Study: Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong TV Spots Were Worst Celebrity Ads of 2010

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Product confusion and dislike of a star often mean that expensive endorsement deals don’t pay off.

NEW YORK - A new study on celebrity endorsements shows that big names often don’t pay big dividends in advertising.

It ranked a Tiger Woods commercial for Nike, followed by a Lance Armstrong Radio Shack ad as the worst celebrity spots of 2010 based on effectiveness. A Macy’s commercial featuring Donald Trump came in at number five of the least effective celebrity endorsements.

In an analysis of nationally televised ads over the first 11 months of 2010, the study by Ace Metrix found that commercials with celebrities performed at or below average in key metrics, Ad Age reported.

The five worst celebrity ads all had a negative "lift," a metric that measures how much better or worse an ad did compared with its industry competition, of 24 percent to 30 percent.

Overall, the study found that one-fifth of celebrity spots had a negative impact on ad effectiveness. And fewer than 12 percent of celebrity ads exceeded a 10 percent lift.

"From Tiger Woods to Donald Trump, we found that with rare exception, celebrity endorsements were largely ineffective and failed to yield the benefits popular wisdom promises," Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll wrote.

In the digital age, consumers are simply too pressed for time, not easily vowed and as likely to be influenced by their social networks as by celebrities or more so, he explained said.

Confusion about what product a celebrity was promoting and dislike of a celebrity were key drivers cited by consumers that also seem to have played a key role in the Woods commercials. "Mired in controversy, Tiger's sponsors chose to address his "mistakes" in their ads rather than the products that he was supposed to be hawking," Daboll said. 

Woods has lost a slew of key sponsors since news of extramarital affairs first emerged.

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