Celebrities Warm Up To A Dying Medium: 30-Second Spots

NYTimes runs a story about stars warming up to 30-second television spots:

About 20 percent of ads in the United States feature celebrities, up from closer to 10 percent only a decade ago, said Hamish Pringle, director general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in Britain, an industry group for British ad agencies, and the author of the book “Celebrity Sells.” “That old stigma that celebrities were selling out by doing a commercial has gone by the wayside,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, the chief executive and creative officer of the Kaplan Thaler Group, an ad agency owned by the Publicis Groupe. “The days of Brad Pitt doing a commercial in Japan that he thought no one was going to see are gone.”

It’s interesting how celebrity brands are warming up to a communications vehicle which is eroding in relevance and effectiveness, at least for the brands that are addicted to them. Perhaps they are lured by the lucrative payments (a few million bucks for a few days of work). As for the brands, I guess they simply need, more and more, the cache of celebrities to maximize otherwise diminishing effectiveness of 30-second spots. But when will these arbitrary paid-for endorsements of this nature backfire? They’re so inauthentic. Why not tap into real endorsements?

And, despite A-list celebrity ads becoming more commonplace, one of the first of the Oscar-winning converts is out. T-Mobile said last month that it would not renew its contract next year with its celebrity spokeswoman, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Peter Dobrow, a T-Mobile spokesman, said the company would instead focus its ads on everyday people.

From stars to musicians:

Musicians are also showing a new willingness to perform their music in commercials. Last spring, Shakira released a new song to Verizon Wireless users that they alone could listen to on their phones for two months

New willingness among musicians? My father, a successful television composer, began playing in television commercials in the 1970s! Press Play below to see him play the Moog in this awesome Schafer beer commercial. There’s a little bit of commentary in the beginning by Bob Moog, inventor of the synthesizer, but then the best-ever 30-second spot will play.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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