Resources for Celebrity Marketing: Part Two


Confirm your “gut instincts” with quantitative data from those who matter most.

As mentioned in Part One, the process of choosing a celebrity for a marketing campaign is not simple. The Burns Celebrity Vault allows us to put together a list of viable celebrities, but once this list is created, we need a way to determine which celebrity may be best for a marketing campaign. In doing so, we can help to make sure the heavy price tag does not get wasted on someone who is relatively unfavorable or disliked.

An E-Score is a way to measure the relative marketing effectiveness of an individual celebrity. Essentially, this score allows us to determine how marketable a celebrity may be based on how he/she is viewed by the general public. Each celebrity is given a number based on their appeal, awareness and up to 46 different attributes. In using this number, we are able to compare a list of celebrities and see which is the most marketable.

First, a celebrity is measured based on their awareness. This is first divided between male, female and both, which allows you to see the difference in awareness based on gender. This could be extremely important if your campaign is directed towards a specific group of people.

Awareness is then further broken down into name, face and total. So for example, if you want to know how many males recognize Justin Bieber based solely on his face, E-Score can give you an exact percentage.

The second factor taken to account when calculating an E-Score is appeal, or how the respondent generally feels about the celebrity. This is broken down into six categories: like a lot, like, like somewhat, dislike somewhat, dislike and dislike a lot. Similarly to awareness, these are further broken down by name, face and total.

Through an algorithm, the awareness and appeal scores are weighted and then set against other celebrities to create the E-Score. In this way, the E-Score works like a percentage. If a celebrity has an E-Score of 98, they are in the 98th percentile.

E-Score also factors in attributes for each celebrity. Each respondent is given 46 different attributes and asked to choose any that relate to the celebrity in question. From there, we are able to get a better, more specific picture of how the celebrity is viewed.

For example, Taylor Swift’s top five attributes are talented, attractive, stylish, over-exposed and beautiful. Each attribute is given as a percentage to tell us how many respondents felt the celebrity possessed that attribute.

E-Scores should be used for two purposes: to confirm your formal list of viable celebrities and to guarantee your first choice will be agreeable to an audience and good to promote your brand. E-Score is a guideline to determine how people relate to the celebrity and whether or not this aligns with what your brand is trying to accomplish with the campaign.

While E-Scores can be extremely helpful, they are limited if you miss identifying ALL the potential celebrities within your budget. In many cases, a celebrity with a slightly lower score may be a better fit with your brand than one with an extremely high score. Just because a celebrity has a lower awareness or appeal does not necessarily mean they would be the wrong choice.

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Celebrity Selection Made Easy for Marketing Campaigns

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Create an emotional connection and help drive future purchase using an unbiased celebrity selection process.

The Planning Cycle

As part of the normal planning cycle, agencies should be briefed a year or more in advance. Before you begin the celebrity selection process, brand teams must first seek to identify business, marketing and communication objectives, as well as communication channels.

Then work begins on budgets and campaign ideas. Agencies will often present a big brand idea along with a 360 plan for execution.

More often than not, campaigns using celebrities are created outside the normal planning cycle. This may be due to a changing business goal, a big idea presenting itself, or something that happens to a particular celebrity making them timely and extremely appropriate for your brand.

Outside the planning cycle will take much less time to develop, typically no more than a couple months or as short as a few weeks.

Brand Criteria

Important brand criteria for celebrity selection would involve fit with the brand equity (the commercial value from consumer perception of the brand name), strategy and target audience.

The ability to create public relations buzz and media placements extends the campaign reach.

Leveraging social media, public relations, trade, customers, internet, promotions, digital and advertising creates a 360 campaign likely to reach your target audience.

Desired Attributes

There are many attributes brands should consider including but not limited to: credibility, widely recognized, on-going visibility during the campaign, likeability and little or no negative baggage or reputation issues.

The key to maximizing positive demand is proper matching of the endorser’s persona to the product attributes. Celebrities can have a positive impact on sales, even when an intuitive fit between persona and product is not initially apparent (i.e. Bill Cosby/Jell-O).

Research and Narrowing Your Celebrity List

Typically, online consumer panels or focus groups are used to help identify celebrities. More in-depth quantitative research should be done, yet is underutilized.

Use E-Poll, social media, book sales, blog reviews, network ratings for starters. Also use visibility from recent career projects and scheduled projects during your campaign. Consider if the celebrity is “over-exposed” from other endorsement deals. All of these tools will help to narrow the number of potential celebrities who fit.

E-Poll provides the kind of timely celebrity information you need to make a wise choice. It includes a wide range of statistics to determine a celebrity’s marketability in regards to your target audience.

Budget Narrows Celebrity List Further

A good starting place is roughly 5 percent of your total media spend. This ballpark percentage should be enough to secure the right celebrity that will appeal to your target audience. This rule of thumb usually lessens as brands spend more on media.


Reach out to celebrity agents on your final list before making an offer. Inquire about potential availability during key moments of your campaign. Working with athletes in-season or actors filming movies and television episodes require much more date flexibility on your part.

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