The New York Times ran a long article entitled “Nothing Sells Like Celebrity”. Professor Robert Cialdini makes it clear why celebrity is still important in an age of information overload.
“We’ve used our cognitive capacity to build a sophisticated informational and technological environment,” he says. But overloaded with information and stimulation, shoppers’ brains revert to a more primitive, raw association of celebrity and product, Mr. Cialdini explains.
One fact jumped out at me from a bit about the Davie Brown Index of celebrity which marketers use to decide “who’s hot”–there are a lot of African Americans in the top 20 celebrities. The list is compiled from criteria such as “consumer awareness, likeability and trendsetting aility”. Among the top 20 ranked are: Will Smith, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, Sean Combs, Beyonce, Jay Z and Morgan Freeman.
I raise this because I was at a dinner party on Friday night with some smart people from LA who were worried that Obama will be the victim of racist backlash this November. I think the country has changed more than these LA types, who only know the middle of America as “the flyover”. If the largest corporations in America, with all their research capabilities, are using well known African Americans to represent their brand, don’t they know something that these limousine liberals don’t?