As we drive home, my friend imparts a bit of knowledge to me, “You know Jessica Simpson uses another product along with ProActive right?” No, I hadn’t known nor did I ever really think about Jessica’s acne treatment routine. It was clear there was something far more interesting at play here than a singer turned reality TV star’s acne. “Well she does, because sometimes you need more than just topical products for serious acne,” my friend continues but now I had moved on to a broader concept. It got me thinking about the use of celebrity endorsements and advertising. What are the chances of Britney Spears actually reaching over for the bottle of Curious or Fantasy? I’m putting my money on her spraying a higher quality, higher priced fragrance.
Celebrity advertising is inextricably linked to fandom. This is my choice of star and if they use it, I want to as well. Buying specific products brings the fan one step closer to their ideal. However, just because the star is the face of something does not necessarily mean they are putting it on their face. They just want you to believe they are.
Interestingly, this trend began as early as the 1920’s in the first movie magazines. Fuller writes, “Stars almost never used to promote expensive, upper-middle class goods like automobiles or refrigerators; instead, they sold small, impulsively purchased goods like candy, cosmetics and soft drinks (157-158). Frankly, it is more profitable for industries to sell products the average consumer can afford. Although now celebrities advertise higher quality goods as well, this is strategic in that (let’s face it) once in a while everyone likes to splurge. Regardless of the item in question, the marketing is the same: if they have it, I want it.