Gay males have crowned talkshow personality Ellen DeGeneres their most admired celebrity, and have singled out her recent pitch work with Cover Girl as the advertising campaign they liked most in the past year.
DeGeneres closely aligns with the celebrity attributes – including being female, openly gay, smart and mature – most favored in product endorsements by this consumer segment aged 18-54, according to a recent survey conducted by brand expert Jeetendr Sehdev.
Coinciding with these results, DeGeneres just announced that she and partner Burch Creative Capital (housing brands Tory Burch, Voss Water, among others) will be launching her own designed lifestyle brand, ‘E.D.’ Featuring home goods, clothing and accessories, the E.D. line will start rolling out this holiday season.
The survey of approximately 3,000 respondents, conducted for Variety, indicates not all attributes need to be present to win respect from gay consumers. Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Bullock and Johnny Depp – one of which is male, and all of whom are or have been linked to heterosexual partners – are ranked among the most admired as well.
Advertisers are increasingly eager to attract this consumer demographic. In 2013, Witeck Communications and Harris Interactive estimated that LGBT adults are armed with buying power of about $800 billion and would soon exceed 16 million in number.
Widespread popularity is one attribute that doesn’t seem to be a major factor for this demo’s approval, as Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Hillary Clinton, Brad Pitt and Channing Tatum were identified as this group’s least admired celebrities.
The survey entailed asking gay males to name the three celebrities they most and least admired. Results were then assigned an index number and converted to a 100-pt scale, helping illustrate how these chosen celebs stack up against each other.
Respondents were also asked to describe their admiration of specific openly gay celebrities, with DeGeneres, Jane Lynch, Rosie O’Donnell, Tim Gunn and Cynthia Nixon ranking highest. Ricky Martin, Portia De Rossi, Adam Lambert, Zachary Quinto and Lance Bass ranked lowest.
Additionally, gay males were given a selection of about 40 major celeb-centered advertising campaigns that hit over the last 12 months, and were asked which ones they liked best. Following DeGeneres and Cover Girl as their top pick, came Jane Lynch and Healthy Choice; Beyonce and Pepsi; Elton John and Pepsi; and Brad Pitt and Chanel.
Most important personality characteristics influencing purchase preferences are that endorsers are genuine, honest, trustworthy, intelligent and reliable. Least important are classy, tough, trendy, family-friendly and wholesome.
Pitt’s inclusion does indicate some mixed messages from respondents, who’ve also listed him as one of their least admired celebs. Similarly, although Beyonce and Pepsi are favored as a campaign pair, the singer is no match for DeGeneres. In a separate, back-to-back comparison of each celebrity’s influence on gay males, Beyonce scores a 6 and DeGeneres scores a 64, on a 100-point converted scale.
From a given selection of about 20 campaigns specifically targeted to the LGBT community, respondents listed as their top five, in descending order: Google Chrome ‘s”It Gets Better”; Amazon’s “Husbands”; JetBlue and its social media support of NBA player Jason Collins and Expedia’s “Find Your Understanding.”