Once upon a time, there was a little something called a “celebrity endorsement.” Circa 1950, red-lipped and bright-eyed movie stars would hold up a product to the camera, and tell you all the reasons you should buy it. While that might have been effective for the audiences of decades past, today, celebrity spots in advertising require a bit more creativity. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of companies with fun, fresh ideas about how to incorporate celebrities in their advertising to market effectively. 

Spark Curiosity and Maintain Attention

Perhaps the most effective celebrity-spot strategy is to use the individual’s appearance to spark curiosity in a way that maintains viewers’ attention. Recently, Heinz created an ad based on an actual DM they received from singer Ed Sheeran. 

The ad begins showing Ed Sheeran walking into a fancy restaurant, and we hear him say on a voiceover “So I have this idea for a commercial…” Through the voice-over narration, he proceeds to tell us about his order of “super fancy” food at this “super posh” place. (Ed Sheeran’s dubbed-in responses for the other characters also create a humorous effect.)

“You know, the food looked good,” Sheeran tells us, “I just thought there was something missing. So I reach into my bag and take out the only thing that can complete me. “

He whips out a bottle of Heinz ketchup.

“And at that point, the whole world came to a stop.”

The footage dramatically slows, the sounds deeper and more resonant. Horrified servers, customers, and even a wide-eyed Chihuahua, watch, petrified, as he pounds the ketchup onto his super fancy dish.

“And the waiter was screaming through his eyes.”

The world goes back to normal.

“Anyway, that’s my idea for a commercial. What do you think?”

We think it’s fantastic, Ed.

Utilize Viewers’ Natural Affinities

Another way to effectively incorporate celebrities into advertising is to exploit their fans’ natural affinities. Capital One effectively targeted Taylor Swift fans in their latest commercial for their Savor card this past week.

Taylor stars as a klutzy waitress and bartender, and Easter eggs were hidden throughout for her fans to find. (For those of you who are out of the pop culture loop, Taylor Swift has long engaged in the practice of hiding “Easter eggs” or clues about her upcoming music and collaborations, and the subjects of her love-sick ballads.) They also cleverly incorporated Taylor’s name and song titles into the language used describing the Savor card’s benefits. 

“Pay swiftly.” 

“4 % to shake it off.”

“4 % to see the real me!” 

Of course, Taylor Swift’s fans went nuts on Twitter, and the spot made headlines in various celebrity news publications. Kudos to Capital One for breaking into pop culture!

Celebrity Commercial Spots – Here to Stay

While celebrity commercial spots have changed drastically since their early days, this breed of marketing is still alive and well. We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these examples of how it can be effectively used to increase engagement, and remember – creativity is key!