The Rock rules celebrity endorsements
Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s endorsement deal with Under Armour earned top ranking among best-matched celebrity brand partnerships in the fashion and retail sectors, according to a study from Spotted, the celebrity marketing company.
Under Armour’s partnership with The Rock earned perfect scores across four key measures:
- Personality Match: Johnson ranked highest among celebrity endorsers in confidence and toughness, and third highest in discipline. Those qualities match with Under Armour slogans such as “I will not be distracted” and “I will what I want.”
- Consumer Approval: Johnson ranks among the top-five celebrities in consumer approval, which reflects the positive impact of his work and career, famously uplifting attitude and heavy engagement in charitable causes. He appeared in the top ten most trusted and the top five most authentic celebrities.
- Audience Match: Age, gender and household income all align well between Under Armour’s target audience and Johnson’s fans.
- Risk assessment: Johnson’s only controversy is admitting to using steroids during his World Wrestling days but his work ethic, positive outlook and behavior have negated those issues.
Unfortunately, more than half the industry’s endorsements carry a risk score of 50 or above. The high frequency and severity of risky behavior by some celebrity endorsers has eroded consumer trust.
Over 75 percent of all endorsement deals in the fashion and retail industry also suffer from low consumer approval. Members of the Kardashian family and a few super models rank particularly low on approval and trust measures.
Luxury brands in tend to make weaker celebrity decisions than more mass-appeal consumer brands because they over-estimate the celebrity’s connections with their target audience and underestimate their risks.
“Luxury brands tend to be more dismissive of data than mass-market brands,” noted Spotted CEO Janet Comenos in the study. “The creative directors of these high-end labels tend to use celebrities as creative ‘muses,’ even if every indication shows that the celebrity is a poor choice.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice would do you have for best matching celebrities with the image and guiding tenants of retailers or brands in endorsement deals? What appear to be the most common missteps in assessing partners?