.”
Towards the end of the article, Allen Adamson (founder of consulting firm BrandSimple and the author of the upcoming Shift Ahead: How the Best Companies Stay Relevant in a Fast-Changing World), offered his take: “I think [natural affinity is] the next evolution of celebrity endorsements,” he explained, “because [consumers’] skepticism level is so high.”
Think about it this way: if you were to ask the everyday consumer if they’d rather see a paid endorsement or learn about the brands celebrities wear and use when they’re “off duty,” they would obviously choose the latter.
This is all to say that the celebrity endorsement space is in need of change, and Spotted will be here to help those brands who want to evolve to accommodate the needs of consumers.
As Robert Klara writes, “Comenos’ work doesn’t just substantiate that celebrity brand choices can have immediate and lasting benefits for a brand’s fortune. It can also demonstrate how pinning your brand to a celebrity has its risks.”
A special thank you to Robert for the well-rounded perspective and for covering our approach in such a positive light.
Be sure to check out “Are the Most Valuable Celebrity Brand Endorsements the Ones Brands Don’t Actually Pay for?” on Adweek to read the full story!
Photo courtesy of Adweek; Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Getty Images