Resources for Selecting a Celebrity: Part One


The Burns Celebrity Vault is a one-of-a-kind resource that makes the celebrity selection process simpler, easier and more efficient.

When it comes to picking a celebrity for a marketing campaign, the process is not simple. When finding the right celebrity match, a brand must take into consideration things such as cost, celebrity interest, conflicts and many other factors. In order to find the right celebrity, you need a resource that takes all these factors into consideration, and still provides great celebrity options. That’s where the Celebrity Vault comes in. The Celebrity Vault is a state-of-the-art database that has accumulated information on over 25,000 different celebrities from all ends of the spectrum for over 40 years, which makes for a much easier, faster and better celebrity selection process.

The Celebrity Vault contains celebrities from sports, entertainment, music and more. In this case, a “celebrity” is not just the people you always see or immediately think of, but rather anyone who is well-known or has consistently been in the news. This wide definition of a celebrity allows you to find any type of celebrity you could possibly need or want, not just the most obvious ones. Celebrities are then segmented by type such as actors, athletes, age and gender. The exceptional variety of celebrities in the Celebrity Vault means there are plenty of celebrity options for any campaign or budget.

Celebrities are then further categorized by over 700 lifestyle demographics. These demographics can include any type of interesting fact about a celebrity, not just the information you know off-hand. The Celebrity Vault includes the information you would typically ignore, forget or be unaware of, like whether a celebrity collects classic cars, had colon cancer or owns dogs. Whether it is interests, hobbies, charitable ties or health conditions, these lifestyle demographics allow for a much faster and better selection process.

The Celebrity Vault also includes the likely costs of celebrities for TV appearances, speaking engagements and other endorsement opportunities, which allows you to find celebrity options within your budget. No matter your budget, you will likely be able to find a pool of realistic celebrities for your campaign.

The Celebrity Vault is extremely helpful for brand marketers because it can help find a celebrity for even the most narrowly-defined marketing strategies. It makes the process quicker, easier and better for finding the perfect celebrity match for a brand. The wide variety of celebrity options, segmented by over 700 lifestyle demographics, makes sure not to overlook your options when finding the right celebrity.

Why Brands Should Take Celebrity Marketing to Virtual Reality

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Virtual reality is a must-have for those serious about the next wave of digital video.

Virtual reality (VR) puts fans and audiences at the center of the experience, allowing for more engaging and exciting content. From a brand perspective, VR creates many new opportunities to connect with their audience, play into public interest and pull more attention to their message. Brands ready to get on board with this new trend can do so with celebrity marketing.

VR is a three-dimensional, computer generated environment that allows the user to immerse him or herself into a visual world and interact within the environment. With new innovations such as the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard headsets and YouTube 360 degree video, virtual reality allows for immersive, digital storytelling that was not possible only a few years ago. There are many different possibilities for virtual reality, and brands have only just begun to take advantage of it.

Augmented and virtual reality is a big trend, gaining a significant amount of media and public attention. Anything having to do with VR seems to get favorable attention, including apps and YouTube videos. YouTube celebrities such as Casey Neistat and Louis Cole have taken advantage of the trend with 360 degree videos at events like the Oscars and places like Sierra Leone, Africa. Even YouTube itself has started live streaming events in 360. Apps such as Pokémon Go have taken the world by storm, earning up to $1.6 million daily. People who have been quick to jump on the trend have seen many favorable results.

A few brands have jumped on the trend as well, looking to the immersive experience as a way to attract attention and create meaningful experiences. The New York Times took advantage of virtual reality by sending over one million Google cardboard headsets to subscribers, and is now working with advertisers to create content to work alongside The Times’ VR videos. Etihad Airways has worked with Nicole Kidman to create a virtual reality experience for anyone on board Etihad’s A380. Both of these brands are creating unique experiences for their customers, and connecting with them in a way that is innovative and unique.

Entertainment and marketing are two natural fits for virtual reality, which makes celebrity marketing perfect for this new trend. A celebrity has the ability to deliver a message uniquely, creating attention and recognition that cuts through the clutter consumers deal with on a daily basis. We will likely start to see brands giving audiences a front-row seat to a Beyoncé concert or the Super Bowl through virtual reality, but the opportunities don’t have to end there. There are many possibilities with virtual reality, and it is a must-have for brands looking to tap into something new and innovative.

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Travel Bloggers May Be the Next Big Thing for Celebrity Marketing


Travel bloggers offer a unique way for brands to reach new consumers.

A travel blogger’s posts provide authentic content and are a good way for brands to integrate themselves into a trip or lifestyle. This way, a brand can advertise an experience rather than just a product, and it can be done in an entertaining and exciting way that is attractive to an audience.

Travel writing has been around for decades, but with technology and social media, travel bloggers have a unique edge that makes them much more desirable for brands. Bloggers are often proven influencers who have access to fans on social media and know how to tell a strategic story on social platforms. When hiring a familiar travel blogger, a brand is able to get in front of a large audience through a storyteller that the audience trusts, in a way that is easily shared and delivers engagement.

But a travel blogger’s audience isn’t the only thing that is attractive to brands. A travel blogger’s content is also unique, uploading posts and photos consistently and in real-time. This type of bite-sized content provides an experiential element to branded content, that when matched with an authentic celebrity partnership creates a personable and fun experience for consumers. Travel blogging is becoming increasingly more popular, with bloggers covering a wide range of niche markets.

For example, Breanne Manz, creator of Stroller in the City, has a demographic that many brands want to reach: moms who travel with kids. Her 19,000 Twitter followers and 27,000 Instagram fans enjoy seeing photos of her and her kids visiting new places and trying new things, all of which she writes about in her blog.

Clint Johnson, also known as Trip Hackr, travels all around the world while working with brands, tourism boards and even airlines to promote products and run contests to his 50,000 Instagram followers, who enjoy reading about his tips and tricks for interesting travel destinations.

Matthew Kepnes goes by Nomadic Matt on his blog, where he often writes about ways to travel on a budget and all the ways you can save money while experiencing the world.

Louis Cole, known as FunForLouis on YouTube, documents his travels with daily video blogs to his 1.8 million subscribers. His engaging personality and desire for adventure make his videos a unique experience for his audience.

Travel blogging is becoming increasingly popular, especially for brands looking for more immediate, widely-shared storytelling.

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Deceased Celebrity Marketing

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Even after death, a celebrity’s brand remains powerful, and potentially becomes even more so.

Because of this, there is often a desire for brands to capitalize on the death of a celebrity in advertising. However, there are some pros and cons. The use of a deceased celebrity’s image and likeness in marketing can be a topic of controversy. While some campaigns perform well, others draw backlash. When considering using a deceased celebrity for a marketing campaign, there are a number of things to think about.

One advantage to using a deceased celebrity is not only that the celebrity will be widely recognized, but celebrities often become romanticized icons in the public eye after their death. Brands using deceased celebrities are able to align themselves with the pedigree of these iconic figures, and have much more positive publicity. A static figure is much more dependable than a current celebrity, and cannot cause problems for the campaign with scandals and sudden negative image. Ultimately, this allows the brand to have more control over the campaign.

Although a brand may want to use a deceased celebrity for a campaign and there are many reasons why it may be a good fit, this is not always the case. Deceased celebrities do not always work with a brand’s target audience. For example, Marilyn Monroe may be a style icon and an appropriate match for a beauty brand, but if the brand’s audience is younger, a relevant celebrity may be a better fit. Plus, getting the rights to a deceased celebrity’s image and likeness is not always easy. Those in charge of the celebrity’s estate may be similarly as challenging to negotiate with as a current celebrity.

Ultimately, if you want to have a successful campaign with a deceased celebrity, be sure the partnership is a strong fit with your target audience. Using a resource such as E-Poll provides piece of mind and a level of certainty. Attributes such as trust, likeability and name recognition can be isolated. You could even commission your own custom poll using great detail. Not only should the celebrity fit with your brand’s image, but you should also make sure the campaign is respectful and fits with the celebrity’s image.

Just like any other celebrity marketing campaign, you must go through all the steps to determine the best celebrity for your brand. The connection between the celebrity, the brand and the creative direction of the campaign must be strong enough for the celebrity to be credible and differentiate your message from the thousands of others we get bombarded with every day.

Photo credit: (Disclaimer: Mazda is a Burns client)

Celebrity Marketing on Snapchat


Snapchat is on track to grow its users, which means brands should no longer ignore this social media platform.

On the surface, Snapchat may look just like any other messaging app. But the platform has proven its longevity, exceeding Twitter’s daily active users with 150 million. Snapchat stands out for its short-lived messages and highly visual, constantly evolving interface. Extras such as filters, emojis and drawing tools add a creative element to typical messaging, injecting fun into social sharing. The ever-growing popularity of the app makes it the perfect place for creative marketing, especially with celebrities.

One way brands can use Snapchat is by giving their account to a celebrity for promotion. Celebrity “takeovers” often occur during photo shoots, events or product launches, and can help drive the celebrity’s followers to the brand’s Snapchat account. For example, McDonalds featured athletes Lebron James, Richard Sherman and Johnny Manziel on their Snapchat story to announce a new menu item in 2014. Wet Seal similarly handed their account to a beauty vlogger for two days, gaining them 9,000 new Snapchat followers. This type of celebrity marketing is a great way to draw on a celebrity’s fan base and gain more attention and followers for the brand’s account.

Another way to use celebrities on Snapchat, similar to many other social media platforms, is through product placement. While this form of celebrity marketing doesn’t necessarily gain any more followers for the brand, product placement on Snapchat has the opportunity to reach a larger audience. For example, Yoplait sent out tweets using #yoplaitinthekitchen to multiple celebrities, including actress Ashley Benson, influencer Branden Harvey and actor Josh Peck, challenging them to make something on Snapchat using their product. Anyone following these celebrities on Snapchat was able to see the product, and the brand had the opportunity to reach a large number of potential customers.

Many brands are using the short-lived nature of Snapchat to reveal exclusive content to its followers. Adidas recently launched its own Snapchat account, using Pharrell as he revealed his new collection with the brand. This content was published solely on Snapchat in real-time, which caused fans to flock to the new account to see the content. The fact that a photo or video on Snapchat will run out in 24 hours creates a sense of urgency, compelling people to follow and see exclusive content before it is released on any other platform. Plus, a user must be following the account in order to see its content, which makes Snapchat a great place to release it.

There are many different ways for brands to use Snapchat, and its current growth only shows how important it is becoming for marketing. If your brand is looking for a creative and fun way to use celebrity marketing, whether it’s for promotion, product placement, contests or exclusive content, Snapchat is a great platform to try.

Photo credit: Google images

Authenticity in Celebrity Marketing


Authenticity is usually the most important part of content, especially for younger generations.

At a time when most of what we see on social media is idealized, millennials believe advertising is unrealistic.  Because of this, 43% of millennials value authenticity over content. When it comes to advertising, consumers want to hear from the people they trust, and they trust people more than logos. Celebrity marketing is one of the best ways to be authentic – as long as it’s done correctly.

When looking for a celebrity for your marketing campaign, it’s important to find someone who loves your brand. But you don’t necessarily have to go for the most obvious choice. Just because you are a food company doesn’t mean you need to partner with a chef. Sometimes a message coming from an unexpected source is a smart way to be more authentic and create a stronger, more lasting campaign. Plus, you can be sure the celebrity really loves your product if they are willing to venture away from what his/her audience expects.

Just the act of including a celebrity in your campaign doesn’t necessarily create authenticity. When working with a celebrity, it’s important to give up some control and let the celebrity have an opportunity to tell your brand’s story. Your brand doesn’t want to mess with trust and credibility, and neither does the celebrity. It’s almost as important to maintain the celebrity’s brand as it is yours, so it’s best to equip the celebrity with the right information, and let them craft the message using their own words. That way, the message sounds more authentic to the celebrity’s audience because it is coming from someone they trust.

Once you find the perfect celebrity, building a relationship and having honest exchanges is the best way to create a more authentic message. Finding out how your brand fits into the celebrity’s lifestyle and using that information adds more value to the campaign. People think of their favorite celebrities as their friends, and they know the celebrity well enough to recognize when a message is contrived. Having a good relationship with a celebrity and using their genuine opinion is one of the best ways to ensure an authentic message.

Working with a celebrity is a great way to make a marketing campaign feel authentic, because their audience already trusts what they have to say.  When partnering with a celebrity, it’s important to find a balance. Your brand needs to remain the star while the trustworthy celebrity delivers your message, making it stand out from the clutter. By creating a good relationship and collaborating on the campaign, your marketing efforts are much more likely to feel authentic to an audience, especially young ones.

Photo credit: Google images (Disclosure: Old El Paso is a Burns client)

Celebrity Marketing: Social Media Stars from the Webby Awards


The Webby Awards, occasionally referred to as the Oscars of the Internet, presents awards for the top creators, websites, apps, advertising and media on the Internet every year.

Each category has two winners – one chosen by a body of industry experts and technology innovators, and the other by the voting public. These winners represent some of the best creators on the Internet today. The Webby Award winners are a great place to look to find some of the best social media influencers for a celebrity marketing campaign. Here are some of the stars you need to know.

1. Tyler Oakley is a YouTube star and author who won the Webby this year for Best Web Personality (Channel). He often talks on topics of pop culture, humor, and LGBT rights on his YouTube channel which currently has over eight million subscribers. His fans love to hear about his personal life and stories, which he talks about in his podcast, Psychobabble, and his bestselling book, Binge.

2. Rhett and Link are an internet comedy duo who won the People’s Voice for Best Web Personality (Channel) for their YouTube talk show, Good Mythical Morning, which boasts over ten million subscribers. They’re well-known for their viral videos, comedic songs, and episode series on topics of food, advice, current events and more. They’ve won Webby Awards in the past for some of their viral videos, including “2 Guys, 600 Pillows” and “Epic Rap Battle: Nerd vs. Geek.”

3. Smosh is a sketch comedy duo consisting of Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, who’s channel, Smosh Games, was the Webby winner for Best Gaming Channel. The duo is best known for the skits they post on their main Smosh YouTube channel, but they also host nine other related channels. Smosh Games has over six million subscribers and uploads numerous videos a week, featuring Ian and Anthony playing and commenting on various video games alongside other Smosh Games members.

4. VSauce is a YouTube channel created by Internet personality Michael Stevens, which won both the Webby and People’s Voice for Best Science & Education Channel. His channel has over ten million subscribers and features videos on various topics of science, philosophy, technology, culture, and more. The success of this channel has led to the creation of four other channels, including WeSauce, which features work from fans.

5. Rosanna Pansino is a baker and YouTube personality who’s video for Cake Pizza won the People’s Voice for Best How-To and DIY. Her internet baking show, Nerdy Nummies, has six million subscribers and features tutorials on how to make treats that resemble characters and objects from TV shows, video games, books and films. She also likes to invite other YouTube personalities on her show to bake with her.

If you’re considering a digital celebrity for a marketing campaign, the Webby Awards are a great place to look to find some of the best and most popular creators and YouTube channels today.

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