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AIM 2021 Session Recap: Celebrity Marketing

Leveraging Celebrity Endorsements in Multifamily


Using celebrity endorsements in marketing is not a new concept, but the practice hasn’t gained much traction over the years in the multifamily space. The fact is, celebrities boost brand awareness and enhance credibility, and the corresponding sales speak for themselves. 

One in five television commercials features a famous person. Companies realize a 4% increase in sales from celebrity endorsements, with certain brands seeing as much as a 20% increase in the first year of endorsement. 

The 2021 AIM session, Celebrity Marketing: Leveraging Technology for Celebrity Endorsements, discussed the benefits of celebrity influence, opportunities to leverage celebrity marketing in multifamily and how to get started. 

Selecting a celebrity to align with a company’s brand can be tricky. In an era of media scrutiny and canceled culture, companies need to minimize the risk and be careful who they hitch their wagons to. The biggest names in popular culture don’t necessarily carry the desired appeal. Celebrity spokespeople need to be a good match for the brand and generate the right audience and followers. 

“You don’t want somebody who is just in it for the money, but somebody who enjoys the work and enjoys your brand,” said Patrick Dodson, president of marketing for Apartments.com and CoStar Group.

Dodson said Apartments.com selected actor Jeff Goldblum – who plays Brad Bellflower, Sillicon Valley Maverick, in Apartments.com television commercials – because he had the eccentricity that they were looking for. Dodson said Goldblum has an invaluable enthusiasm for the role, and his vision for the Brad Bellflower character often helps to steer the advertising campaign. 

While a celebrity television endorsement can certainly elevate the company brand, it’s not the only means to tap into celebrity influence. There are also affordable property-level options for celebrity endorsement.

“Most of us think a big celebrity equals a big budget,” said Tina Mortera, chief marketing officer & senior vice president of marketing & communications for Progress Residential. “But there are a number of new applications that can give other brands access to celebrities. These platforms have democratized celeb campaigns.”

Engaging celebrities through podcasts, Zoom calls or appearances via Cameo – a social media platform where actors, comedians, models, athletes and other celebrities self-produce content to endorse a brand – can deliver big returns on the local level by generating new followers and impressions. 

Property teams have the luxury of selecting hyper-local celebrities, as well. 

“The lines are blurring in terms of what is really a celebrity, so keep an open mind. You might want someone who is really local, local athletes or radio personalities, social media celebrities, and even digital avatars now that have followings,” Mortera said. 

At all levels of celebrity marketing, audience engagement is the goal. 

“It’s the immediate connectivity that the celebrity brings to your target audience that works so well,” Dodson said. “If you really understand who your audience follows, you’ll be able to create a bond. As long as you do your homework and get the right celeb, it can be really engaging.”

Here is the replay:

  • Courtney Patterson, Senior Director of Marketing at Northwood Ravin
  • Patrick Dodson, VP, Head of Marketing at Apartments.com, CoStar Group
  • Tina Mortera, CMO/SVP of Marketing & Communications at Progress Residentia

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