Celebrities can sell. And while you may not attribute a sales role directly to them, many companies turn to publicly known figures, like celebrities, to endorse their products. And it works.
A 2016 National Consumer Survey from Packaged Facts found that men were more likely than women to buy nutritional supplement products after seeing a celebrity endorsement. About 75% of guys between the ages of 18 and 34 admitted to taking such endorsements into account in their decision-making. Comparatively, only 33% of women admitted to doing so—but that’s still one in three.
Why are celebrity endorsements so effective?
Celebrities have attained herculean status; that is, they are often seen as gods among us. As one study showed, those in the 18-to-24 age bracket in particular tend to create their identities around the stars they follow. A Dutch study revealed that products paired with a famous face increased positive feelings toward the product.
And if that includes taking a supplement, celebrities make people want to take those, too. Companies know that people tend to be drawn to anything celebrity related. That’s why companies all over the world pay upwards of $10 billion for celebrity spokespeople. One study reported that in 2011, nearly 18% of global ads included a celebrity.
Famous celebrity supplement endorsers
Dr. Mehmet Oz: Weight-loss products
Dr. Oz is a heart surgeon, Emmy Award-winning celebrity talk show host and “America’s Doctor” (as declared by Oprah Winfrey). He’s also a self-declared proponent of alternative medicine. Though he doesn’t specifically endorse products on or off his show, his segments regularly feature alternative specialists, dietary supplements and alternative treatments. By bringing the topic front and center to America’s audiences, Dr. Oz has promoted a comprehensive approach to a healthy lifestyle that blends traditional and alternative medicines—even if some of his techniques are questionable at best.
Though Dr. Oz has positively promoted a number of weight-loss products on his show, he hasn’t endorsed specific brands, as far as we can tell. Over the years, Dr. Oz’s pictures and videos from his show have been used without his consent to sell certain weight loss products, such as Garcinia Cambogia, which he had previously dubbed “a revolutionary fat buster” on his show in November 2012.
Said Dr. Oz, “I actually do personally believe in the items I talk about on the show. I passionately study them. I recognize that oftentimes they don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact. Nevertheless, I would give my audience the same advice I give my family, and I have given my family these products.”
Kim Kardashian: QuickTrim diet pills
The 34-year-old socialite has been an avid endorser of QuickTrim diet pills. Her and her sisters’ endorsement of the product earned the company $45 million in sales. But after making “unsubstantiated, false and misleading claims” to promote the products across channels, she and her sisters were hit with a $5 million class-action lawsuit initiated by unsatisfied product users.
Just as with pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements don’t work the same for all people. We disagree with Kardashian making claims that could misguide people to believe they will achieve her exact results. However, it’s important to realize that results vary based on exercise, health and nutritional habits.
Lauren Conrad, Molly Sims, Reese Witherspoon, Mile Cyrus and more: Viviscal Hair Growth
A number of celebrities have made public statements about Viviscal hair growth supplements. With statements made for Us Weekly, InStyle, Vogue, Entertainment Tonight and E!’s Fashion Police, many celebrities have become avid proponents for the product that the company claims is “the best-kept secret of models, actors and beauty editors.”
The fake celeb endorsement trend
But fake celebrity endorsements abound. Just ask Dr. Oz, who published a checklist so you don’t fall prey to fake celebrity endorsements. The Dr. Oz name has been applied everywhere to products that he has discussed positively on his show but never gave permission to publically use his endorsement to sell the product.
Despite the FTC’s attempts to ban fake news sites, the problem still abounds. NBC news reported that fake news sites are trending—and making unsubstantiated claims to achieve their bottom line. If that means adding a photo or quote from a celeb, so be it. Some known examples of fake celebrity supplement endorsements include Victoria Beckham and Adele’s “endorsement” of the Raspberry Ketone diet, and Oprah’s “endorsement” of Jesse Willms’ tea.
Lawsuits and scam endorsements aside, celebrity spokespeople can be effective when properly used—and when their famous faces are backed by quality products. For unbiased reviews of top-rated dietary supplements from real people, check out these lists.