GroupM tracks celebrity endorsements with ‘CelebZ’

MUMBAI: Media planning outfit GroupM has launched CelebZ, a tool that allows marketers to zero in on the celebrities who have the strongest appeal within their specific target segment and the best fit with their brands.

Covering 86 celebrities ranging across varied fields, straddling the North, West, East, TN, AP and coupled with 22 product categories encompassing 140 brands, CelebZ is the first and most comprehensive study of its kind not only in India, but across the Asia Pacific.

Fieldwork done by IMRB across a sample of 2800 across 14 cities in India, gives a thorough representation of the entire country. Fusion of data from 3D/TGI onto the CelebZ database provides a wealth of attitudinal, lifestyle and media information further increasing the magnitude of possibilities emerging out of it.

The study measures the overall size and nature of the relationship that consumers have with a celebrity and thereby creates his or her equity pyramid. The top most level of the pyramid, the ‘mScore’, conclusively determines the strength of the celeb’s pull in the consumer’s mind.

Six dimensions from human personality and research tests conducted by Millward Brown form the basis for creating the persona of the celebrities in terms of 12 positive and 12 negative traits. This helps identify ‘fits’ between brands and celebrities.

On the basis of mScores, CelebZ classifies celebrities into Platinum, Gold and Silver. Expectedly the highest mScores lie more in the top film and cricket stars. GroupM clarifies that the five Platinum celebs constitute about 40 per cent of the industry’s current celeb endorsement value. If one includes the 17 Gold celebs, the top celeb endorsement value goes up 80 per cent.

However, brands looking at more focused audiences and specific brand tasks would do better by looking at the remaining Silver stars who, span across small screen, other sports and varied fields along with film and cricket. In fact, there are many stars who, though in the Silver category actually outdo the Platinum stars on specific persona traits. Taking them as the brand endorsers would address the brand’s need far more effectively, than picking up the Platinum / Gold celebs.

This study also throws up some surprises. Some stars who have arguably been out of the limelight still carry residual star power. GroupM also demonstrated that the choice of celebs for brands with niche audiences and highly differentiated imagery would be very different from that of mass brands. Further this tool has the potential to throw light on how celeb usage can be optimized creatively.

With over Rs 2.50 billion (Rs 250 crores) being spent in the celeb endorsement space, coupled with the huge cost of media using the celebrity endorsed communication, CelebZ may well be a much needed weapon for marketers.

GroupM, South Asia COO Vikram Sakhuja said, “Brand building is becoming more challenging by the day. Celebrities have the potential to grow brands in a discontinuous manner. Unfortunately this important space is being handled in an ad hoc manner today. CelebZ is an important step towards bringing science and accountability to this space. I believe this will help brands not only select celebrities more intelligently, but also harness their star power better for their brands.”

“The study was championed by GroupM’s Insights division, whose challenge is to unearth fresh and unique insights which bring significant improvement in communication planning for our brands. 3D, our proprietary research, is already a currency amongst our clients. We believe CelebZ will be one more important tool to deliver more insightful solutions,” he added.

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