Is Using Spokespeople in DTC Ad Effective?
You learn somebody famous is using your treatment. Sensational news—a great way to promote your biopharma brand! Sign them up! But wait… Are they a good fit with your target audience? Are they really that well known? What if this celebrity goes off treatment at some point? How much will they cost? And are they worth that much? Using a celebrity spokesperson can raise as many questions as it does answers.
At AbelsonTaylor, we have created more than one program featuring someone well known. Most recently, we launched a consumer campaign featuring Olympic swimmer and fitness expert Dara Torres as a spokesperson for MACI cartilage repair. As such, we are well versed in the perils and promise of working with celebrities.
When looking into a celebrity, Q ratings are a great place to start. They can help you understand the familiarity and appeal of your intended spokesperson. But you also need to consider if this person is relevant to your particular audience. Does your target identify with them? If not, is there a way to make them relatable?
As for the risks of using a celebrity, you should definitely have a backup plan. If your star is involved in something controversial or if they go off treatment, it is always possible you might need to pull the campaign. And keep in mind when it comes to production, the bigger the celebrity, the more restrictions there are likely to be on their time and schedule.
But the benefits of the right celebrity can easily outweigh any risks. They can quickly improve the profile of a brand—new or old—raising awareness and improving recall. Plus doctors usually know about the campaign too. The celebrity becomes a shorthand for the brand at that moment of truth when the patient is in the doctor’s office: “What about the one famous name here takes?”
There is also an assumption that celebrities will see the best doctors and get best-in-class treatments because of who they are. This gives your brand a halo, providing important credibility and trust with your customers.
Finally, if you do settle on a celebrity, be sure and challenge yourself creatively to produce work that stands out. It’s not enough to limit them to the role of talking head on TV. You still need creative that is fresh and frequently refreshed. You still need to leverage them across channels. But speaking from experience, when done right, there are few faster ways to get a brand recognized than finding an ideal celebrity spokesperson.