Study predicts backlash against celebrity endorsed products

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

A new study has challenged the growing celebrity endorsement trend
that is gaining momentum amongst cosmetic manufacturers -
suggesting that consumers are now more likely to purchase a product
endorsed by an anonymous spokesperson.

According to research conducted at the University of Bath and the University of Gallen, Switzerland, advertisements that feature global stars are less likely to entice than ones showing 'ordinary' people. Indeed, Euromonitor has today released a statement mirroring this case study, stating, "The problem is that the celebrity beauty industry has become over saturated by the large number of products that have inundated the market".​ This suggests the first signs of a notable backlash against the lucrative marketing machines that celebrities have become involved in with the cosmetics industry awash with such endorsements in every segment. However, Euromonitor has previously predicted such a revolt, warning cosmetic manufacturers whose sales strategy relies heavily on celebrity endorsements, against basing their entire sales concept on the shoulders of 'stars', stating it could be hazardous in the future due to the 'ephemeral nature of celebrity culture'. Data released by Euromonitor today predicts that mass fragrance sales in the US are to decline by 25 per cent by 2010 as the celebrity trend weakens. Senior industry analyst Diana Dodson said "With so many new releases, manufacturers are running the risk that consumers will become increasingly confused and frustrated by the never ending choice of celebrity endorsed products".​ Indeed, the recent study highlighted the fact that consumers are now becoming less engaged by stars such as David Beckham, and are now more likely to be influenced by the testimonials of fictitious people, with 56 per cent of volunteers opting to buy a product that was marketed by an unknown person. Professor Brett Martin, of the University of Bath's School of Management said, "Of course there are key tools to calibrate the match between a celebrity and a product and when these tools are used, it can work very well. But in terms of this research, if people are influenced by peer pressure then it's the people who offer the social approval who count". ​He also expressed his concern that the millions spent by the advertising industry on getting top actors and top quality sport stars to lend their names to products is unnecessary. Euromonitor has urged manufacturers to respond to the backlash by taking more time with product development, which should in turn see 'the industry less driven by fast-turnover innovations characterised by the celebrity trend'.

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