A recent study that was conducted by researchers in the UK found that mostly women answered ‘yes’ when asked if they had ever bought a product based on its celebrity affiliation. While I may not be surprised by the outcome of such a study, based on the fact that I’m obviously a woman myself, and the many interactions had with various types of women from all walks of life, one can safely assume that celebrity endorsements are quite popular with us. It would be interesting to see what influence celebrity endorsements really have on South African female consumer spending patterns, beyond the estimated values of awareness, reach and engagement.
As someone with a vested interest in the topic of celebrity endorsements, a consideration I had never made is the reason the concept appeals more to women. Managing partner at a creative marketing agency, Joanna Davies, believes celebrity endorsement is a continuation of the ‘Princess Phenomenon’. ‘We’ve been told from birth that prettiness means acceptance, love and success and we’ve all been chasing it since the days our mums dressed us up as babies in pink frilly knickers and silly pink dresses,’ she says on the topic. ‘Since Snow White with her porcelain complexion, itsy waist and perfectly pinned hair, women have been looking for guidance on how to look and chasing impossible perfection. Celebrity endorsement is just that Princess Phenomenon evolving. Despite the Sheryl Sandbergs and Oprah Winfreys of this world, depressingly we still live in a misogynistic society that believes women are put on this earth to perpetuate men’s idea of beauty, and celebrity is just Barbie (or Snow White) grown-up.’
To further add to Davies’ point, the concept of celebrity endorsement has been highly criticized for its contribution to racism and sexism in the entertainment and sporting fraternities. However, there is a good side to the concept, and that is what inspired this article. A substantial number of women dominate earnings lists on platforms such as Forbes, and endorsements are hugely credited for those earnings. As a platform, we take pride in applauding sisters that are breaking bank.
Below is a list of some of the most lucrative female celebrity endorsements, in no particular order:
Beyonce – Pepsi $50 Million
Pepsi is synonymous with enlisting the most influential pop icons to front their brand campaigns. The brand made a lot of headlines when they snagged one of the most coveted icons of our time, Beyoncé with a 10-year deal for $50 million in 2012. At $5million per annum, their agreement includes an exclusivity clause prohibiting the ‘Single Ladies’ hitmaker B from endorsing competing brands, in return to Pepsi sponsoring all of her creative projects.
Charlize Theron – Dior $55 Million
South African Actress Charlize Theron struck gold with her gilded J’Adore ads, spinning her initial three-year deal with Dior (reportedly worth close to $5 million annually when she signed in 2004) into an iconic partnership over a decade later.
Serena Williams – Nike $40 Million
The World’s Best Tennis Player, Serena Williams is considered one of highest-paid athletes in the world and most of it is due to her numerous endorsement deals. In 2013, Serena signed a $40 million, five-year deal with Nike, making sure that the high-profile player will wear the brand’s outfits during her tennis tournaments gaining maximum exposure.
Taylor Swift – Diet Coke $26 Million
In 2013, the Coca-Cola Company sent out a press release Monday afternoon confirming the news that Diet Coke had committed to a “ long-term partnership with country music star, Taylor Swift. The Bad Blood singer is said to have inked a $26 million sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola to be a brand ambassador for its flagship diet soda, Diet Coke. The campaign featured radio spots and TV commercials, including her 30-second ad involving a copious amount of kittens.
Rihanna – Puma $1 Million
When Puma signed Rihanna as creative director back in 2014 in a reported $1 million, multi-year contract, the company knew she would help drive sales, but her influence has exceeded all expectations. According to Bloomberg Business, her collaboration with the brand helped earn $975 million last quarter alone, giving the brand a whopping 17.1 percent increase in average sales. The reason Riri is featured on this list is because she was smart enough to add a royalties clause as part of her contract with Puma. Can you imagine what her cut is from the reports earnings by the brand?