One of our topics we covered this week was persuasion; more specifically, how advertisers, marketers, and PR specialists influence or persuade (some might say manipulate, but that's a debatable term) audiences to purchase their products. While in London last weekend for the Barclaycard music festival, I noticed more than a few instances where celebrities posed with a product. One specific instance featured Rihanna on a Vita Coco ad (Vita Coco is a brand of coconut water, a bevarage that's recently become more popular as a sort of "health drink"); many ads were strategically placed close to the music festival venue, where Rihanna was headlining on Sunday night. There were also tents inside the park that sold Vita Coco, again adorned with large life-size posters of Rihanna and Vita Coco. One tent had a cut-out of Rihanna holding a Vita Coco, and held a photo contest where people could take a picture with the Rihanna cut out and submit it for a prize.
Celebrity endorsement is, of course, nothing new; but do we consciously think about it? We see Charlize Theron holding Dior perfume, Ronaldinho (a Brazilian footballer) drinking Coke (before he got caught drink Pepsi, but that's an altogether different matter...), and a slew of other celebrites wearing/drinking/driving products, but does it consciously register that they're being paid to use these products? Or do we actually pick these products because our idols (and opinion leaders) have chosen them too? I love coconut water, and I like Rihanna, but I can't say I'd pick a certain brand just because I know a celebrity likes it too. But am I in the minority? How many of you choose products because they've been endorsed by well-known figures? Or, do you think you subconsciously favor products because of ads you've seen?