Dutch neuroscientists released a study this week that more or less confirms what advertisers have been banking on for all time: celebrity sells. It’s science.
Specifically, the scientists found that when women see a celebrity wear, say, a beautiful pair of Alexander Wang open-toe combat boots, it has an actual impact on their brain activity — the medial orbitofrontal cortex (see left), which is involved in the cognitive processing of decision making, actually lights up when ladies see Katie Holmes in those sultry Miu Miu ads. Seeing them on an equally beautiful non-celeb, however, doesn’t have the same kind of impact.
So, Esquire.com‘s Marty Beckerman got curious — does the same thing happen to men? The scientists are planning to study the impact of celebrity endorsement in guys, and the research team’s leader shared his hypothesis:
“There’s no reason to think it would be different for men, and it’s not gender-related in the sense that only male celebrities appeal to men or vice versa,” said lead scientist Mirre Stallen, a doctoral student at Erasmus University.
LeBron James playing in Nikes has the same effect on our side of the species, she insisted, as Sarah Jessica hawking a pair of heels — “but it would make no sense for her to sell cars” because of the mental connection. Same goes for Tiger Woods these days, since his “image is negative — so he wouldn’t be a good endorser for anything. “
We’ll wait until the data comes back before we’ll call it a direct correlation, but it seems to us that, given how much credibility and influence actors and singers are already shellacked with, guys are just as susceptible to Tom Ford wearing a suit as women are to Karlie Kloss wearing Dior.