Gay Males Choose Ellen DeGeneres as Their Favorite Celebrity Endorser

Ellen Degeneres Most Admired Celebrity for
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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.”

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  1. Jules says:

    Figures that they would choose one of their own.

  2. ForeverM says:

    There is only one queen. And that’s Madonna.

  3. Alex says:

    Where exactly were these “gay guys” found? this info is really hard to believe.

  4. Muso says:

    #CRYLITTLEMONSTERS

  5. Anisha says:

    Great article. In the wake of recent writeups claiming celebrity partnerships do little for brand sales, this is a great reminder that with careful planning and the right research, you can unearth a goldmine of insights to select celebs that help you drive brand affinity against a specific target!

  6. James says:

    Great insight. Not surprised that gay men favor those who are “genuine, honest, trustworthy” given the arduous road we take when coming out. I was surprised, however, that Mel Gibson or Tom Cruz didn’t show up on the least admired list.

  7. George K. Jr. says:

    According to these stats Clooney ain’t selling product to gays if he doesn’t come out.

  8. Mike says:

    Neil Patrick Harris just became the spokesperson for Heineken LIght that targets gay men too.

  9. Ramos says:

    Grounbreaking study by Jeetendr Sedhev. Very important insights to address a large demographic. Hope to see more like this!

  10. Brightside says:

    I don’t get JT being in that group. That’s kind of random. He is a nice and quiet guy. Does gay men don’t like people like that? Or just because he is a straight man?

  11. Scott says:

    I’ve never given Brad Pitt any thought until he showed up as both “least admired” yet starring in a “most admired” ad campaign. That’s makes him unique amongst the other candidates. Worth looking into…..

  12. Vincent Mark says:

    Interesting and insightful ! Hillary at the bottom ,,, hmmm didn’t expect that ,,,,

  13. J.F. says:

    How is it that Ellen DeGeneres’ new lifestyle brand is named “E.D.,” the acronym for Erectile Dysfunction? You have to be both a woman and not have watched a decade worth of commercials for cialis and viagra to miss that one..

  14. Paul Wassgren says:

    What a timely, riveting study by an accomplished Oxford and Harvard-educated branding expert!

  15. You’re on to a powerful and trendsetting consumer group, Jeetendr Sehdev! Well done and highly relevant! Glad that a genuine individual as Ellen DeGeneres is favored by gay males: Hillary Clinton named her a Special envoy for Global AIDS Awareness.

  16. lady reductive says:

    OH BOY… wait until the cult of hateful little monsters get ahold of this! LOL.. they will be wetting in their diapers over this one!

    • Angel says:

      OH BOY, wait till the elderly Madonna fanatics who cream their panties at the word ‘reductive’ continue their unhealthy obsession with Gaga news!…..oh wait

  17. Ryan says:

    They would have had better luck using Sandra Bullock for Chanel than Brad Pitt. Very interesting… shows popularity isn’t enough.

  18. Brandon says:

    Glad Depp made it into the top five. Surprised Gaga and Timberlake are at the bottom. Definitely insightful.

  19. Kelly M says:

    Gay males not only have loads of consumer power but they’ve also become the primary shapers of the cultural zeitgeist. Their influence is undeniable. Why not explore their needs as consumers more seriously, more often? What an important study!

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