Movie Stars Matter Most, but Social Media Stars Gain Traction Among Marketers

Jamie McCarthy, Mike Coppola/Getty Images; Karwai Tang/WireImage

Name recognition will only get you so far. Says one executive involved in the report by Celebrity Intelligence: "The brands are looking not just at a celebrity but a celebrity who has an active social community and an engaged audience."

Movie stars still matter.

That's one of the key takeaways from The Future of Celebrity Marketing, a new research report published today from Celebrity Intelligence, a top digital provider of celebrity contacts, news, events and insights, in association with Econsultancy. But just for how long is anyone's guess as social media stars continue to gain traction and see their fame — and endorsement opportunities — spike with the rise of influencer-busting platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.

For their first-ever Future of Celebrity Marketing report, the companies compiled data using responses, completed in May, from 355 marketing specialists in the U.S. and the U.K., including in-house brand marketers, agencies, consultants and media owners. Of those, 74 percent of agency respondents and 69 percent of company respondents are currently working with a celebrity on an engagement strategy.

Though no specific names are mentioned, film actors remain in high demand for brands, with 35 percent of company respondents and 31 percent of agency respondents reporting a reliance on movie stars for partnership deals, second only to singers and musicians at 40 percent and 37 percent, respectively. But film actors gain additional traction in the relevance category, coming in No. 1 with 50 percent of company respondents and 39 percent of agency respondents, deeming them most relevant to a forthcoming strategy. (On the agency side, social media stars are deemed more relevant with 46 percent of the votes.)

With the rise of social media and the popularity of such names as movie star Kevin Hart, reality TV star Kim Kardashian and rising social star Cameron Dallas, brands are looking to engage more with notable names on campaign-specific contracts rather than a traditional endorsement contract. Of those polled, 40 percent of agencies and 22 percent of companies are using these one-off deals focused on social media. But the money is still significant: 54 percent of agency respondents spend between $15,000 and $150,000, while 45 percent of companies spend upwards of $15,000 on campaign-specific contracts. And 50 percent of agencies say budgets for these types of deals will increase over the next 12 months.

"It doesn't have to be social media stars anymore on social media platforms," said Priyanka Mehra-Dayal, content marketing manager for Centaur Media, parent company of Celebrity Intelligence. "Traditional brands are using traditional celebrities in not-so-traditional ways. We are seeing real results from these types of deals."

Social media promotion is not only a top priority, but an effective one. A solid 100 percent of agency respondents report it’s a strategy that is “highly effective” or “quite effective” for them, while 98 percent of companies agree.

As for how Hollywood stars can grab hold of endorsement opportunities in the social space, Mehra-Dayal said that "they have to engage with their audience in order to be relevant with these brands and marketers." Added her colleague, commercial director Megan Falconer-Taylor: "The brands are looking not just at a celebrity but a celebrity who has an active social community and an engaged audience. That really, really matters."

The full report is being released Tuesday in London, with an additional rollout planned for later this month in New York.

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