Celebrity products are nothing new. But in this digital age, celebrity backing can lead to products becoming viral and selling out instantly, particularly when supported by social listening. Here’s how it looks and why every brand, including celebrity-backed concerns, will want to capture every bit of insight it offers.
Maintaining Product Amplification & Love
Social listening helps amplify any product’s messaging, but with celebrity items, brands are often able to create a purchase frenzy. Understanding shifting sentiment is the key to maintaining that momentum and can mean the difference between generating exceptional sales – and selling out in minutes.
Marketing celebrity products may seem easier – and it is, in a sense. The awareness is there. But celebrity status also puts these items (and companies) under greater scrutiny.
The public is obsessed with the glamorous, and not so glamorous, celebrity lifestyle and can be just as eager to see someone crash and burn as they are to help their favorites succeed. So, staying in consumers’ good graces can be even more crucial for celebrity products than the typical company. Take cosmetics, for example. And who better than self-made millionaire (now billionaire) extraordinaire, Kylie Jenner.
Celebrity Product #1: Kylie Cosmetics (Kylie Jenner)
There’s a fine line between sharing too much and too little about one’s personal life as a celebrity. Kylie Jenner walks this line with aplomb. She shares just enough about her family to make everything she does a potential trend. From plumping her lips, resulting in the launch of her super successful cosmetics line, to a silly little eight-second clip of Kylie singing to her daughter, resulting in sold-out hoodie sales containing the phrase:
Brands would be mistaken to chalk this up entirely to name recognition. Her team undoubtedly kept close tabs on what was trending around it from the time it hit TikTok. She both accepted and helped amplify others mimicking her song – folks who were more likely mocking her than supporting her. And was able to direct the narrative, and consumers, toward wanting to get in on the trend.
The hoodies didn’t just sell out, they sold out in minutes.
Celebrity Product #2: Honest Company (Jessica Alba)
Getting in on a trend before it’s ‘trendy’ is every brand’s dream. And Jessica Alba hit the jackpot with The Honest Company.
“When our founder couldn’t find one brand to trust for all her everyday needs, she had to create it. And she knew that there had to be others out there looking for safe products, simple solutions and clear information about their choices, just like her. If you want trusted, effective products that work for your family, your home and yourself, you’re Honest, too.”
It’s almost as if she was using our next generation AI-powered automated theme discovery to come up with this idea! But if so, she’s have been alerted to – and likely avoided – the lawsuits referenced below. And been quick to respond to any misinformation spreading about their existence too:
And the next three celebrity products follow suit, but in different ways (and not in the legal sense).
Celebrity Product #3: Once Upon a Farm (Jennifer Garner)
Cold-pressed juices are much loved amongst health-conscious adults – and now they can share that same nutritious approach with their children. Once Upon a Farm creates cold-pressed baby foods have the potential to decimate the traditional market.
Yet, although it has celebrity backing and a notable list of promotional appearances:
Online mentions of the company, sans Garner, are scarce:
She has a robust and engaged following on Instagram and elsewhere, but hasn’t really made this company her own on Twitter, at least. Its Instagram has 165k followers, but still nowhere her 8.1m personal fans. Not anywhere near the last two on our list, that’s for sure! And this speaks to how important it is to engage meaningfully – and consistently – with consumers. Regardless of who you are and how much market share you command today.
The company is likely doing fine, but the untapped potential there is incredible.
Celebrity Product #4: Foodstirs (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
Foodstirs is another organic, sustainable – and super timely – offering. And another that is failing to take full advantage of its star power.
Sporting an entirely respectable 128k followers on Instagram, its engagement numbers are fairly lackluster considering:
Imagine if they creating some Buffy the Vampire Slayer Foodstirs options? You don’t have to imagine – we can tell you. To this day, mentions of the show rack up monstrous mentions:
And that’s precisely what these last two celebrity products do. They play up to the personas and people that area consumer facing.
Although Laughing Man fits in nicely with products listed above, it really must be mentioned in tandem with Aviation Gin, as the marketing magic they’ve created with a faux feud is absolute genius. And shows just how hard even celebrities work for consumer attention. And the amazing results when they do.
Celebrity Products #5 & #6: Laughing Man Coffee (Hugh Jackman) and Aviation Gin (Ryan Reynolds
First, the two companies couldn’t be more different.
The Laughing Company is inspired by a noble cause:
In 2009, he [Hugh] traveled to Ethiopia to visit a community development project and met a young coffee farmer named Dukale, working to lift his family out of poverty. Inspired by Dukale’s story, Jackman launched Laughing Man Coffee in 2011 to provide a marketplace for farmers in developing countries to sell their goods to consumers in the U.S. As part of his ongoing commitment, Hugh contributes 100% of his profits to the Laughing Man Foundation, which he created to support educational programs, community development and social entrepreneurs around the world.
Aviation Gin is a company Reynolds acquired on a hunch (because he likes gin): “We’re at the beginning of what feels like a modern day gin craze. Millennials are drinking it. Young people are drinking it. Not toddlers, but young people,” Reynolds joked to a room full of reporters in Manhattan on Tuesday.
And thanks to a bit of put-on marketing mayhem, a concept that any two brands can emulate with similar success, the two companies find the skit mentioned by top twitter authors and publications online, particularly for this video:
The takeaway for any brand wanting to capture its audience is simple: celebrity status is an amazing promotional tool, but consumers are more interested in feeling like they’re part of the performance – or in on the joke.
The Art of Illusion
Celebrities are skilled in the art of illusion and probably the best marketers out there. If you see them creating a ruse to lure consumers, shouldn’t you consider creating something even more amazing, powered by in-depth consumer understanding? Unless you’re more popular than they are, that is, and don’t need to take promotional advice from promotional pros.
Assuming you’ve yet to perfect promotional prowess that eclipses the Hugh Jackman/Ryan Reynolds combo (and really – who could claim that?) reach out and we’re happy to show you how sentiment looks in your category/around your company. There’s always a thing or two out there to learn and new opportunities to leverage!