Endorsement Evolution: How Celebrities and New Crowdfunding Platforms are Connecting to Consumers on a New Level
Anyone around in the 80s and 90s remembers Michael Jackson’s Pepsi commercials or Michael Jordan’s free throw line dunk and the introduction of Air Jordan for Nike. In more recent years, Justin Bieber followed in the footsteps of Brooke Shields and Mark Wahlberg as the spokesperson for Calvin Klein. Overseas, Hollywood giants like Brad Pitt and Arnold Schwarzenegger have lent their star power to all sorts of products, from banks to alcoholic beverages. In fact, for more than half a century celebrities have been wielding their incredible influence by appearing in TV and print ads, dramatically increasing sales and resulting stock values.
Of course, the Internet revolutionized the way companies advertise. As an example, prospective customers can be targeted with relevant ads based on their browsing history. Nothing, however, has increased the reach of celebrities more than social media, which allows them to interact with the more than two billion people worldwide who use these platforms. Also, celebrities tend to post about the items they love, which creates a much more personal (emotional) connection than appearing in a television commercial or print ad.
That said, social media has also given rise to influencers — self-made YouTube or Instagram stars who have millions of followers and more credibility with Millennials and Zoomers than traditional celebrities. This has forced brands to be even more careful about which celebrities they choose to market their products.
While the modern consumer still loves to see a famous actor or sports star endorse a product, they also want to see a more organic connection between the endorser and what they’re selling. The most successful endorsement campaigns are those that are a cross between influencer and celebrity. For example, Taylor Swift consistently posts about her beloved cats, so if she endorses a cat product or decides to create her own fellow feline-lovers will take it more authentically and thus be more likely to buy it for their own pet. Similarly, Nicole Kidman, who used CBD topical products after suffering an ankle injury, recently announced she will serve as “brand ambassador” for SeraLabs, a company that makes such products. Her deal goes far beyond posing for pictures to having input in the product and messaging.
This is all part of a larger shift within the global advertising and branding worlds, one in which the consumer connects on a deeper level to the products they purchase and is invested in the success of companies that resonate with what they consider important. This in part explains the increased popularity of crowdfunding, which has historically been used by fledgling businesses to raise capital by giving investors a piece of the future product. The premise here is that people will support the launch and sustainability of something that holds personal value for them. The crowdfunding model has also evolved, with established companies using it to gain greater insight into what consumers really think is important with regard to a product or service.
Within this landscape are several opportunities to further strengthen the relationship between fans and the celebrities they love — which in turn makes the sway of product endorsements by celebrities even more powerful. FanVestor, for example, has capitalized on recent changes to SEC regulations (specifically, Title III of The JOBS Act) that allow people to invest with as little as ten dollars, a dramatic departure from the past. Previously, per the Securities Act of 1934, investors had to be “accredited,” meaning they had a minimum of one million dollars in assets or earn an annual salary of $200,000 ($300,000 per couple). The new regulation empowers everyone to go from mere fans to owners with a vested interest in the celebrity’s success, and that of the social causes and companies they support. It allows them to Invest with Heart™.
FanVestor is the first of its kind global, FINRA-regulated equity crowdfunding and engagement platform that enables entertainment and sports celebrities to capitalize on their social media fan basis — where fans become investors. Think of us as StartEngine meets E! Entertainment. Accredited and non-accredited fans participate in equity crowdfunding projects. Plus, FanVestor offers ancillary services, such as product launches and e-commerce, auctions, sweepstakes, exclusive rewards and charity events on the Fanvestor platforms (iOS, Android, Web-app), and soon will be introducing an NFT (non-fungible token) product line.
With the highest level of compliance and online investing sophistication, FanVestor offers a new way for fans and their favorite celebrities and athletes to engage with each other, creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, with FanVestor individuals receive an actual investment, future dividends, as well as exclusive rewards such as priority access and enhanced fan experiences. FanVestor provides all the services celebrities need to launch their endeavors, whether it’s to raise capital for business or charity causes, sell merchandise online or auction off memorabilia, including NFTs. Celebrities love FanVestor because it helps them collaborate with fans to raise capital for their projects and businesses in a safe zone amongst their peers, allowing them to maintain their brand image and value, without sacrificing creative control, as is often the case with institutional investors.
In my next post, I will be discussing how celebrities are creating lasting value for fans with NFTs.
In the meantime, visit FanVestor.com to learn more about how celebrity endorsements can increase your brand visibility and revenue.