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Why Students Don’t Trust Celebrity Driven Advertising (And What To Do Instead!)

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British American Group / 06.04.18 / Industry

It’s looking like the era of celebrity endorsements may be coming to an end, with Iceland becoming the latest brand to change their market tactics and drop celebrity endorsement to focus on ‘quality driven’ advertisements.

Is this the end of celebrities endorsing weight loss tea and protein powders to their large audiences? If so, what does this say about the ever-changing advertising scene?

In the past celebrity partnerships with brands have proven to be very successful, with the likes of Gary Linekar partnering with Walkers to help further put Walkers on the map as a mega brand and help them continues to move from strength to strength.

Whilst celebrity endorsements used to guarantee an uplift in sales, nowadays students are dubious by celebrity partnerships if they see no obvious link between the celebrity and the brand. Students don’t like to feel manipulated and are often dubious as to whether the celebrity is just being paid to say great things about the brand rather than fully believing in what they are saying.

Illustration of bar graph showing overall progress

Times have changed and the definition of ‘celebrity’ has changed in the last decade. The right of internet stardom has led to more and more self-made celebrities who have the same, or larger, influence online and in advertising as big Hollywood stars. Students now view these self-made influencers as more authentic than the Hollywood actress, which explains why celebrity endorsements are declining is success as peer-to-peer marketing holds more weight within the student market.

Word of mouth advertising has always been crucial within the student market so these new social influencers are just another generation of this, hence why students trust them more as they see them as more of a friend than a influencer. Brands are often cautious when investing in micro-influencers as their audience is usually only around 500-100,00 people, however, their audience is usually far more actively engaged than a major celebrity with millions of followers meaning that consumers are much more likely to purchase from the smaller influencer than the larger.

Whilst brands are stepping away from using traditional celebrity endorsements, this doesn’t mean they aren’t using influencers at all to promote their brands. In fact, Iceland and other big household names such as Co-op and Gilette have partnered with more relatable influencers such as mom blogs and male grooming sites so that the audience they are promoting is relevant to their products – rather than a Hollywood star whose audience is very broad.

In conclusion, students still value word of mouth advertising over all other avenues which is why they are slowly turning off celebrities and switching on to micro-influencers which they relate to. Due to this, student ambassadors are becoming one of the best ways to get students interested in your brand. Contact us today to find out more!