Celebrity Power and Its Influence on Global Consumer Behaviour

March 2014

Celebrities are playing an ever greater role in modern culture and consumption patterns, serving as arbiters of taste, style and public opinion the world over. Their endorsement and creative input enables them to bring attention, credibility and other intangible benefits to a brand in a way that no other type of advertising can. This new global report analyses the ways in which marketers are exploiting celebrity power to create an emotional bond with the consumer and thus increase sales.

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Celebrities have come to play a major part in modern culture

For many people, film and TV stars, athletes, pop stars, the royal family, chefs and business tycoons serve as arbiters of taste, morality and public opinion, thus impacting on buying behaviour.

Celebrities range from globally renowned A-listers to reality TV stars, who sometimes become an overnight success through appearing in shows such as The X Factor, Big Brother, Masterchef or on MTV.

The phenomenal growth of social networking has also spawned a plethora of self-styled celebrities, who have made a name for themselves on video-sharing websites; sometimes without any discernible talent.

Companies exploit the power of celebrities and employ them to advertise just about everything. As famous people are instantly recognisable and attract consumer interest, they can bring attention to a brand in a way that no other type of advertising can.

As long as the celebrity is authentic, he or she can help to lend credibility to a brand and influence the way it is perceived. Many consumers believe that if a product is good enough for a star, it is good enough for them.

While most apparent among the younger generation, celebrity influence exists across all age groups. Tweens and teens idolise the icons of the moment (eg Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift or One Direction), whereas adults tend to admire older, more enduring celebrities.

According to Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list, the most powerful global celebrities of 2013 were show host Oprah Winfrey, singer Lady Gaga, film director Steven Spielberg and singers Beyoncé Knowles and Madonna.

The level of celebrity influence is difficult to gauge. However, it is estimated that while as many as one in four advertisements feature celebrities in the US, the percentage is much lower in Europe. In Germany, for example, the rate is around 16%.

The celebrity culture is widespread in Asia. In both South Korea and Japan, it is thought that as many as 70% of commercials now feature a celebrity. The phenomenon is newer in China and India, where it has gained momentum in a relatively short space of time.

In South Korea, entertainment companies work hand-in-hand with the advertising industry in a unique way. Hundreds of “K-pop” stars are trained from a young age not only to sing and perform in concerts, but also to endorse products and promote corporate brands.

China, as a collectivist society, has in the past put its trust in leaders and elders for guidance. However, under the new socialist market economy model, it is celebrities rather than military heroes who now symbolise knowledge, trust and aspiration in the eyes of consumers.

The actress Fan Bingbing is said to be the most influential celebrity in China, followed by singers Jay Chou and Andy Lau. Savvy Western businesses are also increasingly employing Chinese celebrities to help sell their products in this potentially lucrative market.

Celebrity power has also taken off in a big way in India, and companies are clamouring to secure contracts with the big Bollywood actors, such as Katrina Kaif, Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor.

What this report includes

  • Top-level strategic analysis of how major consumer trends will influence global markets
  • Consumer insight
  • Impact across all relevant consumer markets
  • Unique graphics and case studies
  • Key market snapshots
  • Accompanying presentation to synthesise main findings

Why buy this report

  • Identify factors driving change now and in the future
  • Understand motivation
  • Forward-looking outlook
  • Briefings and presentation should provoke lively discussion at senior level
  • Take a step back from micro trends
  • Get up to date estimates and comment

Delivery format

This report also includes a PowerPoint executive summary document.

PDF/Word copies downloadable from you MyPages account


Overview of celebrity culture
Types of celebrity marketing
Summary 1 Types of Celebrity Marketing, 2014
Consumer market trends
Chart 1 Global Sales in Selected Categories 2007/2012
Consumer attitudes
Outlook and recommendations


The evolution of celebrity culture
The birth of celebrity magazines MTV brought glamour to the pop world The emergence of the DIY celebrity
Most powerful celebrities
Celebrities for all ages Oprah Winfrey in number one spot Table 1 The World’s 20 Most Powerful Celebrities in 2013
Celebrity chefs
Cooking shows spawn culinary experts Chinese chefs keep a low profile Brazil’s first celebrity chef Summary 2 Celebrity Chefs by Country 2013
The emergence of celebrity culture in China
A collective society Fan Bingbing held in high regard Table 2 China’s Most Influential Celebrities in 2013


Building brand empires
Fingers in all pies The all-mighty Oprah Summary 3 Leading Celebrity Brands 2013
Celebrity endorsement
Fame sells Lending credibility Controversial endorsements Europe lags behind US Pop group AKB48 dominates Japanese endorsements Summary 4 Leading Japanese Celebrities by Number of Companies Endorsed in 2012 South Korea’s K-pop stars Chinese embrace consumerism via celebrities Western companies enlist Chinese stars Summary 5 Leading Celebrity Endorsers in China, 2013 The power of Bollywood Summary 6 Leading Bollywood Endorsers in India, 2013
Commercial opportunities for athletes
Nike leads the way Tiger Woods remains on top of the game Usain Bolt stands by his leading sponsor Summary 7 Athletes’ Earnings from Endorsements 2013 The fallout from celebrity scandals Riding out the storm Hitting the bottom line
Commercial opportunities for celebrity chefs
Building empires Summary 8 Leading Celebrity Chefs by Net Worth 2013 TV shows Image is all-important Chefs behaving badly Cookbooks are best-sellers Impact of merchandising deals Working with the food industry Influence on eating habits
Use of social media
Tapping into online fan bases Global pop stars have the most followers Chart 2 Top Celebrity Tweeters in February 2014 # is this an ad? Tweets for cash China’s celebrity tweeters Sponsoring self-made celebrities
Celebrity-branded products
Celebs become more involved Fragrances offer lucrative margins Tweens and teens want to buy into their idols Summary 9 New Celebrity Fragrance Launches 2012-2014 Launch of beauty lines Summary 10 Celebrity Beauty Lines, 2014 Celebrity owned fashion labels Summary 11 Celebrity Fashion Labels 2014 Celebrity chefs launch kitchen lines
Collaborating with brands
The growth of the “celebrepreneur” Creative directorships Ad symbiosis Celebrities as fashion gurus Department stores fight back Celebrity collections take off in India Summary 12 Recent Fashion Retailer Collaborations 2014
Leveraging celebrity voices
Celebrities promoting causes
Summary 13 Celebrity Charity Involvement 2014


Beauty and personal care
Self-image becomes ever more important KGOY Impact on beauty market Teen brands Table 3 The Global Market for Colour Cosmetics 2007/2012 Slowing down the ageing process Anti-ageing skin care Summary 14 Recent Use of Celebrities as Anti-Ageing Brand Ambassadors Anti-ageing products continue to boom Men’s grooming performs well Table 4 The Global Market for Selected Beauty Products 2007/2012 Celebrity fragrances Improving quality Antonio Banderas leads in global sales Table 5 Leading Celebrity Fragrances by Global Sales 2012
Cosmetic surgery
Homogenised beauty Rise in procedures Asians seek beauty over youth Italy leads Europe Teen toxing Table 6 Number of Aesthetic Procedures: Top 20 Countries 2011
The baby market
Celebrity mums grab headlines Royal baby fever Star strollers Celebrity brands Baby wear market driven by emerging markets Table 7 Leading National Markets for Baby and Toddler Wear 2007/2012


Global Consumer Trends Survey 2013
Role models
Celebrities are main inspiration for 10% of consumers Chart 3 Attitudes to Celebrity Role Models by Gender 2011 Chart 4 Attitudes to Celebrity Role Models by Age 2011 Chinese consumers most influenced by celebrities Chart 5 Attitudes to Celebrity Role Models by Country 2011 Most won’t pay more for celebrity-endorsed beauty Chart 6 Willingness to Pay More for Celebrity-endorsed Beauty Products, by Gender 2013 Chart 7 Willingness to Pay More for Celebrity-endorsed Beauty Products, by Age 2013 Celebrity stamp worth more to Indians Chart 8 Willingness to Pay More for Celebrity-endorsed Beauty Products, by Country 2013 Attitudes towards celebrity endorsements in social media Attitudes towards celebrity causes Publicity works both ways Chart 9 Celebrities Deemed Most Effective in Raising Awareness of a Cause 2013


Trends to watch
Consumers will continue to be seduced by fame Celebrity roles will evolve Benchmarking measures will add meaning to endorsements Global sporting events will provide more marketing opportunities... ...But brands may downsize endorsements Beauty and fashion will continue to thrive Men’s grooming products offer potential for celebrity branding Chart 10 Forecast Sales in Selected Beauty and Clothing Categories 2012/2017 Backlash against idealised images Campaigning for “real beauty” More stringent regulations Celebrity chefs will continue to influence eating habits
Recommendations to marketers
Achieving the right balance Creating an emotional tie Authenticity is key Safeguarding against scandals Benefits to celebrities Summary 15 Recommendations and Opportunities


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