The Nielsen Company recently announced its “Top 10 Most-Liked Celebrity Endorsers” (1) for the first quarter of 2015. Action star Liam Neeson was at the top of the list, followed closely by Pierce Brosnan. Both of these actors also rank highest on Nielsen’s N-Score list – which measures overall endorsement potential – each with a score of 94 out of 100. Impressive.
Liam Neeson stars in “Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial).”
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Pierce Brosnan stars in Kia Sorento Official XLIX Ad (Extended) | “The Perfect Getaway.”
What is it about these guys that makes them so influential? Is it their star power? There are certainly bigger stars out there. Is it because they often portray characters who exude confidence? Perhaps. But there is one thing they clearly have in common: They both have distinctive voice accents.
So just how much are we influenced by exotic accents? Research has shown that voice accents evoke stereotypes about a speaker’s background, and these unconscious impressions can be transferred to a promoted product by an accented endorser. Ad agencies capitalize on this knowledge by using foreign voice accents to associate products with favorable aspects of a country. This method of psycho-sensory branding could explain why I want to throw shrimp on the barbie every time I see a Foster’s beer commercial.
Several obvious examples of successful and enduring marketing campaigns happen to have accented ambassadors. Would “The Most Interesting Man in the World” continue to capture our attention after all these years if he didn’t have that heavy accent? Would the GEICO gecko still mesmerize us if the voice-over artist had an American accent? And if it hadn’t been for Fabio, we might still believe it’s just margarine!
Fabio stars in “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!” TV commercial circa 1996.
(1) The Nielsen Company (May 26, 2015). They Really Like Me! The Most-Liked Celebrity Endorsers of Q1 2015. Retrieved from http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/they-really-like-me-the-most-liked-celebrity-endorsers-of-q1-2015.html.