Celebrity Charity Endorsements Don’t Work

Know that Bono endorses a bunch of charities, but can’t remember exactly which ones? Well, you’re not alone; new research suggests that celebrity endorsements don’t really help charities, but they sure as hell help said celebrities.

Writing in the International Journal of Cultural Studies, researchers say that celebrities aren’t effective at raising awareness. Researchers carried out two surveys of over a thousand people about celebrities and social activism. They also conducted some focus groups. They found that 66% of those surveyed could not link any celebrity with a list of seven well-known (in the UK, where the study was conducted) charities and NGOs. Those were Action Aid; Amnesty International; CAFOD; Christian Aid; Oxfam; Save the Children and the Red Cross.

What they did find, however, is that people tend to support a particular charity or cause because of a personal connection in their own life or with their family; for example, people how had family members who survived political persecution were likely to support Amnesty International.

They also found that celebrities were valued for promoting charitable causes; however, identifying a specific charitable cause proved to be a problem.

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