Use Celebrity Marketing to Breathe New Life Into a Brand

Revitalizing Brands PictureCelebrities increase brand awareness, jump start flat sales, and convey key messages to target markets for mature brands.

Product Introduction Ranked In Top 2 Percent Increased Brand Awareness.

Over twenty years ago, ConAgra’s Healthy Choice line of products made a splash in the frozen food arena, proclaimed by Advertising Age as, “the most successful new food brand introduction in two decades.”

Jump to 2008, and the buzz for Healthy Choice had simmered down. Joan Chow, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at ConAgra, wanted to reinvigorate Healthy Choice by, “breaking through the fog of familiarity consumers have with the brand”.

To do this, Chow hired a celebrity to re-launch with new packaging and entrees in a comedic way, using a multimedia budget of around $90 million dollars. ConAgra secured Julia Louis-Dreyfus for their advertisements.

In the first year, sales reached $95 million dollars. Over the next five years, Healthy Choice Café Steamers ranked in the top 2 percent of all successful product introductions. Information Resources Inc. named Healthy Choice the, “best selling new food or beverage product through mid-year 2008”.

Increased Flat Sales by $77 Million.

The Illinois Lottery experienced nearly a decade of flat sales, with a total sales growth of negative 3.1%.

The lottery launched a strategy focused on reenergizing itself through the execution of a marketing plan that would generate immediate sales increases. To do this, they searched for a celebrity whose personality was consistent with the new ‘Have a Ball!’ campaign, and matched these criteria:

  • Credible
  • Widely recognizable
  • Ongoing high visibility
  • Fun-loving and “fun to be around”
  • Strong and proudly displayed roots in Illinois
  • Viewed as likeable by a broad cross-section of potential players
  • No negative baggage or reputation issues

Bernie Mac, born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, was the perfect candidate. His participation in the new campaign boosted total sales almost 8% within a year (increasing sales by $77,728,500) hitting record numbers for the $10 instant-ticket.

The total cost for Mr. Mac’s role in the 30th Anniversary Have a Ball! campaign was approximately $500,000 dollars, bringing a significant return back on the investment.

Convey Key Messages to the Target Market & Sales Increased 16%.

Burberry, the high-end luxury garment maker, experienced an image problem, and needed to reclaim their brand equity. Delinquent soccer fans began wearing Burberry clothing, creating negative connotations for the brands famous designs.

Creative Director Christopher Bailey solved this problem by shaking up their catalog with more modern designs, limiting the checkered tartan, and aligning the brand with classy figures like Emma Watson and Kate Moss.

With confidence restored in Burberry, sales immediately began to increase. In fact, the luxury brand’s revenues have risen by an average of 16% over the last three years.

photo credits:
MyCanon (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) via Wikimedia Commons
J. Corey Griffin via Wikimedia Commons
By David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons


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