Head & Shoulders Insures Troy Polamalu’s Hair


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Conventional wisdom holds that celebrity endorsements are a simple and effective way to increase advertising effectiveness; however a new study by Ace Metrix reveals that ‘celebrity ads do not perform any better than non-celebrity ads, and in some cases perform much worse.’? This claim seems outrageous since some brands spend billions of dollars on such endorsements, but the study does acknowledge that ‘celebrity endorsements can be quite compelling given the right creative and contextual conditions.’? That statement is vague, but also critical, because I don’t mean for my reader to ascertain that celebrity ads are altogether ineffective’?¬¶ just some of them.

What about the beauty and cosmetics industry that relies on a pretty and relatable spokesmodel (hence the appeal of celebrities)? I looked at some current celebrity spokesmodels, such as Taylor Swift, who recently became the fresh face of CoverGirl’s newest product line, NatureLuxe. Her first CoverGirl commercial, released this January, exposes her glamorous side as she promotes the new NatureLuxe products. Posted on YouTube January 5th, the commercial already has 115 comments from viewers weighing in on the new ad. Some comments include:


‘I like Taylor but I don’t like the commercial, she tries too hard’?

‘I love Taylor Swift, but her dancing was horrible’?

‘She just looks so…expressionless.’?

Poor T-Swift, but she’s not the only CoverGirl spokesmodel whose commercial has been met with some dismay. Drew Barrymore starred in the ‘Get Your Look on Track’? CoverGirl commercial, which according to the Ace Metrix study, weighed in as the 11th most disappointing celebrity ad. In fact, the ad had a -20% lift, which means it performed 20% worse than its industry competition. On the other hand, a recent Head & Shoulders commercial featuring Troy Polamalu ranked as the 7th most effective celebrity ad with a 17% lift. In the commercial, the football champ is in the locker room after a game when his teammate accuses him of using his Head & Shoulders shampoo. The 20-second ad is quick, informative and funny, with Troy’s curly locks quickly growing to 5x their original volume as he continually denies using the thickening shampoo.

The Ace Metrix study comes to the conclusion that there are a few key factors that must be balanced for celebrity ads to be successful including information levels, creative advertising such as humor, and purpose. With the current digital and social media environment, today’s consumer is more informed than ever before, and therefore conventional wisdom does not always apply. Brands need to be even more creative and tactical to captivate this new consumer. I think that Head & Shoulder’s commercial is hilarious and original, and for this reason I will fondly remember the product for a few more days’?¬¶but Taylor Swift’s awkward dance moves are already gone from my memory (almost).

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