The year that was; female celebrity endorsements - 2014

Sean Pickwell
By Sean Pickwell | 18 December 2014

From eight year-old YouTube poppets to grand dames of English theatre, age was no barrier when it came to female celebrities strutting their stuff in 2014.

Shakira's cup runneth over for Activia

While Danone’s Activia campaign is unlikely to pick up any medal for creativity, it now has the distinction of unseating Volkswagen’s The Force as the most shared commercial ever with over 5.3 million shares.

Pivotal to its success was the use of 'trackvertising', where a brand and musical artist co-release a video generate shares as well as eyeballs; in Shakira’s case, her anthem for Brazil’s 2014 World Cup. Its popularity also helped make Shakira the first person to 100m Facebook likes.

Taylor pulls a Swifty for Diet Coke

While on the subject of trackvertising, industry pundits predicted Swift’s new album, 1989, would rack up first-week sales of 700,000. Actual? 1.287 million. To put that into perspective, no album this year sold more than a million copies in total.

Forbes referred to Swift as having delivered a master class in marketing, citing the Diet Coke partnership as a major contributing factor. It rounded out with 2.7 million ad views, a concert tie-in plus her own brief announcement of the Diet Coke hookup which garnered one million views alone, making for one very sticky celebrity endorsement vehicle. Sweet!

Mila Kunis comes on strong for Jim Beam

Mila Kunis’ turn as Beam’s latest global celebrity partner is a big departure and innovative step for a brand whose prior celebrity head was the 43 year-old not-so-Kid Rock. The young A-list actress by contrast is a sassy, authentic, low-maintenance rock chick equally liked by guys and girls. She also loves her bourbon.

So the Kunis partnership is smart not only for riding the wave of increased whiskey consumption by women, which now sits between 30-50%, but for finding the fulcrum in the gender see-saw, meaning Jim Beam goes down smoother than ever.

Kirsten Dunst wins game of hashtag for Vs. magazine

Dunst delivers a star turn for Vs magazine’s viral film, Aspirational, which takes a pot shot at the ubiquitous selfie via two teenagers’ narcissistic pursuit of social media currency. It got extensive coverage across international media and was engaged with by a number of people that eclipses the magazine’s print circulation. Much to ‘like’ indeed.

Westfield’s cracker of a Christmas with Sophia Grace and Rosie

When the Dalai Lama is getting less views than Sophia Grace and Rosie channelling Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass, it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

Westfield is clearly laughing. The mini YouTube girls who put the pop into poppet are the retailer’s ‘Happy Giving’ experts, because Christmas is now all about the response gifts get when opened.

If Westfield’s expecting reactions to hanky sets and scented soaps to be anything like Sophia Grace’s resemblance to a tutu-toting midget mainlining raspberry cordial, we’re all in for a very entertaining Christmas indeed.

Will the girls get Westfield’s cash registers singing as well? The proof, of course, will be in the Christmas pudding.

A safe pair of hands when Katie Holmes says ‘Olay’

If Olay’s choice of Holmes as its new ambassador was aimed at being benign then the partnership is an inspired one. Despite its name, Proctor & Gamble is not really known for taking marketing risks.

It’s hard to argue with 2.7 million views and extensive, if predictable, PR coverage, but when so much money, time and effort is spent procuring a celebrity endorsement, you’d hope it’s in order to take a brand to the next level.

So where does that leave Katie Holmes and Olay? While it’s understandable that mega brands want to play it safe, it feels like a missed opportunity when the celebrity cachet attached ends up being a case of ‘the bland leading the bland’.

Anna Kendrick Super Bowls ‘em over for Newcastle Ale

While ambush marketing is nothing new, Newcastle took it up a notch by recognising that social media and teaser websites can now be exploited to hijack major events in the face of official sponsorship privileges.

Its profanity-laden ad featuring Oscar-nominated Anna Kendrick is now considered one of 2014 Super Bowl’s most successful in spite of the fact it never appeared during the broadcast. With 5.5 million views and a serious workout on social media, it's a touchdown in my book.

Dame Helen Mirren for L’Oreal ... because she’s worth it!

The recent announcement of 69 year-old Mirren as L’Oreal’s ambassador had media feverishly hailing it a master stroke and massive coup.

Reportedly surveying 9,000 women, Olay found Mirren repeatedly ranked first for her genuine, down-to-earth and positive approach to ageing. More importantly it helped L’Oreal tackle the spectre of digital manipulation hanging around the brand, with Mirren only signing on the proviso that her images wouldn’t be retouched.

Stay tuned for the next instalment where we countdown male celebrity moments.

Sean Pickwell

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