Using Q Scores and the Fame Index to Help Choose a Celebrity Endorser

Obviously many marketers believe strongly in the value of celebrity spokespeople, as the amount of money paid to them continues to soar to record levels. Companies look for a celebrity who will attract viewers' attention and enhance the image of the company or brand. But how do they choose the right one? While some executives rely on their own intuition and gut feeling, many turn to research that measures a celebrity's appeal as well as other factors that will provide insight into his or her warmth, trust, and credibility among the target audience.

To help select a celebrity endorser, many companies and their advertising agencies rely on Q ratings that are commercially available from the New York-based firm known as Marketing Evaluations/TVQ, Inc. To determine its Performer Q ratings for TV and movie personalities, the company surveys a representative national panel of 1,800 people twice a year and asks them to evaluate over 1,500 performers. For its Sports Q rating, which is conducted once a year, the company surveys 2,000 teens and adults and asks them about approximately 500 active and retired players, coaches, managers,and sportscasters. In both studies respondents are asked to indicate whether they have ever seen or heard of the performer or sports personality and, if they have, to rate him or her on a scale that includes "one of my favorites," "very good," "good," "fair," or "poor." The familiarity score indicates the percentage of people who have heard of the person, while the one-of-my-favorite score is an absolute measure of the appeal or popularity of the celebrity. The well-known Q rating is calculated by taking the percentage of respondents who indicate that a person is

"one of my favorites" and dividing that number by the percentage of respondents who indicate that they have heard of that person. The Q score thus answers the question "How appealing is the person among those who do know him or her?"

Results from a 2002 Performer Q study found that Tom Hanks was familiar to 92 percent of those surveyed and was considered "one of my favorites" by 48 percent. Thus, his Q rating was 52 (48/92) which was the highest score among all performers measured. Other performers in the top 10 along with their Q ratings included Bill Cosby (50), Mel Gibson (47), Harrison Ford (45), Sean Connery (45), Denzel Washington (42), Robert DeNiro (41), Michael J. Fox (40), and Will Peterson (30). The 2002 Sports Q survey for active and retired athletes, coaches, managers, and sportscasters showed that Michael Jordan was familiar to 90 percent of those surveyed and considered "one of my favorites" by 47 percent, for a leading Q rating of 52. Other sports personalities in the top 10 included Tiger Woods (43), Nolan Ryan (40), Cal Ripken Jr. (39), Joe Montana (39), Wayne Gretzky (37), Jerry Rice (36), Sarah Hughes (36), Jackie Joyner-Kersey (36), and John Madden (35). The average Q score is generally around 18 for performers and 17 for sports personalities. Marketing Evaluation's Q ratings are also broken down on the basis of various demographic criteria such as a respondent's age, income, occupation, education, and race so that marketers have some idea of how a celebrity's popularity varies among different groups of consumers.

In addition to using Q ratings, marketers are using information provided by other firms to match celebrities with their products. Hollywood-Madison Avenue Group, a firm that arranges celebrity endorsements, has poured over 10 years of research into its Fame Index, which is a database listing more than 10,000 celebrities by 250 criteria such as age, sex, residence, career highlights, charity affiliations, fears, interests, and addictions. The database is updated daily with information from the Internet, magazines, and newspaper articles as well as television. Information in the Fame Index reveals that actors Tom Cruise, Jim Belushi,and Jason Alexander are big hockey fans, while Carol Burnett and Rosie O'Donnell collect dolls. Kirstie Alley's interests include Scientology, the environment, and motorcycles, and she supports charities concerned with AIDS, children's welfare, and animal rights. Hollywood-Madison has helped a number of companies choose celebrities to serve as their advertising spokespersons. For example, Philips Consumer Elec

Celebrity Fame Index

tronics used the company to help with the selection of a celebrity to promote high-definition, wide-screen televisions. The Fame Index identified director Martin Scorsese as a film preservationist who supports the wide-screen format, and Hollywood-Madison helped broker a deal with him to participate in a public education campaign supporting the introduction of Philips new line of wide-screen HDTV.

As more and more companies court celebrities to endorse their products or businesses, appear at events, or support causes, they no longer are relying solely on intuition or brainstorming sessions to select such spokespersons. Companies such as Marketing Evaluations/TVQ and Hollywood-Madison are providing information that helps them find the ideal candidate.

Sources: Marketing Evaluations/TVQ, Inc.,; Kristina Saurwein,"Finding the Right Pitch," Los Angeles Times, July 30,2001,p.B3;

determine whether compliance actually occurs. An indirect way of using power is by using an individual with an authoritative personality as a spokesperson. Actor Charles Bronson, who typifies this image, has appeared in public service campaigns commanding people not to pollute or damage our natural parks (Exhibit 6-8).

The use of source power applies more in situations involving personal communication and influence. For example, in a personal selling situation, the sales rep may have some power over a buyer if the latter anticipates receiving special rewards or favors for complying with the salesperson. Some companies provide their sales reps with large expense accounts to spend on customers for this very purpose. Representatives of companies whose product demand exceeds supply are often in a position of power; buyers may comply with their requests to ensure an adequate supply of the product. Sales reps must be very careful in their use of a power position, since abusing a power base to maximize short-term gains can damage long-term relationships with customers.

The way marketing communications are presented is very important in determining their effectiveness. Promotional managers must consider not only the content of their persuasive messages but also how this information will be structured for presentation and what type of message appeal will be used. Advertising, in all media except radio, relies heavily on visual as well as verbal information. Many options are available with respect to the design and presentation of a message. This section examines the structure of messages and considers the effects of different types of appeals used in advertising.

Message Factors

Exhibit 6-8 Actor Charles Bronson's authoritative image makes him an effective source

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  • Jolly
    How do companies select celebrities?
    8 years ago
  • severino
    What is the average q score marketing?
    8 years ago
    What is cal ripken's q score?
    6 years ago
  • marco
    What is q rate of celebrity?
    6 years ago
  • Fletcher Forbes
    Do marketers use q scores?
    6 years ago
  • Heike
    Who has highest q rating?
    3 years ago

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