ABX Advisory

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Competitive Intelligence for Telecom: Are Celebrities Worth it?

Posted by Gary Getto on Sep 8, 2015 12:47:00 PM

We got to wondering if celebrity spokespeople are worth the big bucks in Telecom/Wireless. So, we pulled all competitor TV spots for 2015 YTD and compared the ad effectiveness scores for those with celebrities against those without.   For analysis of ads in other categories, see our Competitive Intelligence resources page.

Celebrities Don't Appear to be a Guaranteed Win

To our surprise, we saw very little statistical difference in the scores as you can see below. (Note: An ABX Index of 100 is "average" and an Index of 140+ is "great.")

Chart showing which Telecoms get higher scores with celebrities. So why don’t those with celebrities stand out as ‘great TV?’ We saw some strong creative in the line-up, but the audience didn’t reward it with creative effectiveness scores as high as we would have anticipated.

To illustrate, let's look at two of the top ads below.  The #1 ad starred David Beckham in a :60 spot for Sprint that focused on the complexity of competitor wireless plans.  The ad garnered a decent 125, which is 25% above “average” in the ABX scoring system, but still below “greatness." The high Reputation score indicates Beckham’s presence did have an impact, at least in the :60 version. (Click to play).

David Beckham in a T-Mobile ad.

ABX Scorecard showing T-Mobile results with David Beckham.

Then, we looked at the #3 ad, which was for T-Mobile, which does not use a celebrity. Amazingly, it scores almost as high!  (Note: the #2 ad featured Joel McHale for T-Mobile.) (Click to play).

T-Mobile ad not using celebrity.

ABX Scorecard for T-Mobile ad without celebrity.

So, is it worth the money to hire a celebrity in Telecom/Wireless?  Based on our consumer panel, we’d say maybe not.  See below for how the celebs themselves stacked up.

Graph showing Celebrity Effectiveness Scores

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How the ABX Testing is Done

ABX provides ad effectiveness scores from human respondents against 14 variables and in all media types. ABX Index values are a comparison of the results of an ad versus the average of all ads in the ABX database (100,000+ ads). Click for more information about definitions and methodology. 

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Topics: Telecom, Cable and Internet, Advertising Effectiveness

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