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Time to get real: Why brands are ditching celebs for folk like us

Pets at Home Vets and Grooming Journal3
It’s long been gospel that certain things sell the best. Sex being the most obvious, celebrity another. This isn’t always true, though.
In the supermarket giant’s latest campaign, Iceland has decided to do away with the famous faces that once defined its adverts, and instead looks to mummy vloggers for its stars. Not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last, that decisions such as this still make headlines is proof of how reliant on celebrities a good proportion of the advertising and marketing world still is.
The move is a step in the right direction for the brand, if you ask us. There’s an overall trend towards what you might (over)simplify as ‘realness’ in all walks of the media right now; a fall out of the digital age. Although movie stars, pop icons and other public figures still hold a spell over us, we’re also becoming increasingly used to seeing people we recognise in ourselves on screen. And we like it.
Pets At Home used this concept in its Vets & Groomers campaign last year. A number of adverts were created from footage submitted by customers, both of time with their beloved animals and experiences of the firm’s vet and grooming services. The result meaning those in the clips are also in the audience, and represent the whole audience honestly.
Another of our lovely family members, Silentnight also has a heritage in realism. The widely-acclaimed Achievements campaign celebrated tales of success resulting from good bed rest, whether that was Dad running a 10K, or whippersnapper bringing home a football trophy.
One of the most famous examples of the power of reality has to be Dove. The beauty specialist has long been behind one of the most prominent TV campaigns to feature everyday Joes, or more accurately Josephines. The idea being to show people like us what our skin could be like after using the brand’s products, by showing them what real people’s skin looks like after using the same products.

According to a study by Brett Martin, professor of marketing at the University of Bath, it all depends on what it is you’re trying to promote. ‘Real people’, apparently, are most persuasive when it comes to products and services that require some degree of social approval from peers. Keeping up with the Jones’ next door is more feasible than reaching for the heights of celebrity stardom. Or something like that.
Ultimately, it really comes down to finding the right partnership of people and campaign or product, which is easier said than done. You need to be aware of your audience, and their relationship with your product- do they see it as a luxury, aspirational item, or something more everyday? And that’s just one example of the considerations involved. Above all else, the combination of faces and brands must be believable, whether that perceived honesty comes from a famous name or someone you might stand behind in Tesco on a Tuesday.

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