Nutritional supplement marketers must mind the celebrity gap

Nutritional supplement marketers must mind the celebrity gap

A huge gap exists in how men and women respond to endorsements of nutritional supplements from famous people. I discuss this gap and what it means for how supplement marketers can most effectively advertise to each gender in Packaged Facts’ October 2016 report, Nutritional Supplements in the U.S., 7th Edition. However, I thought I would break down those results a little more in this blog since the results are so fascinating. Note that the results described below are from Packaged Facts’ July/August 2016 National Consumer Survey of adults who take supplements.

Younger men are unabashedly willing to listen to public figures and celebrities when trying to choose which supplements to take. Three-quarters of men aged 18-34 agree that they sometimes take into account such endorsements. However, this major influence sort of stops with Millennials, with only 51% of 35-54 year olds agreeing they take such endorsements into account and just 9% of those 55 and older willing to take into account what public figures have to say concerning endorsements.

On the other hand, women seem to be much less interested in what famous people have to say. Older women are much the same as older men, with just 7% saying they take into account endorsements from public figures and celebrities. The real difference lies in younger women, where just one-third say they take into account such endorsements, and in those aged 35-54 where just a quarter of women are swayed by endorsements.

Good so far as it goes, but these results also seem to be completely opposite from real-world sales, where very famous figures such as Dr. Oz. create massive shifts in supplement sales virtually overnight after talking about a specific type of supplement. This would make sense if the majority of Dr. Oz’s audience was young men, but in fact, 80% of the audience for his show is women, and typically older women at that, the exact same demographic that is adamant it is not influenced by celebrities.

Perhaps one clue comes from looking at a breakdown by ethnic origin rather than age. Based on the attached graph, we can see non-White women are more willing than White women to agree they take into account endorsements from public figures and much less willing to disagree. These trends occur with men as well, but with a much less pronounced effect.

So to recap; with younger men, by all means use famous figures to endorse your product. In fact, the more the merrier, particularly if those celebrities can also somehow support the science behind the efficacy of the supplement. With women, things are not nearly so clear. For women of color, certain endorsements are likely to work, but many are just as likely to be ignored, while for White women there are likely better ways to promote your product.

-- by Norman Deschamps