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NPD Reports on Consumer Response to Celebrity Endorsements: Who's Hot and Who's Not in Celebrity Advertising.

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -- Some celebrities are famous; others are infamous. While a celebrity alone won't sell a product, the "right" celebrity may help grab the attention of some consumers who may have otherwise not noticed a product. On the other hand, choosing the "wrong" celebrity or sports figure may have a negative effect on the consumers' perceptions of the brand or product. A new report by leading consumer and retail information company The NPD Group, sheds light on those celebrities that consumers like seeing in ads and those they don't.

Celebrity Purchase Influence

Of all celebrities tested, home improvement guru Ty Pennington ranks the highest on positive purchase impact among consumers who know each celebrity. In addition, Olympic medalist Summer Sanders, James Earl Jones, Emeril Lagasse and Carlos Santana also have strong influences on consumer purchasing for the products they represent. While these spokespersons may not have the highest overall awareness levels* or be recalled as pitching the most brands or products, they are very effective in leveraging their fame to increase the purchase intent of consumers who know them.

Conversely, Kobe Bryant, Donald Trump, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith are all celebrities with very high overall recall or ad awareness** among consumers. However, they appear to have a negative influence on purchasing. In these cases, consumers saying the celebrity's association with a product makes them less likely to purchase outnumber those who say it makes them more likely to buy.

A celebrity's integrity and credibility are key elements of an effective celebrity endorsement. Lance Armstrong, George Foreman and Kirstie Alley all score highly among NPD's list of celebrities as being "someone I trust." As one consumer commented, "I believe Kirstie Alley is working hard to lose weight, that George Foreman knows about healthy grilling, and that Ty Pennington knows his way around home improvement - they are all believable."

On the other hand, celebrities in ads for products they don't actually appear to use or believe in spells big trouble. As another consumer stated, "They tend to appear fake or rehearsed. I wonder if they actually use the product."

"Celebrities appearing in endorsements or advertisements for a product is like a double-edge sword. They can cut through the clutter of competition, but they can also cut the brand power in half. If the wrong celebrity is used, or the celebrity does something to disenchant the public, then their association with a brand can backfire. Marketers need to choose wisely, since today's hot celebrity can become tomorrow's worst marketing nightmare," said chief industry analyst, Marshal Cohen.

Celebrity Attributes

--George Foreman has the highest endorsement/ad awareness

--Among those aware of each celebrity:
-- Martha Stewart ranks highest with consumers saying she "is
 in too many ads"

 -- Kirstie Alley tops the ranks with consumers saying, "I
 like to see in ads"

 -- Lance Armstrong ranks highest with consumers as "someone I
 trust"


Source: NPD Celebrity Influence Study

*Awareness: Percentage of total respondents who say they have heard of a specific celebrity or sports figure

**Endorsement/Advertising Awareness: Percentage of total respondents who say they have seen/heard a specific celebrity in advertising for any product or brand in the past three months (July/August/September 2005)

About The Study

The survey was administered to a nationally representative sample of 11,000 adults and teens ages 13+, selected from NPD's online consumer panel. It was fielded from September 22 to 29, 2005. A total of 3,241 completed surveys were included in the analysis.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

Since 1967 The NPD Group has provided reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,400 manufacturers and retailers rely on NPD to help them better understand their customers, product categories, distribution channels and competition in order to help guide their businesses. Information from The NPD Group is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, software, sports, technology distribution channel, toys and wireless. For more information, visit www.npd.com.
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