Following in the footsteps of Sarah Jessica Parker, Tina Fey is the latest celebrity to back Garnier Nutrisse, the L'Oréal-owned line of nature-based hair and skin care products. In a new 30-second spot, Tina puts Garnier Nutrisse “to the test,” showcasing a dramatic before-and-after look.
What’s strange about the ad (which is not yet on YouTube) is that it lacks Tina’s expected humor — she’s pretty serious about the about the rich, radiant color and 100% gray coverage Nutrisse claims to deliver. Fey emerges glamorous from her “test” wearing a sweetheart pink sweater and a skirt that’s a la Sex and the City. “Okay, this color is crazy gorgeous,” says Tina right before she delivers a flurry of Nutrisse benefits. But, aside from being absent from her usual sharp wit and self-deprecating humor, it works. Here’s why:
According to Pringle (Celebrity Sells, 2004), brands choose a celebrity endorsement for one of three reasons: 1) to launch a new brand, 2) to reinforce an existing brand, or 3) as part of a brand repositioning strategy. It appears Garnier is using Tina as a way to reinforce their existing brand message. But what about Tina specifically makes this ad work? There are three factors that Belch & Belch (Advertising and Promotion, 2001) attribute to how well a celebrity fits a brand: 1) credibility, 2) attractiveness, and 3) power.
A celebrity’s credibility (and in this case Tina’s) is based on two things: expertise and trustworthiness. Tina may not be an expert on hair, but she certainly seems like a trustworthy tell-it-like-it-is kind of gal. In addition, Tina’s lack of expertise is addressed by having her put the product to the test in the beginning of the spot.
Tina’s attractiveness — or rather perceived similarity, familiarity, and likeability — is where she really shines (and not just from her newly revamped hair color); she’s so relatable. Although she’s had a streak of solid showings, Tina Fey has had her fair share of red carpet fashion bloopers. That, combined with the character she portrays on 30 Rock, makes her seem a little more human, approachable, and “like me.” And, as someone who comes from humble beginnings, viewers can envision Tina dying her own hair and picking up her own dry cleaning. She probably doesn’t, but that’s not the point.
Finally, a celebrity’s power or ability to persuade consumers to make a purchase is the last factor that determines how well they align with a brand. This one is always tricky because it’s not something that’s known until after the fact. However, based on her poised delivery, Garnier picked the perfect pretty-in-pink spokesperson. But next time, maybe let the lady throw in a few one-liners.