Brands are lagging behind Hollywood when it comes to hiring celebrities of colour for endorsement deals, new research has shown.
At $1.3bn and counting, the box office revenues of Black Panther may have established the commercial value of an African American cast to film studio execs, however brands have proven less willing to collaborate with musicians, actors and personalities of colour when it comes to endorsement contracts.
Spotted, a celebrity endorsements data platform, noted that 47 celebrity endorsement deals or campaigns featuring white talent launched in Q1 2018. However, in the same time period, there were only 12 that predominantly featured African American celebs.
The latter list included FKA Twigs for Apple, John Legend for Google, Morgan Freeman for Mountain Dew and Cardi B for Amazon.
"It's hard to decipher why brands would be hesitant about working with African American celebrities for endorsement," said Janet Comenos, Spotted's chief executive and co-founder. "My instinct is that many decision makers at brands and agencies may simply identify subconsciously more with white celebrities. There's certainly some risk involved with any celebrity endorsement, but that's true for endorsers of any background – which is why marketers need to use real data and insights to drive these crucial decisions, not just their gut and personal judgment."
She continued: "It's frankly a huge missed opportunity. By limiting themselves to white celebrities, brands are missing out on appealing to diverse parts of the market. We've seen celebrities of color who appeal to a massive range of consumers for brands across industries.
"The best celebrity endorsement decisions are made based on authentic connection and alignment with a brand, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else."
Comenos added that outside of America, Spotted found "significantly" less people of colour chosen to be celebrity endorsers across Europe and the UK.
"It's clearly an issue across the west, regardless of country or industry," she said.
Spotted, which combed its data on more than 22,000 brands and 13,000 celebrities for its Q1 report, also analysed the African American celebrities currently displaying high relevance to consumers in the celebrity influencer space. They ranked:
1. Jennifer Hudson
I’m on my way but first thank u @iamwill for my shades and @adamburrell for my makeup and @tiffdoeshair for my hair and @rockdbyholly for my nails and @rockdbyholly @sashkajewelry for my square rings #Coachella2018 it’s time for boss lady to have a lil fun!
A post shared by Jennifer Hudson (@iamjhud) on
2. Tyler Perry
Some call us the “Odd Couple” because they view us on the surface. But what unites us is the love for great music. The thing that unites us all is humanity! Thank You @warren_diane for collaborating with me not only to create music but to affect the ! #standupforsomething A post shared by Common (@common) on
4. Chadwick Boseman
Honored to be included in the 2018 #TIME100 list. http://bit.ly/cbtime100 A post shared by Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) on
6. Tiffany Haddish
7. Colin Kaepernick
“I would like to thank Amnesty International for The Ambassador of Conscience Award. But in truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force.” @amnesty @yourrightscamp @ravisionmedia #KnowYourRights : @karlfergusonjr A post shared by colin kaepernick (@kaepernick7) on