Celebrities As Symbolic Commodities in Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Commodity brands need to develop some values quickly unless they just want to be price-driven. Commodities are in danger of becoming the acmes of the 21st century. The commodity-to-human brand continuum reflects the extent to which people ascribe the values they're seeking in apparel to 50 fashion brands. Commodities are at the low end of the scale and human brands are at the high end.

Hunt (2001) reiterates that celebrities can be very effective in the endorsement of products; however, they can also be dangerous. The advantages of using a celebrity are that they can increase attention to and how memorable the ad and product, enhance credibility of the message, and imbue a product with positive image characteristics. The disadvantage, or danger, is that if a celebrity has a negative image, it can be passed on to the product being endorsed. As shown in this study, bed sheets are perceived as ordinary, safe, reliable, and delicate. When advertised by Deion Sanders, however, bed sheets are perceived as unusual, risky, less reliable, and somewhat rugged. This suggests that great care should be taken in selecting a celebrity endorser. The celebrity's image must be taken into account.

The answer lies in what all celebrities have in common: they create a community of watchers who, by paying attention to the same subject, come to share knowledge and experiences with one another. Celebrities furnish a cure, supplanting more time-consuming social platforms like churches and civic clubs. Celebrities have retained their convening power as a basis for shared conversation even as more traditional sources have eroded (Robinson, 2007).

Celebrities are developed to make money .Their names and image are used to market films, CD's, magazines, newspapers, television programs, including the news. The media wants celebrities involved with their projects because they believe this will help them attract audiences. Film producers use celebrities as a means of attracting investments to their projects, marketers use celebrity endorsements as a means of profiling and branding their products, television programs feature guest appearances from celebrities to build their audiences (Turner, 2004).

In all it is abundantly clear that celebrities are the symbolic commodities that we have grown to know them as; not only does one determine what movies are a must see, and what brand of clothing to wear, celebrities also have the ability to influence what places to eat at etc. Along with the ability to shift the viewing and buying preferences of the average consumer come certain responsibilities. Once a celebrity has become a branding tool for that film or product they are now held accountable for the success of that film or product. This can lead to the celebrity losing some of the ability that he or she may have to sway consumers if the product or idea he or she endorses is not a success. One point remains clear though celebrities are a commodity all of the writers utilized in this evaluation stand firm of the sensitive nature of the worth of the celebrity. Though celebrities do have the ability to fill movie theaters, and restaurants, as well as get people to go out and buy specific products, nothing is guaranteed or promised. It is possible that a celebrity can wake up one day and no longer be the strong selling point that he or she once was. Success truly lies in the hands of the consumer as well as the perception of the celebrity portrayed by the media. As Turner (2004) expressed celebrities are developed to make money, without that ability there is no use for them and they are cast aside for the next best thing.


Corliss, R. (Sept 4, 2000). So Much for Star Power: The summer's hits were short on big names. Is this the post-Arnold era?. Time, 156, 10. p.51.

Hunt, J. The Impact of Celebrity Endorsers on Consumers' Product Evaluations: A Symbolic Meaning Approach. (2005):12(5)

Milner, Murray, Jr. "Celebrity culture as a status system." The Hedgehog Review 7.1 (Spring 2005): 66(12).

Robinson, D. (Jan-Feb 2007). Celebrity power: information overload makes our attention the next hot commodity, writes David Robinson. An endless variety of niche sources could leave us absorbed -- and isolated -- if not for the big-name celebrities who bring us…

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