Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and the IV Vitamin Drip: The Celebrity Effect on Social Media Marketing

What if there was a product that could offer a quick fix for the common cold, cure the dreaded hangover after a long night out, give you an energy boost after pulling an all-nighter on your presentation, or just generally help you feel better and younger?

Sounds too good to believe, right? Then, add the celebrity endorsement power of Rihanna, Madonna, Adele, Kim Kardashian, Simon Cowell, along with many other talented athletes and artists who have been seen using these products and espousing their benefits on social media, and these factors combine to create a powerful strategy for IV vitamin therapy companies to promote their services.

Why does it matter if celebrities are seen on social media using your products? Let’s explore the celebrity effect upon companies.  

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What is IV Vitamin Therapy?

First off, what the heck is the IV Vitamin Therapy? Intravenous (IV) therapy delivers liquid substances into a vein and is the fastest way to deliver medication, vitamins and fluids throughout the body. IV therapy began in the 1830’s and became widely used in the healthcare industry after the 1950s. IV vitamin therapy is also referred to as vitamin drips. Typically, only 40% of over-the-counter vitamins ingested orally is absorbed into your body while vitamins administered intravenously will absorb at 99.9%.

Over the last few decades, companies have begun to offer IV vitamin therapy at spas specifically designed to provide these services and with mobile services at homes or concerts. Originally marketed as a hangover cure, these companies have now expanded the appeal of their product to include remedies for allergies, anxiety, depression, fatigue, colds and flu, along with being heralded as one of next big beauty treatments.

Incredible, right? These are amazing claims, but alas, scientific research has not quite caught up to validate these claims or to evaluate the safety of regularly receiving these treatments. You should consult a medical provider prior to jumping on the Kardashian IV Therapy bandwagon.

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The Celebrity Effect

Does seeing a celebrity using a product affect a consumer’s purchasing decision? Yes, it does. One Taiwanese study showed that consumers remembered products associated with a celebrity better than other products. If you happen to be a fan of that celebrity, you’re more likely to place a higher value on that product. Your subconscious suggests to you that using the product is a way to emulate that celebrity’s desirable traits.

Does this mean that I’m going to run to the store to get one of the newest endorsed product by Ryan Reynolds, Aviation Gin? Not necessarily. Seeing your product used on social media by a celebrity mainly builds consumer confidence, preference and brand awareness through social media — especially when your target may include the social media savvy Generation Zers and Millennials.

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It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Remember Rihanna’s backlash at Snap Chat on Instagram? Stock prices dipped after the backlash but the company regained its losses later that week.  While this only had short term effect, it does not help the company’s image in the court of public opinion, especially with losing support of an influential celebrity in Snap Chat’s targeted market segment.

Does it work?

Yes, celebrity social media endorsements do contribute to the perceived value of a product or service. According to a report from Marketwatch, a simple brand signing of a celebrity or athlete can increase sales by an average of 4%. The social media presence of a celebrity using a product contributes to consumers’ trust and brand awareness, and promotes your product while influencing consumer purchase intentions.

Is this another Kardashian endorsed prepaid credit card? Will we see a resurgence in Trump Steaks and be happily grilling them over Labor Day weekend? Or brushing our teeth with a Justin Beiber singing toothbrush with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen AquaFresh toothpaste? Hold on… having a celebrity endorsement does not guarantee your product or marketing strategy is successful.

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Keep in mind that celebrity endorsements are not enough to guarantee success in attracting new consumers or gaining acceptance in an emerging market. Gaining the endorsement of Justin Beiber or Rihanna may not necessarily matter to the consumers in your targeted market segment.  Companies must continue to demonstrate their value to consumers and show them how they’re providing benefits and value in real and tangible ways.

Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants today are known as giraffes

Chuck Norris High Kick

Did I get your attention? Never underestimate the power of Chuck Norris to get people’s attention. Or any other celebrity for that matter. The power of celebrity branding or endorsement cannot be understated these days. We see a movie star wear something, we want to buy it to be like them. We see an athlete drink Gatorade, we absolutely must buy a case of it! Chuck Norris also has done a run of celebrity endorsements. Anyone remember The Total Gym? My personal favorite are the Action Jeans, just in case you too need to high kick someone in the chin.

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Of course, Chuck Norris isn’t the only celebrity to endorse a product. How many stars are now endorsing shoe companies like Adidas or Puma? What about athletes? How many people have just had to have a pair of Jordans or KDs by Nike? Everyone wants to emulate their favorite star or athlete, and buying what they are selling is a big part of that. If we can’t look like them, we can at least dress like them. Same with cars, or in this case trucks. I wonder how many Volvo trucks Jean-Claude Van Damme’s commercial sold?

But is celebrity endorsement just being seen wearing a particular brand? With most celebrities having several hundred followers on their Twitter account alone, celebrities also have the ability to reach a broad audience base, much more than you or I could on any of our social media platforms. Because of that, celebrities get an insane amount of money just to tweet a brand. A simple celebrity search gives us a few numbers from 2013  to put this into perspective. Actor Frankie Muniz gets paid $252 per tweet. Doesn’t seem like much, but that’s just one time. If he tweets a product 20 times, that’s $5040 for a couple minutes’ worth of work and he’s just reached 175,000+ potential customers. What about a Kardashian? Khloe earns $13,000 per tweet. That’s a whole lot of money, but well-earned because her tweets will reach over 8 million people. Companies that are willing to pay her that kind of money fully understand that if they reach just a percentage of her followers, they will easily recoup their cost.

So what does this all mean? If you can afford Chuck Norris (or another celebrity) to endorse your product publicly, it will likely cost you significantly, but the upfront cost will likely be recouped by additional customers that your own marketing might not meet. And not to be outdone by Jean-Claude Van Damme, I leave you with this video:

 

Chuck Norris approves this post! (Not really, but imagine how many followers I would have if he did!)

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