• Fri, Dec 10 2010

How Seriously Do You Take Advice from Celebrities?

Every day, there’s another celebrity hawking wares, from skincare lines to diet pills to home decor. Celebrities can make millions of dollars from endorsements, especially if the celebrity is well known and popular. Just last week, Julia Roberts made $1.5 million from appearing in a 30 second commercial for the Italian coffee brand Lavazza. In the ad, Roberts sips the coffee and doesn’t utter a word.

But has celebrity product endorsement reached an oversaturation point? We’ve bemoaned the trend of actresses appearing on the covers of magazines instead of models before, and it’s becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between paid ads and editorial features, especially when the same celebrity is featured in a fashion shoot/interview and then a lipstick ad ten pages later.

Our colleagues over at sister site Blisstree.com also raise another interesting point – do celebrities set bad, or even dangerous, examples? Their analysis of talk show host Kelly Ripa’s exercise regimen certainly makes it sound like Ripa is setting a bad example for her fans – she was recently injured when attempting to walk on crutches while wearing high heels.

I’ve said before that it’s incredibly difficult for me to take celebrity beauty, fashion, and fitness advice very seriously when I know that these women have more time and money than I do. Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter attempts to rebrand Gwynnie as a lifestyle guru but fails miserably because Paltrow recommends expensive products that are out of the price range of the ‘average’ wife and mom she claims to identify with. It’s a lot easier to stick to weight loss and fitness programs when one has a personal trainer, in-home chef, and access to plenty of expensive organic foods. Likewise, it’s easy to maintain a regimen of rare and expensive beauty products when they’re sent to you for free courtesy of the company you have an endorsement contract with. And yet, there’s a small part of me, deep down inside, that really wants to know how Gwyneth Paltrow keeps her skin looking like that.

How should we read, and absorb, celebrities’ advice? I tend to take an extreme position, assuming that anything a celebrity says about a specific product, food, or program is being paid for. (Perhaps it can be called the Kim Kardashian’s Twitter Effect.) It might be reactionary, but I’d rather be skeptical of celebrity endorsements than blindly accepting of them. A healthy degree of cynicism usually keeps me from rushing out to do something because a person I’ve never met tells me to.

What about you? Do you accept celebrity endorsements and try products they recommend? Or do you immediately reject anything with a celebrity’s face on it?

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  • sanaggie

    I don’t take celebrity endorsements seriously at all. It’s not like they said, “oh! i love this product, let me tell everyone about it!” it’s probably the opposite, they didn’t know anything about it but truckloads of money were thrown at them so they started making it seem like they’d been using it all along. ..

  • Soos

    NEVER

  • Amy;s Cooking Adventures

    It always cracks me up to see celebs dancing around promoting product like cover girl and other hair and make up products that are affordable to the general public because, really…you have mega millions! 1. these celebs probably don’t even do their own make up and 2. even if they did, you can bet it would be a kit more expensive than cover girl!

    So while, I don’t automatically reject something that is endorsed by a celeb, I also don’t go running out to by it based on their word.

    Amy’s Cooking Adventures

  • Lenoxus

    Glarg. Of course we don’t consciously think “Gosh, if Julia Roberts was willing to be paid to appear in this ad, the product must be a good choice for me!” It’s about the subconscious — that’s what most ads are targeted for.

    Your reptile brain doesn’t see Julia Roberts, it simply sees another human, and since it recognizes her and associates some positive emotional experiences with her (your inner reptile being oblivious to such things as film), she must be a friend! Hey, it might be good to emulate her, or at least to extend the same positive associations from her to whatever it is she seems to be doing. Can’t hurt, right?

    I’ve come to realize that not only do people, myself included, run on autopilot a lot, but we can be really loathe to admit it. But even if celeb endorsements don’t do the trick for you, trust me, there is some form of advertising that affects you, unless you live sealed off from all media (which no one reading this comment can claim). Again, by “affects” I don’t mean that you write down in your to-do list to buy anything advertised with a cute animal. It’s all below-the-radar stuff.

  • Soos

    NAH.

    One of my brains – dunno if it’s the regular one, or the reptile one – says, “Jeez, Julia Roberts’ mouth is so big she can fit her fist inside!”

    There is probably a connection between the fact that I have not bought anything Lancome since she’s become the spokesmodel for that brand. Soos thinks: “Julia + Lancome = NO!” The poor little girl at my local Lancome was gushing about how beeyouteeful Roberts is.and was appalled at the fist idea. “NOT!” she said. OK, then MY fist can fit in Julia’s mouth!

    That she’s pimping Lavazza, a mediocre coffee at best, will NOT EVER make me want to buy!

    It’s obvious we – at least the we who are talking about it here – aren’t buying anything Kelly, Gwyneth, etc. are pushing.

    And no, I’m more likely to run AMOK than on autopilot.