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High-Profile Brands Return to Marketing Roots

Looking for talent for your clients’ next ad campaigns? Take a look at their customer base. A recent article featured on, “In These Ads, Customers Are The Celebrities,” the recent trend of using real customers as spokespeople, rather than celebrities, is highlighted as an emerging trend. Perhaps this is not entirely accurate, as this practice has been around since roughly the dawn of marketing, but it is enjoying a resurgence in ad campaigns today.

Dell, Marriott and American Express are the companies featured in the article for their recent campaigns (noting that American Express has been doing so for some time now), but it is a strategy often employed by smaller, local companies as well. At Austin Williams, we utilized this strategy in our Molloy College “Go Ahead. Start Something.” and “I Will” campaigns, which feature real students’ photos and information as a way to connect to prospective students considering the school. cites the current economic climate as a factor in the trend, stating “These apparently aren’t the times for slick models or celebrity pitch-people.” The Dell and American Express campaigns are designed to promote entrepreneurs as the key to turning the economy around. However, the practice of featuring “real people” can be applied to just about anything, as exemplified by the Marriott campaign and A&W’s Molloy campaign.
Perhaps not a revolutionary idea – more of a time-tested strategy – this brand positioning technique is definitely gaining strength in the current advertising environment, and isn’t likely to go away any time soon.



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