Animal rights group Humane Society International have enjoyed the support of comedian Ricky Gervais (who is also the ambassador of Cruelty Free International) for its campaign to stop cosmetics testing on animals, whilst PETA drew on the support of model and TV presenter Jessica Jane Clement for its latest poster campaign.
With his millions of fans worldwide and almost three million followers on Twitter to immediately communicate to, it is no doubt that Gervais’ support has a huge impact on the campaign message.
Is it helpful to the cause?
Some would question whether celebrity involvement helps the cause at all, as they say that whilst informing the public and highlighting certain issues due to celebrity status, it doesn’t necessarily mean people will be more inclined to do something or support the cause.
However, in an interview with Alistair Currie, policy advisor at PETA, he told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that celebrity support has a big impact on campaign messages, and that raising the awareness is an important factor.
“When celebrities talk, people listen. By taking a stand against animal abuse or exploitation – and by helping [PETA] educate the public about issues such as the 2013 ban on testing cosmetics on animals – our celebrity supporters make a big difference,” he said.
Celebrities can have a massive impact on a message due to their status, which as Currie says, raises awareness; but it can also see the individual’s personal image benefit from getting behind the right cause.
In a nutshell, exercising an element of social responsibility is a big winner for celebrities, just in the same way that a solid CSR strategy works for companies throughout the cosmetics industry: it generates business and enhances image.
It is common knowledge in the PR industry that a cause or campaign would be significantly hindered without a high profile individual lending their support; however the celebrities benefit just as much from their involvement.
For example, a celebrity’s humanitarian work, or support of a cause or charity is much more likely to earn them a lofty place in the public’s esteem.
Attracting one high profile star inevitably leads to another; in the case of PETA, Pamela Anderson, Justin Bieber, Joaquin Phoenix… etc, have all lent their support to the cause.
For Ricky Gervais, he can use his enhanced public status to deliver the message on animal testing in the cosmetics industry and support a cause he is fully behind, whilst also adding another dimension to his public image.
Is this a bad thing? One would have to say no. Celebrity endorsement and ambassadors have been used for years in the beauty and fragrance industry to sell products, so why not benefit from using that appeal and status to highlight an important cause.