How marketers can use celebrities to sell more effectively


  • Hamish Pringle,

    Corresponding author
    • Director General, IPA, 44 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8QS.
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    • Hamish Pringle was appointed Director General of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) in 2001, following a 28-year career in London advertising agencies. He has written three books: ‘Brand Spirit: How Cause Related Marketing Builds Brands’, co-authored with Marjorie Thompson (1999, John Wiley & Sons), ‘Brand Manners: How to Create the Self-confident Organisation to Live the Brand’, co-authored with William Gordon (2001, John Wiley & Sons) and ‘Celebrity Sells’ (2004, John Wiley & Sons).

  • Les Binet

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    • Les Binet is European Director of DDB Matrix, DDB's econometrics consultancy. During his 17 years at DDB London, he has won 13 IPA Effectiveness Awards, and helped DDB to win ‘IPA Effectiveness Agency of the Year’ for two years in succession. He is a member of the IPA's Value of Advertising Committee, with special responsibility for developing the IPA dataBANK. In 2004 he was elected a Fellow of the IPA.


The first part of this paper summarises the key points about the use of celebrities in advertising, sets this particular creative technique in context and demonstrates how significant its return on investment can be. In the second part the paper goes on to report a more detailed analysis of the ‘celebrity’ case histories among the winners in the IPA Effectiveness Awards, and how practitioners have applied celebrity use to brands to make exceptional impacts on profitability.