Are Celebrity Endorsements Losing Their Luster?

Bill Sussman

CEO at Collective Bias
Celebrity endorsements can bring a lot of visibility to a brand, but non-celebrity influencers bring a targeted audience encouraging in-store purchases.
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This article by Collective Bias CEO, Bill Sussman, originally appeared on Huffington Post.

As brands and retailers are scrambling to keep up with the growing demand by consumers for personalized and authentic options, are there still viable tactics to influence in-store purchases? With the increasing adoption of influencer marketing, Collective Bias conducted a new survey of 14,000 consumers to learn how celebrities (read: Kardashians, musicians, athletes) and non-celebrity influencers (read: content creators like bloggers with dedicated online followings) influence in-store purchases. The result? Non-celebrity influencers are 10 times more likely to influence an in-store purchase than celebrities.

Non-celebrity influencers are 10 x more likely to influence in-store purchases than celebrities. Click To Tweet

Let’s take a look at some influencer marketing campaigns involving CPG brands and why they were successful.

Boxed Water – #Retree

Partnering with non-celebrity influencer content is not just for helping reach traditional key performance indicators (KPIs). Compared to celebrity endorsements, integrating influencers into charity amplifications brings another layer of personal authenticity to a brand’s efforts to impact both charitable contributions and sales.

Drink company Boxed Water partnered with Instagram influencers to get the word out about The Raintree Project, its charitable campaign with the National Forest Foundation. Boxed Water promised that for each Instagram photo posted with the #Retree hashtag included, the company would plant two trees. Since the launch of the campaign, more than 9,900 images have been posted. That number doubled makes for a lot of trees and also places the company in an extremely fruitful light. Wielding the online reach and trusted voice of non-celeb influencers to get the word out about a worthy cause is truly social good.

Lays – Do Us A Flavor

Allowing everyday consumers and non-celebrity influencers to be a part of the product process has proven hugely successful for brands like Lays. As part of its “Do Us A Flavor” campaign, Lays asked influencers and fans to come up with possible chip flavors to be added to the company’s lineup in exchange for a $1 million prize.

The campaign raked in nearly 4 million consumer submissions – talk about brand engagement. Once 25 of the flavor submissions were manufactured and tested, the top three flavors (sriracha, cheesy garlic bread and chicken & waffles) were released to stores nationwide. Consumers were then given the chance to taste for themselves and vote their top choice on social media. Influencers encouraged their followers to get in on the action and vote for their favorites. The campaign racked up a 12 percent increase in sales for Lays. How’s that for tasty?

Coca-Cola – #ShareItForward

What do you get when you combine a major soda brand, a need to reach Millennials and a wholly unique influencer marketing campaign? #ShareItFoward. Coca-Cola and Walmart teamed up to give away more than 1 million icy cold cans of cokes at more than 3,200 Walmart Supercenters during a live four-hour “Share It Forward” event. Shoppers were encouraged to #ShareItForward by purchasing 20-ounce, personalized bottles with their friends, family and co-workers.

To promote the event, Coca-Cola turned to Collective Bias to connect with the target demographic: Millennials. Collective Bias hosted a Coke-branded Twitter party, an hour-long conversation on Twitter to drive traffic to the in-store event. Sixty-two influencers got the sharing started by creating fun recipes, games, party ideas and more. This gave consumers creative ways to use the personalized bottles. The social event connected shoppers, Walmart and the Coca-Cola brand. The result was a summer of substantial sales growth and social chatter around Coca-Cola and Walmart.

Final note: Celebrity endorsements are a tried-and-true marketing tactic for gaining major brand visibility if it’s a partnership that makes sense to the target audience. However, the amount of targeting, trust and content creation ability that non-celebrity influencers can wield makes more sense for brands and retailers trying to influence in-store purchases. Think about it: celebrities may have earned a large audience, but non-celeb influencers have earned a targeted audience’s trust on a combination of relatability, specific expertise and creativity.

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