2012 China Celebrity Endorsement Report: Who is the best brand ambassador?

Sirius Wang and Penny Du

The past decade has seen an explosive growth of celebrity advertising, especially in China where more than half of the advertisements feature celebrities.

According to Millward Brown's Link database, about 9 percent of advertisements used celebrities in the year 2000, which rose to a staggering 53 percent in 2011, twice the global average. Celebrities are most frequently used in food and hair care advertisements.

In spite of the rapid growth of celebrity advertising, its effectiveness has been decreasing. The 2011 data indicates that celebrity advertisements are not even as effective as advertisements which do not contain celebrities. An analysis based on the Link database finds that, in terms of likability and brand linkage, the two most critical indicators of TV advertising effectiveness, celebrity advertising has fallen by 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively. In fact, only 35 percent of celebrity TV advertisements in 2011 achieved good results, versus 42 percent for non-celebrity advertisements.