Get to The Point with our monthly take on the hottest topics. This time, we explore the changing nature of celebs and what it means for culture, consumers and brands.

Ever since West End theatre star Lillie Langtry lent her face to an ad for Pears Soap in 1882, brands have clamoured to partner with celebrities to help sell their products. But today, celebrity isn’t what it used to be. In fact, they’re not who they used to be.


Celebrity isn’t as singular as it used to be. With social media and technology creating increasingly fractured subcultures, we're able to follow who we want, how we want, and when we want - on Twitch, TikTok, on podcasts and more. A new celebrity has arisen.

A celebrity not defined by the size of their following – but by the passion of their followers. A passion that stems from the nature of the following itself – one we're able to get involved with and actively impact and influence. It’s perhaps no surprise that a recent poll stated that Generation Z trust YouTubers more than anyone else.

We think there’s a lesson here for brands, for whom the landscape is as fractured as it is for celebs. Not just by tapping into these passionate followings for brand partnerships (as Beats did when they partnered with gamer, Nickmercs), but by understanding that to create cut-through you need to create meaning – a role in your consumers’ lives based on your product – and foster it through your brand and marketing to stay meaningful.


People wanting to be famous is nothing new. The difference is that now, becoming a celeb feels within real reach. Influencer Marketing Hub say that roughly one billion people worldwide identify as a content creator.

The effect? Things have shifted, both in how we see celebs and how we see ourselves. The pedestal’s been kicked out from under the feet of celebrities – we no longer want to be like them, we want them to be like us... and we howl with derision when they’re not. Gal Gadot and crew’s ill-fated Covid rendition of Imagine by John Lennon just goes to show what can happen when relatability or authenticity get lost in translation.

For brands, relatability and relevance are key lessons. Some are already putting it to the test. When Adidas wanted to launch a Dubai special edition, they didn’t approach a local sports star or musician. Instead, they opted for Ravi, a 44-year-old eatery famed for its mouth-watering Pakistani cuisine.

Gucci, too, are seeing the benefit of playing the everyman. As well as working with jovial retiree gardeners, they’ve recently partnered with Francis Bourgeois, the TikTok sensation who went viral for his giddy, unfiltered and gleefully wholesome posts about his favourite pastime: trainspotting.

So, if you’re a big brand, acting small can go a long way to building the relevance and relatability you need to cut through the noise.


From Lillie Langtry and Pears, to John Wayne’s ads for Royal Crown Cola, to George Clooney’s work for Nespresso, celebrity endorsements have dominated celeb-brand relationships.

More and more however, brands began to look for deeper involvement from their celebs – to varying degrees of success. When Alicia Keys was made creative director of BlackBerry in 2014, it felt superficial and superfluous. It lasted a year. Many other celebrity creative directors feel the same.

But when celebrities began to create brands themselves, acting as investors and founders, a new type of

celeb-brand relationship was formed. One that proved itself not only more authentic but more resilient too. Fenty (and Savage x Fenty) works so well because it translates the DNA of Rihanna’s personal brand seamlessly, not just in how the product looks and talks, but in what the product is. YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul’s hydration brand PRIME is as loud, brash and confident as they are. Ryan Reynolds’ brands are similarly witty and charming. Brands, the non-celeb kind, take note. By consistently taking the most unique and disruptive elements of your own brands and translating them across products, media and audiences, you create the consistency your new fractured environments not only need, but demand.

So, what's The Point?

  • Audience connection trumps audience size.

  • Collaboration is the new endorsement.

  • Shared values creates deep and meaningful collaborations.