Celebrities Pack Punch in Off-Beat Campaigns

Women@NBCU took a look at the 500 brands tracked by its
Brand Power Index and found that celebrity endorsements played a role in some
of the biggest gainers.

And it wasn't the typical celebrity endorsement, which has
been part of advertising for as long as anyone remembers, that really scored.
The winning campaigns showed celebrities in new lights and associated them with
unexpected categories and brands.

The brands involved in the second half of the year were a
diverse group, ranging from packaged goods like Secret, retailers such as Kohl's,
beverages such as Minute Maid and Xbox, a video game. The celebrity linkage
came as a bit of a surprise because a year ago, the ads attracting the kind of buzz
NBCU's Brand Power Index tracks favored real-people campaigns, says Melissa
Lavigne-Delville, VP of insights, NBCUniversal Integrated Media.

Back then, "the brands we saw pop up were ones that had
leverage [with] more of a consumer-centric strategy, like giving consumers
access to their 15 minutes of fame," she says. But now, "All of a sudden we
found these celebrities again and there wasn't much of that consumer-centric

And the type of celebrity used in buzzy campaigns was
different than in past. "It wasn't just the usual suspects, you know, the
beautiful actress for the cosmetics brand. It was sort of oddball fits."

What were Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony doing in Kohl's?
Instead of mom pouring Minute Maid, there was Ty Burrell of Modern Family talking to oranges. Jon
Bon Jovi, a rocker who'd never done endorsements, dispensed Advil, and Xbox
employed a bizarre collection of endorsers: tween singer Selena Gomez, the
Muppets' Cookie Monster and David Hasselhoff, who requires no introduction.

And then there was Sofia Vergara. All the brands she
endorsed went up, whether it was Diet Pepsi, Kmart or Cover Girl. "She has a
beautiful face, but also an aspirational figure for the multicultural community
and someone who has got quite a bit of personality," Lavigne-Delville says. "So
she was probably the only one that we honed in on that we felt was more of that
classic celebrity, but everything she touched was gold."

Women@NBCU has been using its Brand Power Index to track the
brands most talked about by women since August 2010. The Index uses search data
from ComScore, social media information from New Media Strategies and
person-to-person conversations tracked by Keller Fay Group. While tracking buzz
among women is interesting, Women@NBCU has started to track conversation among
men as well, to get a better picture of how men and women differ in how they
view brands and brand trends.

Here are the brands that showed the biggest movement and
used celebrities in their campaigns.

Women@NBCU, an ad sales, marketing and research initiative
promoting NBCU broadcast, cable and online assets that reach women, had
comments about some of the campaigns that showed the biggest gains, after
seasonal adjustment:

Gap teamed up with 11-year-old YouTube sensation Maria
Aragon in its holiday commercial, "I Want Candy." The singing sensation shot to
fame a year earlier after Lady Gaga tweeted about the tween's cover of "Born
This Way," which has over 47 million hits on YouTube to date. Using Aragon,
this "regular girl"-turned-superstar by Lady Gaga, Gap jumped 49 spots the

Kinect for Xbox
Kinect for Xbox 360 selected three diverse celebrities to be
the faces of its brand this quarter. Selena Gomez got active with her fellow
band mates to promote Kinect Sports 2, which showcased the celebrity at home
playing football and going skiing to blow off steam. One lucky teen also won
the chance to play against the actress in Los Angeles. Hasselhoff showed the
world his fun side in a series of online videos for the brand's racing game,
"Burnout Crash." Dressed in a chicken suit and a cheerleading uniform, he
helped Kinect's ad campaign go viral. Additionally, the brand debuted its new
living storybook, "Once Upon a Monster," starring Cookie Monster, Elmo and
other famed Sesame Street characters.
All in all, Kinect's ensemble cast helped the brand climb a whopping 119
notches in the index.

Minute Maid
Minute Maid launched its "Pure Squeezed" ad campaign
starring another Modern Family star, Ty Burrell. Burrell entertained female
audiences with his lighthearted banter directed at his costar, an orange. The
brand began its rise up the BPI a year ago when it embraced the softer side of
men with an ad campaign that featured a regular guy who gets his "mojo" from
chugging orange juice. In this year's campaign, Burrell brought the same kind
of Beta male persona, helping Minute Maid move an impressive 121 spots north on
the index.

Jon Bon Jovi moved from the face of a band to
the face of a brand without missing a beat. New to the endorsement scene, the
rock star dished his real-life story of pain and relief in Advil's ongoing
campaign, "The Advil Stories," marking the rock star's first-ever brand
endorsement throughout his 30-year career. The campaign, which showcases real
people and real testimonials, tapped Bon Jovi to share his anecdote after
hearing him tell a reporter he used Advil to remedy an injury while on tour.
Advil experienced a positive lift up the index from the celebrity's authentic

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.