According to an article on AdAge with Askmen.com, 35% of men look up to CEO money makers like Steve Jobs. That’s 11% more than Athletes and 27% more than Actors/Entertainers. Is this because more CEO’s are acting as the face of their company? Look at Richard Branson for Virgin Mobile, Dan Hesse for Spint, Steve Jobs for Apple and Bill Gates for Microsoft. Sure, they’re not all featured in their advertising, but they’ve taken a major public role within their organization.
The truth is, this has been going on since Lee Iacocca became the highly visable spokesperson to help Chrystler rebrand itself after the 1979 bail out. It worked then, and it seems to work now. But we’ll never see CEO’s in advertisng as much as we’ll see Athletes, Actors and Musician. Fortunately, there will always be plenty of endorsement opportunities for CEO’s. Using a CEO is an obvious trust/quality play. Using Celebrities plays a much different role to drive awareness, to create transferable emotional connections and to increase brand value.