Celebrity endorsements soar nearly 50% in 2011 Grammy Awards TV ads

MUMBAI: GreenLight, a global media licensing, talent negotiation and rights representation consultancy, today released the results of its annual GreenLight Ad Gauge of the 53rd annual Grammy Awards, revealing that the number of celebrity endorsements in the show’s ads have returned to pre-recession levels. Nearly one out of every four ads featured a celebrity endorsement, a 47% increase from last year and more than 250% increase from 2009 during the depths of the recession.
The 2011 analysis reveals that the stars are aligning with brands in ever-greater numbers as advertisers ramp up high profile entertainment collaborations in campaigns after the recession.
Key findings from GreenLight’s 2011 analysis include: 22% of 2011 show ads featured celebrity endorsements, a 47% increase from last year, and returning to pre-recession levels, 23% of ads featured licensed pop music, roughly flat for the past three years, 35% of ads featured some kind of entertainment element (either a celeb endorsement or licensed music), up from 26% of ads in 2010, star-powered brands included Ford, Chevy, Dodge, HP, CoverGirl, Olay, Target, Nintendo and Apple and star-studded ads featured the likes of Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Lopez, Nelly, Eminem, and Queen Latifah, as well as icons like Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Thomas Edison
"It looks like that at least in Hollywood the recession is over," said GreenLight vice president David Reeder. "As companies are looking for growth strategies as the economy starts to get stronger, brands appear to be collaborating with the entertainment industry more often than ever to engage consumers. The number of celebrity endorsements in TV ads during this year’s show was nearly the same as 2007, our highest year on record."
The Grammys – one of the highest rated TV specials each year – are generally watched by 20 to 25 million viewers with 30 second ad slots costing up to $1 million or more.
HP and Ford were among the winners that used celebrity endorsement and music in their ads this year. The hit ads helped position the brands with younger consumers by linking them to the likes of Nelly, Alicia Keys and alternative artist Jonsi (aka Jon Bor Birgisson).
"HP hit all the right notes using Alicia Keys in their straightforward but effective pitch for the association between their hardware and the wildly popular Beats audio system created in partnership with Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine," said Reeder. "In a world where Apple rules the wallets of many young computer purchasers, the youth-oriented Beats brand and Ms. Keys just might bring down the median age of HP buyers."
GreenLight said celeb-infused ads by Gillette Venus and Nintendo, which featured an animated Michael Jackson, were among those that missed the mark.
"Despite the undeniable, toe-tapping popularity of backing track Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, Nintendo’s spot for a new Michael-inspired music video game felt more sad than celebratory following the singer’s death just over 18 months ago," said Reeder. "Given the popularity of dance and music related game titles in recent years, this undoubtedly made sense on paper but the execution just left us wanting the original."