Looking for a surefire popular celebrity endorser for your brand? It’s going to cost you, but Hugh Jackman and Kylie Minogue are your best bets, says a new study by Millward Brown.


The study, entitled ‘Cebra’ (celebrity + brand), identified three main celebrity personality types: ‘lovers of life’; clever and sensible ‘safe bets’; and thorough and laid back ‘solid males’.


The study matched celebrities with brands that represented similar values to consumers. As a ‘lover of life’, the Cebra study judged that Hugh Jackman’s personality aligns best with high energy brands such as Virgin Blue, Milo or Vodafone, while ‘safe bet’ Kylie Minogue would be a perfect match for “calm and collected” brands like Cadbury or Sunsilk.


If one company knows how to pick celebrities it’s Nintendo, with three of the Cebra Top 10 celebrities, Glenn McGrath, Rebecca Gibney and Olivia Newton John, featuring in recent Nintendo promotion.


“This kicked off in our US and UK operations a few years ago, and we thought it would be really good fun to do it in Australia,” Millward Brown chief client officer Daren Poole tells Marketing magazine. “We work with a lot of brands that pay a lot of money to use celebrities as a short cut to get engagement, so this study looks at the personalities of brands and celebrities to see who is well matched.”

Poole says 'Cebra' took in the opinions of a diverse sample of 2000 Australians, with ages ranging from 18 to 64.

“We tried to create a shortlist of 100 Australian celebrities,” Poole explains. “I thought it would be quite hard in Australia, but we ended up with 250 celebrities associated with brands we use everyday. We asked consumers to rate brands and celebrities based on familiarity, personal affinity with them, and what kind of media attention they received. We added in a couple of other elements we believed lead to a marketability dimension, like talent and potential to be a role model.”

Sometimes celebrities and brands that match in theory, however, aren’t always a prudent match in practice.

“If a brand is seen as quite old and stuffy, they might not want to match with the celebrity equivalent of that,” Poole tells Marketing magazine, “they might want to go with someone fresher to move their brand forward.”

This might help explain the anomaly that is Shane Warne; who gets a steady stream of endorsement work despite consumers judging him negatively.

“The thing about Warnie is he’s seen as a negative role model,” Poole explains. “But just because someone is negative doesn’t mean they can’t be associated with a brand. The brand owner does have to be more careful, though.”

Even with a stack of bad press and ‘sexploits’, the study found McDonalds partnership with Shane Warne is not surprising.

“Our data actually shows Shane Warne is a pretty good celebrity match for McDonalds, he matches up with fast food, beer and energy drink companies.”

Nevertheless, Poole says marketers should add “an awful lot of common sense” to making any decision with celebrity endorsement.
 

The Top 10 Most Powerful Celebrities by Cebra score are:
Hugh Jackman
Kylie Minogue
Nicole Kidman
Jennifer Hawkins
Glenn McGrath
Hamish Blake and Andy Lee (duo)
Rebecca Gibney
Olivia Newton John
Pat Rafter, and
Guy Sebastian.


Top 10 Positive Celebrity Role Models
Hugh Jackman
Pat Rafter
Rebecca Gibney
Geoff Huegill
Andrew Gaze
Olivia Newton John
Glenn McGrath
Jennifer Hawkins
Kylie Minogue, and
Roger Federer.


Sportsmen feature prominently in the ranking of positive role models, taking five of the Top 10 spots. Topping the list on the other side of the spectrum is actor Matthew Newton who ranks as Australia’s top negative role model following a tumultuous few years played out in the public eye. Matthew’s personal issues see him lead a list of controversial celebrities including Ben Cousins and Shane Warne. 

 

Top 10 Negative Celebrity Role Models
Matthew Newton
Sam Newman
Kyle Sandilands
Ben Cousins
Lara Bingle
Tiger Woods
Shane Warne
Sophie Monk
Lleyton Hewitt, and
Jackie O.


The Millward Brown Cebra study also reveals consumers’ Top 10 favourite brands, a mix of local and international brands, from grocery to retail:
Cadbury
Target
Vegemite
Subway
Coca-Cola
Coles
Milo
K-Mart
Woolworths, and
Apple.
 
Three main brand personalities were identified in the Cebra research: ‘Calm and collected’ brands such as Target, Subway and Vegemite; ‘high energy’, active brands such as Coca-Cola, Milo and Apple; and ‘everyday’ brands such as Coles, Woolworths, and the big four banks.