Friday, October 24, 2014

And Now a Word from...Vivian Vance?

Practically since the beginning of television, advertisers have been looking for ways to make sure consumers watch their commercials. In the 1970s and 1980s, one favorite way was to hire a celebrity whom viewers liked to deliver the message.

At right is Vivian Vance, beloved as Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy, pitching coffee. Below is movie and TV veteran Martha Raye as a spokesperson for a denture cleanser. They're just two of the classic TV performers who landed ongoing endorsement deals. Such a deal could be quite lucrative, well into six figures per year, without requiring a lot of an actor's time.

"Celebrity broker" Jon Albert explained in 1986, "As the price of network commercials keeps going up and up, there has to be a tremendous amount of effectiveness in a short time ... Viewers tend to become aware of celebrity commercials a lot quicker than non-celebrity commercials. By capitalizing on the performer's celebrity you can give the product some celebrity."

Did this work for you? Did you buy products because they were endorsed by a celebrity?

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