• Levi D'Amato

Celebrity Influence on Consumerism

In today’s world, we can all agree that social media is among the most influential forms of communication and sharing. Celebrities especially have a massive voice. Take Kim Kardashian as an (extreme) example. Lately Kim Kardashian has been making headlines for her pursuit of social justice. Her voice in the media has allowed the release of multiple prisoners, and she has also reached the Oval Office with her requests. While this is a major role for a fashion influencer to play in our world, Kardashian has also sent waves across the international community. When an ethnic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan reignited last summer, Kardashian was quick to express her support for Armenia. For some, the power celebrities hold can be scary. In the past, news was always given to us by “experts” and “analysts”. The fact that a model or actor/actress can sway global support for international conflicts and issues can be mind-blowing and scary for some.

While celebrities might not be the most insightful when it comes to world conflicts, this article is meant to analyze celebrities and their influence on consumerism. The example that comes to mind is Oprah Winfrey and the cattle industry. In 1996, Oprah aired a show following a breakout of mad cow disease. On the show she stated that the breakout “has stopped me cold from eating another burger. I’m stopped”. The Texas cattle industry filed a lawsuit against Winfrey for 10 million dollars due to the negative effects her show had on the cattle industry. Although Winfrey had just shared her opinion, the cattle industry felt that she had caused a major shift in the consumer attitude towards beef. Although Winfrey won the lawsuit, it still shows the power celebrities like her hold over the public. Nowadays, celebrities are involved in almost every single advertising campaign. This is quite a revelation compared to the past. It used to be frowned upon for a famous actor or actress to appear in an ad on TV. In fact, if popular actors were struggling financially, they would film commercials in other countries to avoid scrutiny.

With the shift towards growing celebrity influence in the past two decades, companies and businesses should be more aware of their effects on consumerism. Celebrities can be used as an asset now, and testimonials make an impact. Now, the usage of celebrities in advertising should be as efficient as possible. This means that as a businessperson or entrepreneur, you should prioritize associating names with brands. For instance, when I think of Capital One, Samuel L. Jackson comes to mind. And when I think of State Farm, I think of Aaron Rodgers. The public looks up to celebrities and athletes, and seeing them in advertisements gives us a sense of comfort. While it isn’t logical, it makes perfect sense. Another important aspect is making sure that your celebrity testimonials make sense. Take skin care for example. Most skin care commercials feature an attractive actor/actress who are usually on the older side. The idea is that they are proof that this skin care or moisturizer can make you appear younger. While these actors and actresses are the outliers, they paint a favorable picture of the product.

Overall, we need to be mindful of the effects of celebrity influence on consumers. While social media doesn’t completely dictate our purchasing habits, it definitely plays a massive role. This can only grow as the digital world expands as well. While companies might want to use this to their advantage, consumers should be aware and make sure they aren’t misled by this form of advertising.

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