LOS ANGELES – Beyonce signed to a $50 million multi-year contract to push Pepsi. David Beckham is said to have inked a $150 million lifetime deal to flack for Adidas. Brad Pitt pocketed a rumored $6.7 million to shoot a single campaign for Chanel No. 5.
But more and more research says this is money down the drain for these companies.
A new study from WP Engine, the Word Press hosting platform for companies like SoundCloud, Foursquare and Williams-Sonoma, found that 96 percent of Americans say they don’t want to read about stars plugging products. The survey of 1,000 Americans was made in an effort to determine what types of content consumers want to see directly from brands, and how they want it presented.
The biggest problems with celebrity attempts to influence purchasing decisions? Lack of trust, and oversaturation.
“Celebrities believe products are the next natural progression in their careers – which is a big mistake,” observed Alex Shvarts of digital marketing firm SimplyMint. “Because so many celebrities have pushed products, the business model has become an underperformer. The audience is more intrigued about the lives of celebrities, and even more about their shortcomings, and not what cereal they eat. This is a direct result of over-saturation of celebrity-endorsed products. Everyone knows it is not sincere. It is paid-for promos.”
Shvarts said Americans are instead now paying more attention to product reviews on sites like Yelp and making decisions based on that information.
It seems problems also arise when stars align themselves with media opportunities outside of their established brands. Take the much talked about April Vogue cover starring Kanye West and fiancé Kim Kardashian, aka Kimye.
Sales for the issue are being estimated to be lower than expected. The numbers fell lower than both Beyonce and Michelle Obama’s covers in 2013, based on Mag Net data reported by the NY Post.
“Vogue and Kimye couldn’t be more awkwardly paired brands. The partnership seemed like a staged and desperate attempt for Vogue to regain its cultural relevance, but it left most people cringing. Both brands are polar opposites in the minds of the consumer. Vogue is considered to be intelligent and sophisticated, whereas Kimye is seen more as freedom loving and passionate,” Sehdev explained. “Anna Wintour’s intention was to generate buzz and leverage the halo effect of the couple’s popularity, but generating buzz alone is no longer enough to influence audience’s to purchase products.”
A rep for Conde Nast told FOX411 that they never comment on sales figures.
But Ronn Torossian, CEO of New York-based firm 5WPR, argues that while the power of celebrity to drive sales may be dimming, it is still a tried-and-true tactic.
“I doubt that there will ever be a time where people don’t pay attention to what celebrities do,” he added. “While I do believe celebrity influence is waning, I do not believe it will ever disappear. Fame continues on – although more people than ever before will have their 15 minutes of fame.”
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