The first celebrity endorsements supposedly dates back to the 1760s when Josiah Wedgwood, the founder of the Britain-based Wedgwood brand of pottery and chinaware, used endorsements from the Crown to build awareness of his brand. Later that trend was to become popular, with film stars in the 1940s posing for cigarette companies; Bob Hope pitched American Express in the late 1950s, sports icons like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods carried on – and expounded upon – the practice, often making a lot more money from their endorsement and licensing actual sports earnings.
But can celebrity endorsements really influence sales? The impact may not be as great as some marketers would prefer. One interesting statistic is that 51% of people feel celebrities have no influence on their purchasing decisions. It’s also eye-opening that while humour resonates with 47% of consumers, celebrity endorsements only resonate with 12% of consumers. What seems to be truly influential is the opinion of friends and family who influence purchasing decisions for up to 92% of people.
Of course, celebrity endorsement can be good or bad depending on the image of the celebrity. Just think of how successful Britney Spears was for Pepsi, while the disastrous deal the Kardashian sisters had with MasterCard ended in a $75 million dollar lawsuit being filed.
For these and more statistics and examples, check out this infographic from Signarama: