Why do we put celebrities in ads?

A friend, who shall remain nameless (let’s call him, Barnsey) is employed by the national telecommunications provider (let’s call them Telstra). Barnsey was very concerned about the latest Telstra campaign. The one that has famous people taking on roles of Telstra employees.

Barnsey wanted to know why they had used Magda Szubanski, in their new ad campaign. What were they trying to say about Telstra? Did they want people to think that Telstra customer service was staffed by a bunch of Sharon Strezleckis?

So I broke it down for Barnsey.The rationale behind using a celebrity (as opposed to an ‘everyday person’) in a TVC is to help the ad stand out and get noticed. Theory goes, we are more likely to stop and listen to Magda, than say, Catherine (the real Telstra employee).

Watch the Telstra Personal Service ad with Magda here>

Barnsey had a problem with this. He was concerned that people would take this ad quite literally, and ascribe the personality traits of Magda (a bit jolly, a bit muck about, perhaps not very efficient) – to the real Telstra employees, and to Telstra itself. He had a point. That’s another reason to use celebrities, they will represent to some extent, the brand personality.

I told Barnsey not to worry, it was mostly about getting the ad noticed, so that they could let everyone know about their new customer service promise. In the end, Telstra want to leave people feeling good. People seem to like Magda and she should do a good job for them.

And Barnsey, you’re not so bad yourself…

See Barnesy here>

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