What is Celebrity Advertising?

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  • Written By: G. Melanson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
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  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Celebrity advertising is the use of a public figure’s likeness for the purpose of selling a product or service. Celebrity advertising can be accomplished through celebrity endorsements, whereby the celebrity consents for his or her likeness to be used in advertisements for a certain brand. Celebrity advertising without the celebrity’s consent results in products that are referred to as “bootleg” merchandise or “knock-offs,” which feature the celebrity’s photo or likeness on a product.

Celebrity endorsements imply that the celebrity uses the product or service that he or she is endorsing, and prefers it above others of its kind. For this reason, brands will often target celebrities who appear to reflect whichever effects the advertisement is promising. For example, celebrities who are already fit are often approached to represent fitness and weight loss products, and stars that are known for their hair are approached to endorse certain brands of shampoo. In some cases, the celebrity might not even use the product or service at all. Celebrities who knowingly mislead the public in exchange for profit in this regard are often criticized for “selling out.” Because of this, many North American celebrities have opted to endorse products for advertisements that are only shown overseas, particularly in Japan.


One of the most iconic examples of celebrity advertising is the George Foreman Grill. At one time best-known for his championship boxing, George Foreman is perhaps better-known today for endorsing his eponymous grill, which claims to reduce fat in cooking. Like many products endorsed by celebrities, the George Foreman Grill was brought to the public’s attention through a series of repetitive TV commercials. In some cases, celebrity endorsements on TV exceed the length of a standard commercial; these ad spots are known as “infomercials” or “paid programming.” Some celebrities who have appeared in infomercials include: Victoria Principal for the Principal Secret, Daisy Fuentes for Winsor Pilates, and Chuck Norris for the Total Gym.

Celebrity advertising via bootleg merchandise usually consists of the celebrity’s likeness, whether through an actual photo of the celebrity or a facsimile that reflects certain iconic aspects of the celebrity’s image. For example, a product that is not endorsed by Elvis Presley’s estate but still bears an image of the singer’s signature hairstyle, pose, etc. would be considered bootleg merchandise. Restrictions prohibit bootleg merchandise from being sold in most major retail outlets; however, flea markets and discount stores have been known to carry such items.


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Post 5

Sunny27- The only drawback to celebrity endorsements occurs when the celebrity develops public-relations problems.

Tiger Woods was dropped from a consulting company because of some public relations problems that he was having. The consulting company did not want their customers to associate their products with him any longer.

This is what happens sometimes when advertising using celebrities because they can be unpredictable.

Post 4

BrickBack- I notice that that also happens in movies as well. I wanted to add that many Olympic athletes and professional athletes perform athlete endorsements.

Their expertise in a given sport is so powerful that many companies seek the same celebrity athletes for endorsements. For example, Kobe Bryant was the face of Nike sneakers and Michael Phelps was on the cover of Life cereal.

Post 3

Cupake15- Sometimes the celebrity product placement will be used during a television program. This occurs because many advertisers feel that viewers will not be engaged during commercials and will ignore them.

By placing a product in a very visible position during a television show, the viewer will be forced to look at it.

Seeing the actor drinking a can of Coke for example, is very similar to a regular celebrity commercial. The viewer is seeing the famous actor drinking a soda and is already making mental images of the product.

Post 2

For example, Valerie Bertinelli promoted the Jenny Craig weight loss program.

Viewers saw her transformation, and because she was a popular celebrity, Jenny Craig's business increased.

Use of celebrity in advertising also draws more attention than the average actor or model.

When people recognize a familiar face they tend to focus on it more. This is why celebrity commercials are so effective.

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