Ace Metrix Study Confirms Celebrities Have Little to No Impact on Ad Effectiveness

Latest Whitepaper Reveals that Even Top Performing Celebrities Yield Less than 2% Impact on Creative Effectiveness

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA.—January 29, 2014—Ace Metrix®, the new standard in television and video advertising analytics, today published a second landmark study on the effectiveness of celebrities in video advertisements. The report builds upon a previous study that found, in general, ads with celebrities do not perform as well as ads without celebrities. The study published today, however, explores the overall effectiveness of more than 1,200 celebrity ads while employing an innovative statistical approach to identify the “pure impact” of over 60 of the most frequently featured celebrities, including a sample of mascots and brand franchise characters.

“Advertisers continue to invest heartily in celebrities as spokespersons or endorsers and more recently as ‘brand ambassadors’ hoping to reap financial and brand lift rewards by leveraging the popularity and social status of the public icon,” said Peter Daboll, Ace Metrix CEO. “But often advertisers ignore the risks such as the fleeting or narrow appeal of a particular celebrity. Our continuing research finds that celebrities fail to provide any meaningful impact in terms of effectiveness, as viewers often struggle with the relevance of the connection. This study proves, yet again, that investing in strong creative, compelling ideas and iterative testing produces a far better return than relying on celebrities to fix a poorly conceived ad.”

“The unique data assets available in the Ace Metrix database provides for unparalleled depth of ad analysis on specific ad characteristics such as celebrity presence,” said Michael Curran, Ace Metrix VP of Analytics. “We used a multi-equation model to tease-out exactly how well specific celebrities performed. The results clearly showed that most celebrities are ineffectual; even the best of them bring about nominal benefit when it comes to advertising effectiveness.”

The study echoed the results previously published and further identified the following key findings:

  • Celebrity ads, in aggregate, underperform ads without celebrities as measured by average Ace Scores (514 with celebrities vs. 527 without celebrities)
  • This paper, however, goes further analytically, controlling for the confounding influences of demographic targeting and industry variation in ad performance to determine that the celebrity effect is statistically equivalent to zero.
  • Pairing a celebrity who delivers a substantive message and who has a strong connection to the brand or product can yield a highly effective ad; however, finding the right balance proves elusive for most celebrity creative executions.
  • Among the “top performers” the actual benefit brought about by the particular celebrity is not very large. Of celebrities that drew an above average score, the vast majority did so with a 20-point or less increase in Ace Score, which is akin to approximately a 2% increase in advertising effectiveness.
  • Nonetheless, some celebrities are able to consistently perform above the celebrity average. In particular, Ellen DeGeneres (JC Penney), Dean Winters (Allstate), and Ray Lewis with Paul Rudd (EA Video Games) are three examples of celebrities whose portfolio of ads significantly outperformed within their respective target demographics.

About the Study: “The Impact of Celebrities in Advertising”

Conducted by Ace Metrix VP of Analytics, Michael Curran, PhD., the study extended previous research published in 2011 to not only assess the impact of celebrity ads versus non-celebrity ads, but to further isolate the “pure celebrity” impact from the overall performance of the ads by controlling for both industry variation and demographic targeting. Dr. Curran’s team combed through 12,000 ads that debuted between January 1, 2012 and October 24, 2013 and identified 1,200 ads that featured celebrities. This dataset also included fictitious brand characters such as Mr. Clean, Tony the Tiger and Progressive’s Flo to further assess the impact of these types of manufactured celebrities relative to traditionally defined, publicity-born celebrities.

The whitepaper “The Impact of Celebrities in Advertising” is available at


About Ace Metrix

Ace Metrix® is the new standard in television and video analytics, dedicated to delivering better, faster and more cost-effective solutions for evaluating video advertising within competitive context. The Ace Metrix LIVE® platform provides advertisers and agencies access to the world’s largest database of video advertising effectiveness data, each scored by a unique, large, demographically balanced sample of consumers. Ace Metrix subscribers are able to action data and optimize advertising campaigns in real-time. Combining leading edge technology and patent pending methodology, Ace Metrix is revolutionizing the way marketers measure themselves, manage their media plans and assess their competitive landscape. The Company is privately held and is backed by leading venture capital firms and industry leaders including Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Palomar Ventures, Leapfrog Ventures and WPP.


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