No final act for celebs in advertising

I was intrigued to read your news item reporting on the Marketing Society claim that celebrity ads will “become a thing of the past” (MW last week) and I’m looking forward to hearing more details of the research at its forthcoming conference.

I suspect Alastair Campbell, one of their conference speakers and a man pretty well acquainted with the power of celebrity in politics, also doubts the veracity of this research. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent victory in the California election with a record turnout, confirms that fame is an intoxicating drug that most of us succumb to.

Market research data from companies such as Millward Brown, MR UK research and HPI indicates that up to 20 per cent of all campaigns measured feature celebrities. An examination of the IPA databank of winning effectiveness awards papers reveals a gradual increase over time in the proportion featuring stars, up to the current level of 14 per cent.

I believe the opposite will happen: that employing famous personalities to promote brands is likely to increase in the future as agencies become better at using them and as the return on investment is proven.

Just look at how WCRS has used a big idea enhanced by celebrities to build the 118 118 brand and see off the competition.

Hamish Pringle



London SW1

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