The Vampire Effect in Influencers Marketing

What happens when celebrities and their careers become bigger than the brands they promote?

3 min to read
Written by: Marko Sitar

The race for the audience’s attention among brands is getting fiercer, especially when we consider the sea of ​​information and promotional messages we are exposed to every day. Brands often turn to the use of celebrities in their communication strategies, which has been proven effective in raising brand awareness and reaching the target audience more easily. In addition to being able to attract attention to a specific product or service and thus achieve a number of positive effects on the brand, such as strengthening the image or increasing sales, sometimes in communication they “overpower” the brand they are promoting, which ultimately causes the so-called vampire effect.


The vampire effect in advertising often occurs when the person engaged in the campaign does not fully resonate with the characteristics and values ​​of the brand he is promoting, so the public remembers the advertisement and the famous person more often than the brand, which is a key factor in the whole story. A good example of this is when an internationally unknown brand hires an internationally known person. In such cases, potential customers are much more likely to pay attention to the famous person rather than the core product or brand message that should be the focus of the campaign.


Is a large audience reach enough for success?


One of the examples in which a famous person overshadowed the brand itself is the 2004 campaign of the American car manufacturer Chrysler and the world-famous Canadian singer Celine Dion. The three-year contract between Celine and Chrysler amounted to a dizzying 14 million dollars, and the company soon realized that they missed the point. At that moment, the company’s strategy was to approach a younger and more affluent audience, and it turned out that the average age of the audience affected by the campaign was over 52 years old. In addition to completely missing the target audience, Celine Dion was much more famous than the brand at the time, which ultimately resulted in a real fiasco.


How to avoid the vampire effect?


Such a phenomenon can be challenging to predict, but at the very beginning of communication planning it is important to pay attention to several “golden rules”. When choosing a person to represent the brand, it is crucial to find an influencer that will provide a good balance between a large potential reach and content that can credibly convey the brand’s values. The influencer, i.e. the famous person and the brand they will promote should be a good match, i.e. the brand should naturally fit into that person’s lifestyle. A good example of this is when a famous athlete promotes sports equipment. It is also a good strategy to choose people who do not carry with them risky behaviours or problems from the past that can be negatively associated with the brand. Finally, it is worth thinking about long-term partnerships in order to maximize the effects of cooperation.


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