In a society striving for more open-mindedness, there (unfortunately) remains a good deal of social stigmas and misconceptions surrounding mental health and addiction.
When searching for compatible endorsers, brands are often quick to dismiss and red-flag celebrities that openly struggle with mental health or addiction. They assume these characteristics would be disconcerting and off-putting to their target consumer segments. In fact, our team has heard this sentiment directly from many brand marketers.
But this belief is ill-founded.
New data from Spotted shows that consumers are more likely to rally around and hold a higher opinion of celebrities who are more open and willing to share their stories.
To better understand how consumers respond to celebrities who openly discuss addiction and mental health issues, we ran a consumer survey on five celebrities who have been outspoken about either struggles with addiction, mental health, or both. This survey was run as part of The Spotted Quarterly Report on Q2 2018, which you can download in full here.
5 celebrities who speak openly about struggles with mental health and addiction: an overview
- Demi Lovato: 25-year-old singer, Demi Lovato, celebrated six years of abstinence from alcohol and substance abuse in March 2018, but suffered a relapse in late June. She announced the news by releasing a new song, “Sober,” that speaks very openly about her struggle with addiction.
- Kid Cudi: Kid Cudi’s music has always been largely centered on his personal struggles. In 2016, he published a Facebook post telling the world he was entering rehabilitation for depression and suicidal urges. The post was well-received, and Cudi received an outpouring of support from fans, fellow musicians, and the media. His most recent musical collaboration with Kanye West, Kids See Ghosts, touches on the topic of mental illness.
- Michael Phelps: Now the most decorated Olympian in the history of the games, Michael Phelps contemplated suicide following the 2012 Olympics. Phelps spoke candidly in interviews with CNN, explaining that he would experience particularly severe phases of depression following the conclusion of the Olympics. Now, Phelps is a mental health advocate and says that mental illness “has a stigma around it and that’s something we still deal with everyday.”
- Ariana Grande: On the July cover of Vogue UK, Grande discusses her experiences with anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder resulting from the Manchester bombing that killed 23 people leaving her show. In May, she said that she found the attack particularly horrifying because concerts are supposed to be places of happiness.
- Selena Gomez: Gomez told Vogue that “Tours are a really lonely place for me.” Gomez cancelled her 2016 summer tour with more than 30 dates still scheduled to pursue mental health support. According to Gomez: “My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage.”
Consumers rally around celebrities who are open, honest about mental health and addiction: Spotted findings & analysis
Spotted surveyed 200+ consumers over the age of 18 years old in the United States to understand how they perceived the celebrities above.
Here are Spotted’s high-level findings and analysis:
- 38% of respondents viewed the celebrities as more attractive after reading about their story
- 60% of respondents viewed the celebrities as more trustworthy after reading about their story
- 67% of respondents viewed the celebrities as more relatable after reading about their story
- 42% of respondents viewed the celebrities as more cool after reading about their story
- 64% of respondents viewed the celebrities as more likable after reading about their story
Download Now: The Spotted Quarterly Report on Q2 2018
With brand vigilance and trends in consumer sentiment top of mind, the idea of celebrity perception — and the impact it can have on a brand — is featured prominently in Spotted’s quarterly report on Q2 2018.
To gain deeper insights into the trends, issues, and opportunities shaping the celebrity endorsement industry and its performance, get your copy of The Spotted Quarterly Report on Q2 2018.