We all know the power of a familiar, friendly, and attractive face. But some celebrity endorsements are riskier than others, and now we have the numbers to prove it. According to figures from marketing data and research firm Spotted, Kim Kardashian West can officially be crowned the riskiest celebrity when it comes brand endorsement partnerships. But why exactly? Let’s dig into how exactly this is decided.
As stated in Fashionista, Spotted broke down some of the facts and figures behind the fashion and retail industry’s $43 billion US spend last year, accounting for a whopping 22 per cent of a $206 billion US overall advertising spend. Taking into account variables such as the celeb’s attractiveness, likeability, recognition and authenticity, Spotted then assessed investment versus return on various celebrity brand endorsements.
The report also looked at a celeb’s personality, consumer approval, and consumer and trust, as well as their most recent endorsements. There’s also a risk score, looking at any associated scandal, being politically divisive, and behaviour deemed inappropriate, offensive, as well as how recent any undesirable press may have been.
And it seems KKW came out on top, for a series of minor infractions, such as supposedly defending Jeffree Star’s racist remarks, and that time she had daughter North take a topless photo of her and then posted it to Instagram. We’re guessing the unpredictably erratic and controversial comments made by hubby Kanye West don’t help matters, either. And it’s come out in the wash, with the report stating, “Even though Kim Kardashian supports over 22 charities and causes, she lacks consumer trust and is perceived risky among consumers.” Given that she recently tried to endorse appetite-suppressing candy, we’re not surprised trust isn’t exactly at an all-time high.
And yet, that’s not to say endorsements are a no-go, far from it. With the help of the rest of the fam, she’s attached to some pretty high-profile labels, from Calvin Klein’s latest jeans and underwear campaign, to Fendi’s latest handbag campaign.
Remember the phrase, ‘no such thing as bad publicity’? It seems there’s something of that at work in the psychology of some brand partnership choices. Spotted CEO Janet Comenos commented, “The creative directors of these high-end labels tend to use celebrities as creative ‘muses,’ even if every indication shows that the celebrity is a poor choice.” And look no further than some of the most high-end brands out there, from Versace (which was hailed worst celebrity strategist for its choice of partnerships… sorry, Donatella), Longchamp, and a whole string of other luxe brands for evidence.
In fact, the report found that over half of the partnerships had a risk score of 50 or more, which makes us think they know likeability doesn’t count for everything. In fact, among some of the least consumer-approved celebrities were some of fashion’s biggest names – celebutantes such as Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin, both of whom regularly front high-end campaigns for the likes of Longchamp, Missoni (Jenner), and Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger (Baldwin).
Given the emerging dominance of social media micro-influencing, it’s safe to say the landscape of advertising and influencing is changing at rapid pace. And in the meantime, we’re sure Kim has a broad enough reach that another brand or two will be willing to drop a dime on her.