by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Survey reveals almost 1 in 3 Brits have bought a product just because a “celebrity” endorsed it.

Cheryl Cole and L'Oreal, David Beckham and Pepsi, Gary Lineker and Walkers – UK television screens and billboards are full of much-loved celebrities touting the latest products and the biggest brands.

But how effective is celebrity endorsement? Does a famous face really help products to fly off the shelves? A recent survey has revealed that close to 30% of Brits have bought a product because it was endorsed by a celebrity.

Are consumers really so easy to swayed by an A-lister? According to Mirre Stallen of Erasmus University, the answer is yes. A team of scientists recently discovered that women's brains respond differently to images of unknown people versus images of celebrities wearing the same pair of shoes. When a celebrity was shown in the footwear, feelings of affection were recorded in the viewer's brain activity – creating a memorable link which could more easily be recalled at a later date.

The survey, which polled a total 854 UK respondents with the question “have you ever bought a product because a celebrity endorsed it?”, tallies with this research - women make up the majority of participants who answered “yes”.

• 30% of respondents had bought an item because of celebrity endorsement
• 66% of celebrity endorsed product buyers were women
• 34% of celebrity endorsed product buyers were men
• 41.2% of those who answered “yes” were aged 18-24

While women are clearly most influenced by celebrity endorsement, statistics indicate that younger age groups are far more likely to be swayed by celebrity affiliation with a product or brand. This pattern, too, is widely recognized.

Advertising using “celebrities”, while rather expensive, seems to have a large ROI ratio, and it would appear that “they” can sell us almost anything. Does not work with me, I have to say, but it seems to work with many people and especially with children who it is more often than not aimed at.

Already two of the three “personalities” listed at the beginning were endorsing products aimed very often at children and young people, that is to say soda in the case of Pepsi and potato crisps (or potato chips, as our American cousins call them) in the case of Walkers.

Companies and their advertising agencies use all means to bring the product to the man, woman or even child, and the use of celebrities is but one way. Selling cars often employs the use of semi-nude females draped over the bonnet (hood, for our American cousins) of said car and there are many other means by which they try to make us buy this or that product, often by insinuating that if we but have that product we will be happy and fulfilled. The truth is that we will not because the next day there will be something else they are trying to sell us with the very same ruse. Things do not make us happy and thus it does not matter how many times we fall for the advertising gimmick; the result will always be the same. So, let's get off that roundabout and get down to real things.

© 2014