CEOs trump movie stars among celeb endorsers, says survey

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Mulling celebrity spokes-candidates for an ad campaign? Consider this: business leaders are more persuasive than athletes, movie stars or musicians, according to a Harris Interactive poll conducted on behalf of Adweek.

An online survey of 2,186 adults found that of the various strains of celebrity, 37% of consumers find famous business leaders to be most persuasive as product endorsers. Don't tell Bob Dole, but politicians came in last, with just 10% of respondents ranking them most persuasive. Fourteen percent said singers or musicians are most persuasive, 18% cited television or movie stars and 21% said athletes are tops for product plugs.

The survey found significant age differences among respondents, though. Those 55 and older were much more likely to find suits persuasive, with 46% ranking them most persuasive, while just 28% of those 18-34 ranked celebrity CEOs tops.

For drug advertisers, of course, whether or not a celeb has had personal experience with a disease is as important as anything. The persuasive power of authenticity aside, PhRMA's Guiding Principles on DTC advertising stipulate that: "Where a DTC television or print advertisement features a celebrity endorser, the endorsements should accurately reflect the opinions, findings, beliefs or experience of the endorser," and that "Companies should maintain verification of the basis of any actual or implied endorsements made by the celebrity endorser in the DTC advertisement, including whether the endorser is or has been a user of the product if applicable."

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