Shoe brands had a stellar track record with celebrity endorsements in 2018 — and Under Armour‘s partnership with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ranked right at the head of the class.
According to celebrity research company Spotted, the deal topped its annual list of the best-matched brand endorsements in the fashion retail sector, based in part on the popularity of the action movie star and former pro wrestler, as well as his personality alignment with the performance-driven sportswear brand.
Nowhere has the success of the endorsement been clearer so far than with sales of The Rock’s signature sneaker, which sold out in a mere 30 minutes when it was first released in May. The Under Armour Project Rock 1. A is a knit bootie in a patriotic mix of red, white and blue, and a restock in June was likewise snapped up by fans.
According to eMarketer, fashion and retail spent more than any other sector on advertising in 2017, accounting for 22 percent of the $202 billion total. A significant share of that money goes towards celebrity endorsements, which Spotted ranks according to factors like a celebrity’s perceived trustworthiness and authenticity, the overlap between their audience and that of a given brand, and their risk potential (think PR disasters like sexual misconduct or doping scandals).
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Coming up just behind Johnson and Under Armour were model Winnie Harlow and Tommy Hilfiger (#2), Ashley Graham and Rag & Bone (#4), and Drew Barrymore and Crocs (#5). Barrymore’s campaign for the comfort-shoe brand launched this spring, with the actress designing a mommy-and-me collection of clogs and sandals in time for Mother’s Day.
Luxury brands tended not to fare as well as their mass-market counterparts, with Versace’s Christy Turlington deal and Burberry’s campaign featuring Iris Law earning low marks.
“Luxury brands tend to be more dismissive of data than mass-market brands,” explained Spotted CEO Janet Comenos. “The creative directors of these high-end labels tend to use celebrities as creative muses, even if every indication shows that the celebrity is a poor choice.”