Do Celebrity Endorsements Work?

By Loyd McIntosh

The Chicago Tribune published a story recently regarding the rush by companies every four years to throw wads of cash at Olympic athletes. Call me cynical, but I can’t think of a single time I’ve ever purchased a product based on a celebrity endorsement. At least not solely on a celebrity endorsement. Seriously, though, perhaps I’m just cynical, but I’ve never been a big fan of celebrity endorsements. You’re always one mugshot, failed drug test, or false police report away from a PR disaster. Ryan Lochte anyone?

Regardless, many companies swear by them, even if the psychology and expert opinion on them is murky at best. While the general consensus in the Tribune article suggests celebrity endorsements can be successful to a point, this article from a 2011 issue of Forbes suggests if your products or service is strong, save your money. (Frankly, this is my opinion as well). Still, when they go well, (watch the Wheaties ad above for an example), it’s hard to argue against, although I’m not sure I’ve bought a box of Wheaties in at least 20 years.

What do you think? Do celebrity endorsements work? Have you ever purchased a product or service based on a celebrity endorsement? Let us know your thoughts.