Marketers May Be Reviewing Relationships with Celebrity Endorsers

Many marketers believe that using a specific celebrity to sell their products or services may increase sales. Other companies are tempted to  use outrageous ads to capture attention. Do these methods work or are they likely to backfire? Adweek Media and Harris Poll surveyed consumers on this topic and their findings indicate that consumer education and income make a difference when it comes to emotional reactions to advertising.

Here are the percentages of consumers who shun a brand because of advertising practices:

  • Advertising is distasteful: 35%
  • Did not like spokesperson: 28%
  • Did not like program/​event sponsored by brand: 27%

Interestingly, men were more likely than women to not purchase a brand because they didn’t like the spokesperson (32%) or the program or event being sponsored (29%).  The largest group to avoid purchasing brands based on advertising came from consumers age 55+. About 37% of consumers in this age group do not buy brands when they find advertising distasteful.

The survey also revealed that consumers with more education do not buy brands because of advertising. About 43% of college graduate avoid brands when they find advertising distasteful. In addition, 31% do not buy products promoted by a spokesperson they do not like. A similar correlation exists between income and brand purchases. Nearly 25% consumers with household incomes of $75,000+ do not buy products promoted via distasteful advertising.

As marketers balance the need for distinctive advertising with consumer reactions, they should consider the findings of this poll. The recent high-​profile scandals concerning famous athletes underscores the sensitive nature of these relationships.

[Source: Over One-​Third of Americans Will Not Purchase a Brand Because of Distasteful Advertisement. Adweek Media/​Harris Poll. 26 Mar. 2010. Web. 1 Apr. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.