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11/12/2019 Communication Science news and articles

Why won’t Ed Sheeran sell me a chair?

Marketing agencies are using celebrities very often, but during the company visit at Morrow Communications, Joanna learnt there is a shift going on from celebrities to social media influencers.


Written by: Joanna Zmarzlińska

Perhaps one of the most traditional advertising strategies is the use of a celebrity; they often have a very dedicated fanbase who is willing to buy into anything their idols promote. However, this grand exposure comes at a very steep price. Nevertheless, marketing agencies are finding ways to promote products and services in a much more cost-efficient way by employing none other than social media influencers, more specifically Instagram bloggers. 

In Poland, like in many other countries such as Brazil, South Korea, or the United States of America, celebrities are often used to promote various products, whether it be phone plans, furniture, makeup, or even medication. Polish marketing agencies very strongly adhere to this traditional advertising strategies by relying on celebrity appearances, testimonials, and the use of an average Joe. 

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

This lack of creativity may be attributed to the age-old mentality of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, or simply because in most cases it’s a guarantee that the advertisement will do well. Additionally, research shows that people are more likely to recall advertisements including celebrities, especially those they find to be funny and attractive. Moreover, research further suggests that the image of the celebrity is further passed onto the brand, it also increases the overall trust of the brand as well as could have a positive effect on brand loyalty. Therefore, why won’t Ed Sheeran sell me a chair? 

First of all, a commercial with him would be highly successful due to the enormous number of dedicated fans who buy into any idea he promotes, but there is no denying that the costs of said commercial would be gargantuan. 

The Future of Advertising
On the other hand, agencies such as Morrow Communications, located in Belfast, are moving away from the traditional use of celebrities and are investing in the use of influencers. Whilst on my trip to Northern Ireland I had the opportunity to visit this company, as shown in the image above. During the said visit, I met Fiona Anderson, a Senior Communications Executive at Morrows, claims that “social media influencers often have a more personal relationship with their followers”, which along with much cheaper rates drives marketing agencies away from traditional celebrities and towards said social media influencers. Though they often have a much smaller following, they have a more meaningful relationship with their fans thus potentially having a more prominent effect on them. 

Living That Insta Life
Most likely it is of no surprise that on average an individual under 25 spends over 2 hours on social media per day, however, it may be surprising that approximately 32 of those minutes are spent scrolling in the sea of images on Instagram. Sure, people follow both celebrities and influencers on Instagram, however, as mentioned by Fiona, the most significant difference between the two is the level of connection one feels with an influencer. Through comments, Instagram live, stories, etc. one gets insight into their daily giving off the illusion of a more personal relationship, though celebrities also share their lives online it is usually to a much smaller extent. 

Will Ed ever sell me a chair?
So, will Ed Sheeran ever sell a chair? Perhaps. However, advertising agencies, like Morrows Communications, and the companies they work for are far more likely to spend their budgets on an influencer who knows exactly what kind of content their audiences like and can create such content to simultaneously compliment the product they want to sell. Though I’m expecting to see more and more sponsored posts on my Instagram, I’ll still be on the lookout for that chair, who knows, maybe IKEA already has something planned. 

Cover: Joanna Zmarzlińska

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