Celebrities in Character for Celebrity Marketing


When looking for the right celebrity to capture the identity of a brand, sometimes a character is a better fit than an actor.

In general celebrities, but especially actors, have a higher awareness than their character counterparts, however some characters are more recognizable and appealing than their actors, and could be a perfect choice when they better fit the brand’s identity or campaign.

There are a few situations where it may be better to use a character, such as when the character is more recognizable, reaches a different demographic or has a higher appeal.

E-Poll is a great resource when determining the appeal, awareness, or any other demographic information about characters or their actors. This information includes 46 attributes, such as talented, stylish or rude, which can be attributed to any celebrity or character.

E-Scores allow marketers to understand how the celebrity or character resonates with a target market, and by using it we can determine how a character matches up to his/her actor.

One case where it may be better to use a character is if the character is more well-known or recognizable than the actor. There are instances where characters will have more exposure than actors.

For example, Harry Potter, Karate Kid and Kramer from Seinfeld are all more recognizable than Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Macchio and Michael Richards.

This heightened exposure often occurs with television characters or exceptionally popular, character-driven films. Most often, characters will have a similar level of awareness with their actors.

The actor’s image awareness drives up the total awareness of both, yet characters score more consistently with name and image recognition.

It is also possible that a character reaches a different audience or demographic than his/her actor, and thus may be a better fit for your brand. An obvious example would be that Joy, the animated character from Disney’s Inside Out, would be better to target children than Amy Poehler.

However, it is not always such a clear choice. Most characters don’t score as high on awareness and appeal than actors, but they can score higher on certain attributes.

For example, both Han Solo and Indiana Jones score higher on “approachable” than Harrison Ford. If specific characteristics are important in a celebrity for a campaign, some characters may score quite a bit higher than their actors.

Finally, the character may have a higher appeal than the actor. While this is not often the case, it does happen if a character is done well. For example, Ron Burgundy, Walter White, Jason Bourne and Carrie Bradshaw all have higher appeal than Will Ferrell, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Often characters who have higher awareness will also have higher appeal, such as Harry Potter, Karate Kid, Kramer and Gandalf. In this case, it could be better to use these characters, as they are often viewed as more likeable and have higher scores for “want to see more” among audiences and fans.

It can be difficult to decide whether to use a television or movie character for a campaign, but there are instances where the character is a better fit, while he/she also has higher appeal and/or awareness.

There are many cases of successful campaigns that used celebrities in character, and it is a great way to tie-in popular TV and film characters to your brand.

photo credit: blastr.com

Thanks to Randy Parker, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at E-Poll Market Research, for helping with this post.


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