Star commercials
Cooperation brings
mutual benefits to
artists and advertisers

By Wayne Leung

     The exposure of well-known professional actors and singers in TV commercials is reaching an apparent climax. People enjoy these “movie-like” ads, and both artists and advertisers benefit from the positive feedback.
     “We think the feedback from the ads starred in by Aaron Kwok is very good,” said Ms Eleanor Ng, the public relations executive of One2Free.
     “After showing the ads, we definitely made more profit, both on services and product sales,” Ms Ng said.
Courtesy of Tse Sui Luen
Jewellery Co., Ltd

     Singers also benefit by the increased exposure and the broadcasting of their songs in the ads.
     “It does help the sales of the singers’ albums, but it is hard to say if the help is obvious or not,” said Mr. Michael Tsang, promotions manager of Capital Artists Ltd.
     “With the exposure in the ads, people can recognize artists more easily,” said Mr. Tsang. “A talking point is created afterwards. Therefore, the artist becomes well-known to the public.”
     “The younger generation is usually the target market of products promoted in these ads,” said Ms Samantha Wong, account executive for Ogilvy & Mather Advertising.
     “With stars, it is much easier and a more effective means to arouse youngsters’ awareness,” she said.
     Though there is already a large number of such ads, Ms Wong said the audience would not be bored.
     “The story-lines are totally different, though they all are feathered by stars,” said Ms Wong.
     Ms Wong said the product is always the top priority when creating an ad. The story-line comes next.
     “The star is the final consideration,” said she. “Therefore, over-domination by the star in the ad is not likely.”
     Dr. Wang Jian is an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Communication at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He said there is a “tie-in” between celebrities and the products in ads.
     “The stars’ image and style are transferred to the products. They help to promote the brand name of the products.”
     These ads also cause the so-called “name recognition” effect.
     “This means the ads can arouse public attention easily, making the brand name more well-known,” said Dr. Wang. “This favours the sales of the products promoted, since people’s consumer behaviour is based heavily on brand names.”
     Nevertheless, Dr. Wang said such kinds of commercials may have shortcomings.
     “As the image of the stars and the brand names are well-connected, if the star fades, the brand name is also affected negatively.
     “If both parties are not linked, the ad not only doesn’t help to promote the goods, but also creates a negative outcome,” Dr. Wang said.
     One consumer interviewed for this story who had purchased a product from a One2Free shop claimed that he was not influenced by the ad.
     “I buy the product simply because I have the need. The price is also attractive,” he said.
     Ms Jacqueline Lam and Ms Lo Yi-ling, two 17-year-old students, admitted that they may be influenced by ads when buying albums.
     “We buy records after we have listened to the songs in the ads,” one said.
     When buying products, money is still their main consideration.
     “I think the enlarged budget for hiring stars will ultimately drive up the prices of the products,” Miss Lam said.
     “I only treat these ads as a kind of entertainment, just like watching movies,” she continued.
     Dr. Wang predicted that the star commercials trend will go on.
     “People in Hong Kong pay much attention to brand names. As a result, producing celebrity ads is an effective way to establish a brand name, as well as to promote it.”
     Ms SamanthaWong of Ogilvy & Mather had a different view.
     “Almost all well-known pop singers have participated in various kinds of ads and have already signed contracts. Moreover, the clients always want to have some new faces in their ads. Therefore, the trend can be foreseen that there will be a pause for a while after this year,” Ms Wong said.

 Achieving imagination

November 1997

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