In Germany, TV show host Thomas Gottschalk and gummy candy maker Haribo are considered THE prime examples when it comes to successful celebrity endorsements. In recent years, large German retail companies like KiK, EDEKA and REWE also brought celebrity support on board. Well-known German celebrities like Verona Pooth, comedian Kaya Yanar and the German National Soccer Team all brought new faces to their respective companies.
Yet not every German celebrity automatically becomes a promising advertising face. German TV show host and journalist Günther Jauch and the boxing-champion brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko still managed to reveal strong advertising appeal and potential:”Especially Günther Jauch is by far the best in Germany and delivers an unmatched performance bar none. Needless to say, in individual cases the fit to the target audience, brand and product needs to be examined. Unfortunately, Mr. Jauch has not done any advertising for some time now”, knows Johanna Clary, Head of Business Development at cpi Celebrity Performance.
The Berlin consulting firm rates German celebrities based on their suitability as brand ambassadors and analyzes their overall advertising appeal as well as the brand and product fit in particular cases. The data flows into a ranking (cpi index), with which Clary and her colleagues consult companies from all industry sectors to determine which celebrities are suited for their planned marketing strategies. In addition, the celebrity performance in social networking websites is rated and compared to predict advertising effectiveness. "This way we are able to assess for instance whether a celebrity is suited for a viral campaign or not", Clary adds.
Image is crucial
Yet which factors determine whether a celebrity is a good endorsement or not? Especially likability and authenticity play an important role in this. Professor Gert Gutjahr, Managing Partner of the Mannheim Institute for Market Psychology (IFM MANNHEIM) points out that endorsements are meant to credibly recommend a product. Certain trustworthiness is essential. ”Thomas Gottschalk is Germany’s clown. He can make children and people in general laugh“, says Gutjahr. ”No wonder his endorsement works for Haribo, but not for DHL.“ Gottschalk has that certain something Gutjahr calls advertising credibility. This comes from Gottschalk’s personality and his image in public.
In May 2011, Clary and her colleagues were able to prove within the context of a landmark study that a positive celebrity image is the decisive factor for a successful endorsement. Active athletes rank on top in this instance. ”They are trustworthy and people expect further successes from them“, Clary explains. ”Once successful athletes have ended their career, their value generally also decreases.“ At that point, other factors determine whether the person still works for endorsements. After she ended her sports career, Steffi Graf was mainly perceived as a loving mother and wife. Her clean public image is therefore not comparable to Boris Becker for example, whose past athletic success was overshadowed by personal escapades.