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Do consumers trust celebrity endorsements anymore? New research takes a look

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Public Relations

Celebrities and product advertising have been matched together since the ancient days of marketing. Authenticity wasn’t a big concern back in the day—it was just the way things were done, and often with great results. Whether it was the endorsement or the sheer visibility that moved the needle is a discussion for another day, but a large part of the ad industry is still built around this pairing, although with diminishing impact on an integrity-starved digital culture.

When influencers arrived on the scene, they brought the welcome fresh air of credibility. It was real people sharing honest opinions about brands and products—at first. But advertisers started seeing dollar signs, and influencer marketing became big business, for better or worse. The influencers themselves started to become social media celebrities. And then the real celebrities wanted a piece of the action, and … well, soon it was hard to tell where the real-person influence ended and the traditional product-endorsement advertising began—and the authenticity became even more questionable.

So here we are—and still trying to figure out the difference

When influencer/celeb Paris Hilton was recently announced as the ambassador for WOW Vegas, reactions flew all over the social media world. This prompted casino and sportsbook reviews provider Casino.org to dig deep into America’s sentiments on celebrity endorsements with a nationwide survey to discover their reasons why, and which industries are most likely to get a golden seal of approval (or an eye-roll).

Key findings of the research:

  • 60.7 percent of 3,000 consumers surveyed said they trust brands less when they use celebrity endorsements 
  • Why? 81.8 percent believe celebrity brand deals lack credibility
  • The fashion industry ranks #1 for celebrity endorsement approval (in trust), followed by music (2nd) and beauty (3rd)
  • The gambling industry ranks as the least trusted industry for celebrity brand deals, followed by finance and technology 

This finding that a significant 6 in 10 Americans express diminished trust in brands employing celebrity endorsement indicates a desire for greater authenticity in marketing

Despite arguments for increased sales and customer attraction, a definitive 81.8 percent perceive these endorsements as lacking credibility. Reasons cited include disliking the chosen celebrity ambassador (6.7 percent), distrust in the brand’s marketing strategy (7.3 percent), and finding the tactic meaningless (4.1 percent). 

Conversely, among the 39.3 percent who do trust brands more with celebrity endorsements, personal affinity for the featured celebrity ranks as the top reason (37.4 percent), followed by trust in the brand’s marketing choices (24.6 percent), and belief in the endorsement’s credibility and authenticity (23.3 percent).

Fashion, music, and beauty take center stage in the latest celebrity endorsement rankings

Fashion reigns supreme with a resounding 42.1 percent approval rate, showcasing iconic collaborations like Rihanna and Louis Vuitton’s Men Spring Summer ’24 endorsement. Following closely behind, the music industry hits a high note with 34.7 percent of the vote, exemplified by partnerships like Taylor Swift and Drake’s Apple Music commercial. In the beauty sector, celebrities like Kendall Jenner endorse products, reinforcing the industry’s solid 34.6 percent approval rating. However, the gambling industry struggles with only a 2.3 percent approval rate, despite notable endorsements from Cristiano Ronaldo, Nicki Minaj, and Drake.

So what have we learned?

With the growing influence of establishing consumer trust driving many purchase decisions these days, authenticity remains essential in the business and marketing realm. These findings reveal the importance of selecting relevant celebrities as brand ambassadors to build trust and avoid skepticism among consumers. 

celebrity endorsements

Read more about the research here.

In February 2024, the company conducted a nationwide survey of 3,000 US residents. The average age of respondents was 40.2 years old. The representative sample was comprised of 58.2 percent female, 39.1 percent male, 2.1 percent non-binary, 0.5 percent transgender, and 0.1 percent ‘other’. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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