Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Celebrate the Celebrity Appeal

Why would somebody pay £78,000—about $126,000 in the U.S.—for a dress designed by a woman who works in an aquarium and whose name is certainly not well-known inside or outside fashion circles? The answer is that the dress was worn by someone whose name has celebrity-quality recognition: Kate Middleton, who is due to soon marry Prince William in Westminster Abbey.
     The phenomenon is nothing new. In year 2004, an eBay buyer dropped more than $15,000 for a gob of gum chewed by Britney Spears. Somebody paid $48,875 for Jackie Kennedy’s tape measure, and a year ago last November, convicted swindler Bernie Madoff’s blue Mets jacket, looking very much the same as many other blue Mets jackets, sold for $14,500.
     Consider the ways you can use the celebrity appeal to improve your profitability:
  • Celebrity appearances at special events held at your store or at your retail center
  • Photos posted in your store of past visits by celebrities
  • Store endorsements by people well-known in your community
  • Brand names and models associated with celebrity names
     Researchers at Yale University and Israel’s Bar-Ilan University explored the shopper psychology behind the phenomenon. They asked study participants how much they’d like to own specified common artifacts like clothing and furniture that had previously been used by celebrities or non-celebrities. Some of the celebrity names were well-regarded. George Clooney, for instance. Others had a less positive reputation. Saddam Hussein, for example.
     As expected, the participants assigned higher value to celebrity-associated items. When the association was with a well-regarded name, the consumers’ explanation was prestige by physical association. The consumers felt they could actually absorb some of the remnants of the original owner. The study participants said that if the item had been thoroughly cleaned, it was nowhere near as valuable to them. On the other hand, if purchase of the item was with a condition it could not be resold, this didn’t decrease the attractiveness much at all.
     With the negatively regarded celebrities, like Madoff and Hussein, the effect was reversed. Sterilization of the item before purchase was all to the good. But prohibitions on resale dramatically decreased the valuation by the consumers in the study. Here the purchase was being made as an investment.
     It seems that shoppers would be more tempted to put Britney Spear’s gum inside their mouth than to run Saddam Hussein’s sweater against their cheek.

Click below for more:
Select Celebrity Endorsers Who Have Credibility
Consider Publicizing Your Rascal Image

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