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Brands enlisting celebrities to endorse their products isn’t anything new. Whether it be Babe Ruth and Red Rock Cola in the 1930’s, Nike’s collaboration with Michael Jordan in the 80’s, or the (seemingly) less successful Pepsi and Kendall Jenner link-up in recent years – they’ve all been attracted to the lucrative upside of celebrity star power.
A successful collaboration can provide dividends for a brand well-beyond the money invested — adding buzz, glamour, and credibility to the brand, while simultaneously acting as a shortcut to it. There’s no better example of this than Just Eat’s recent campaign fronted by Snoop Dogg.
On a global stage, there aren’t many ambassadors who are as synonymous with their partnered brand as George Clooney — the “face of Nespresso” for over 15 years. But, a challenger — in the form of fellow Hollywood leading man Brad Pitt — has arrived to take his coffee crown, spearheading a new campaign launch from De’Longhi (an Italian-headquartered appliance manufacturer).
What did consumers think of the partnership? We put it to the test using our three C’s framework:
Brad Pitt is no stranger to the advertising limelight, and his new partnership with De’Longhi was met with overwhelming positivity. While inherently the center of attention, crucially he didn’t detract from the underlying message — the cinematography (with award winning talent behind it) also drew people in and kept them engaged right through to the crescendo featuring a perfectly crafted cup of coffee. Brad’s calm and confident demeanor, alongside the relaxed tone of the ad, laddered up to feelings of warmth and comfort — the exact qualities that make for a great coffee experience.
While a new partnership is always going to take time before brands start seeing a material payoff from their investment, early signs suggest that this first outing for Brad and De’Longhi makes for a ‘perfetto’ collaboration. Importantly, Brad’s presence, like all good celebrity partnerships, piqued viewers’ curiosity and prompted them to want to find out more — “Not every coffee brand has Brad Pitt announcing it!”. Importantly, the credibility and fit of Brad’s involvement wasn’t called into question.
The ad emphasized the soothing qualities of a crafted coffee, with relaxation being an association transferred over to the brand. Alongside this, people perceived De’Longhi to be modern, sophisticated, and high-quality. While the mood created by the production qualities and audio played a big part in driving this, Brad’s starring appearance can’t be underestimated. By presenting Brad as going about his day like any other (relatively) ordinary citizen — instead of glamorizing him through the Hollywood high life — it ensured the messaging was delivered in a credible and relevant way.
Celebrity ambassadors are effective primarily because of their recognizability. And, while that might sound obvious, it’s an important insight into human psychology – people trust faces they’re familiar with, regardless of whether it’s a close friend or their favorite movie star. Utilizing a familiar face personifies the brand and gives it authenticity. However, that doesn’t mean a celebrity is right for everyone — nor is it a silver bullet which guarantees success (like we’ve written about many times before). Regardless of the celebrity, brand, or budget, there’s just as much chance of such endorsements falling flat and being an expensive failure.
When bringing together a brand and celebrity, there has to be sufficient synergy between people’s perceptions of the two – their personalities more akin to the ingredients of a close-knit friendship; a balance where neither party overshadows the other. Brad Pitt and De’Longhi appear to be on the path to forming that connection, with his charisma and allure — along with authenticity and relatability — well-matched to the moment of perfection De’Longhi aims to bring to people’s life through a great cup of coffee.
This is a self-funded case study using our Ad Testing solution.