Brands continue to ramp up celebrity product seeding efforts, but the practice remains something of an ambiguous black box for a number of key reasons:
- Inadequate means of dispersing the product on a mass scale
- Difficult and nearly impossible to trace measurable consumer impact (i.e. consumer impressions, clicks, and sales)
- Ultimately, no way to measure attribution and close the loop with consumers
If so many areas at brands are now held to such high standards of data intelligence and measurement, why shouldn’t product seeding?
It’s time to catch up.
The Rundown: Celebrity Product Seeding
Let’s quickly paint a picture of how celebrity product seeding works using a mock example featuring Nike:
- Nike’s PR team distributes free Nike lifestyle sneakers with a seeding agency in Los Angeles.
- Celebrity stylists pick the sneakers up at the seeding agency’s showroom and give them to their celebrity clients.
- Celebrities wear the sneakers in public and might be photographed by the paparazzi.
- Nike’s PR team takes the paparazzi photos and shops them around to editorials like Running Magazine and Elle in hopes that they will write a “trend story” on celebrities seen wearing those particular Nike lifestyle sneakers.
- Consumers who Nike wants to reach may or may not read the editorial that covered trend story. At the end of it all, it’s not guaranteed to reach the right audience.
Why Capitalize on Celebrity Product Seeding?
Brands across industries seed product with celebrities in hopes that the celebrity will be photographed by the paparazzi wearing or using their brand or (even better) that they will post on social media about the brand.
Celebrity product seeding is nothing new, and brands continue to actively pursue it as an effective yet subtle marketing technique. Why? Because celebrities who do choose to wear a brand or a brand’s product make an impact on consumer purchasing decisions.
Here are just a few examples:
- Apparel brands (everything from value brands up to premium brands) seed product with celebrities through seeding agencies.
- Automotive manufacturers seed free car leases with celebrities. Audi has been known to do this.
- Hotels and hospitality brands seed free stays at key locales and properties with celebrities.
The Issue: It’s Falling Behind in a Digital, Data-Driven World
Celebrity product seeding is one of the oldest forms of celebrity product placement, and with good reason:
- Brand products and/or services are distributed widely.
- They can be aimed at celebrities who are most compelling to brands’ target audiences.
- They can be delivered directly to the celebrity for authentic use without any imposing filters.
In today’s data-driven marketplace, though, product seeding has become something of a gamble, simply lacking in crucial areas of data measurement, brand message distribution, and demographic understanding.
Where Does Celebrity Product Seeding Go from Here?
If brands fail to bridge the gap between this well-oiled celebrity endorsement tactic and the data-driven world we are faced with today, they will fall behind in:
- Getting their message and products in front of the right people
- Understanding who those people are, where they spend their time, what they purchase, and what they are interested in
- Tying celebrity advertising to consumer impact and product sales
It’s time to stop guessing and start closing the loop with consumer predictions and data-proven results.
Brands could start by analyzing celebrity attributes and audiences to identify the celebrity who would be the best fit for their brand. They could then seed products specifically with those celebrities. Brands also need an easy, well-defined way to track the moments when celebrities are shown wearing their brand in the media and (even better) a way to distribute these moments outside of possible press coverage.
Whatever brands decide to do, it’s become clear that efforts like celebrity product seeding are in need of a data-fueled facelift.
Are You Ready to Close the Loop?
Celebrity-based decisions like product seeding shouldn’t be based on hunch or general public buzz. That’s why we founded Spotted.
Spotted is the definitive data resource on brands and celebrities — giving leading consumer brands the confidence and competence to make informed celebrity-based decisions. Contact us to learn about our new data product, SpottedIQ, a customized brand portal that provides access to the data and content behind the celebrities who wear or use your brand.