New research out this week surveyed marketers to explore the roles of celebrities in cause-marketing efforts, and the findings indicate that while these spokespeople often help raise awareness of a cause, they are not particularly effective in inspiring people to act. According to survey, the majority of respondents (about 58%) indicate a celeb’s tie to a cause may motivate them to look into the cause, but not necessarily become involved. Cone’s own consumer research found that Americans cite celebrity involvement as one of the least effective communication tools for nonprofits to reach them–specifically, it ranked No. 9 on a list of 10 (falling well behind such preferred methods as word-of-mouth and media coverage). And, only 15 percent of Americans said celebrities are likely to influence their decision to support a cause or charity.
Yet, that is not to say that star power can’t be an important asset. Consider the (RED) campaign’s more than $60 million raised to-date for the Global Fund which can be attributed in-part to Bono and his famous friends, or the success of Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG campaign to fight cancer, including sales of his yellow wristband (reaching 55 million sold in 2005). These two campaigns led the pack as the Celebrity Cause Marketing Survey’s most memorable celebrity campaigns. The celebrities involved in these issues sustain our interest, gain real respect and ultimately advance support for the cause, because they are authentic (often involves a deep personal connection to the cause and willingness to share a personal story), long-term (commitment extends beyond one day, one event or one media tour) and particularly generous (includes significant personal donations of money, time and fame or access).
- Lance Armstrong LiveStrong 15.90%
- Bono (Product) Red 10.90%
- Angelina Jolie UNICEF 4.50%
- Al Gore Global Warming 4.00%
- Brad Pitt Katrina/New Orleans Rebuild 3.50%