We all know that celebrities play a huge role in the commercial and marketing industry. We have all seen the Proactiv commercials featuring a long list of celebrities that struggle with acne or a commercial like the one featured in yesterday’s post with Pauly D. In fact, according to the International Journal of Advertising about 25% of all US advertisements use celebrity endorsements and whether we want to admit it or not (ahem…third person media effect), what celebrities do or buy does have an effect on us. But that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. What about when a celeb uses their influence and power for the greater good? When they help draw attention to a social problem?
Oprah Winfrey is probably one of the most famous philanthropic celebrities of our time. She has used her show to shed light on many social issues and world issues as well raise millions of dollars for charities across the globe. Her influence is so high that economists at the University of Maryland stated that when she publicly endorsed Obama in the 2008 election, she may have brought in up to one million votes with her. That’s a lot of power. Other celebrities have also started to take a public stance on social issues in order to gain public interest. Jennifer Aniston along with many other celebrities do commercials for St. Jude’s or in support of animal adoption. Or as seen in the picture, Justin Bieber has joined with PETA in an effort to get people to adopt animals from their local shelters. The list could go on and on.
So there’s some food for thought. Although we usually discuss celebrity endorsements with an air of negativity, we should also look at how they help organizations and causes that we, as the general public, might not have noticed without them.
-Alaethea Hensley, Jessica Kingman, & Lauren Phelps