The Purpose of Celebrity Endorsement for Branding

Pages: 8 (2450 words) Published: October 15, 2012
‘Celebrity endorsement offers an immediate shortcut to a branding message’. Discuss this statement using specific examples.

Introduction: What is the purpose of your essay and how do you mean to discuss it? Define the words used in the question.

The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate my understanding of how celebrity endorsements may offer an immediate shortcut to a branding message. In the essay I will look at examples of celebrity endorsements and analyse them in order to decipher their symbolic meaning. I will look at models of elaboration, magazine covers, Rojek’s reasons for rise in celebrity culture and case studies of specific celebrities and the products they endorse. I will explore how companies believing that sex sells (such as Calvin Klein and Agent Provocateur) will use images of Kate Moss rather than Emma Watson and how this could be down to Kate Moss’ bad girl image. I will also look at how some companies may chose Emma Watson for her good girl image in order to provide a message about their brand for example Burberry.

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I will look at how the image a celebrity has can affect the image of a product and how celebrity scandals can affect these endorsements and the public’s image of the products. I will also look into the history of consumerism and photography in order to understand why celebrity culture is as big as it is today.

The Oxford Popular Dictionary defines celebrity as simply a ‘Famous person’. Fred Allen was once quoted as saying that ‘A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognised’ and worldiq.com describes celebrity in the following way: ‘‘A celebrity is a person who is widely recognized in a society. Fame is prerequisite for celebrity status but not always sufficient. For example, high profile criminals are famous, but not always celebrities. Traditionally politicians are rarely described as celebrities although they could be described as famous. Today’s celebrities are largely figures from television and movies.’ There are many different levels of celebrity. These can be described by putting them in groups of A lister’s, B lister’s, C lister’s etc. It would appear that the higher list a celebrity is in the more successful an endorsement with them will be. A question that can arise from today’s celebrity culture and the invention of reality TV is whether some of the people that we describe as celebrities are actually worthy of a celebrity status at all. For instance when we compare Keira Knightley or Katy Perry with so called celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Nicky Graham we can see a vast difference in their worth as celebrities. For instance Keira Knightley is a highly successful actress with an amazing talent and Nicky Graheme is someone who appeared on a reality TV programme as a stroppy childish woman who has now become famous through it. Companies will take a celebrities worth into consideration when choosing an endorser for their product as they do not want their product to seem worthless which it may if they chose someone such as Nicky Graheme. The history of consumerism and celebrity endorsement can be said to date back to the 1900’s with people such as Sigmund Freud and Edward Bernays. Sigmund Freud invented the idea of the Id, something in all of us that is full of unspoken dreams and desires that are usually suppressed. Edward Bernays, Freuds nephew, used this idea to sell products and turn people from consumers of need into consumers of want. He did this by using celebrities of the day, such as Caruso, Nijinsky, Clara Bow and Mrs Stillman the celebrity aviator, and linking their lives with products in magazines in order to sell the products. He believed, like his uncle, that man was ultimately controlled by his irrational desires and that these desires might be controlled and manipulated...
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