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Companies Continue To Bank On Celebrity Power

|Includes:Soupman Inc. (SOUP)

The public has long been convinced that celebrity power does pack a punch when it comes to advertisement and marketing.

This is why it is not surprising to learn that one in four advertisements in the United States feature celebrities, according to Euromonitor's latest report on "Celebrity Power and Its Influence on Consumer Behaviour."

The report tackles trends involving advertisements, including new forms of celebrity endorsements.

Nowadays, celebrities no longer serve just as models or backdrops of the products they endorse. They are spokespersons, brand ambassadors and even "celebrepreneurs."

Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, for example, is an all-in-one celebrity endorser for The Original Soupman, a popular soup restaurant in New York that has started offering packaged soup.

Shaq is not only a "brand champion" but also a company partner and advisor. He is also one of the faces of the company's charitable causes. He was instrumental in Soupman's donation to needy families at Tavares Elementary in 2012.

The business-savvy basketball star invested in The Original Soupman (OTCQX: SOUP) a couple of years ago, wanting to be a pioneer in the food industry, especially since the brand is considered one of the first national brands to have a food truck.

Shaq insisted that besides the potential of profit, he personally believes in the company because of his affinity towards its innovative soup variants. He was once quoted saying that he loved the famous lobster bisque soup.

To further promote Soupman, the athlete has been using his star power in engaging consumers. At one point, Soupman opened a contest where the winner will get a chance to meet and have soup with Shaq.

Euromonitor said celebrities have started to become brands in their own right.

Athletes like Shaq are successful endorsers of sportswear but they have also started modeling for a range of other products, from wearable objects to food.

It helps that global sporting events like the American Super Bowl are becoming more popular than ever. Such trends help boost the respect for athlete endorsers.

During this year's Super Bowl, Soupman was fortunate enough to be chosen as the official soup brand of the game. Even without buying expensive air time, the company was promoted as it was allowed to serve its famous lobster bisque to 2,000 audience members.

Euromonitor's report said celebrities will continue to take on creative roles as part of big companies in the next few years. They will most likely launch their own brands and become involved in philanthropic projects.

However, their endorsement may also bring negative publicity for the company in case of unflattering news about the celebrity of in case the choice of brand ambassador is not consistent with the company's image.

So far, however, Soupman has reaped the rewards of celebrity endorsement, not just through Shaq but also through the popular sitcom Seinfeld after the show modeled one of its famous minor characters, the "Soup Nazi," from the soup kitchen's founder Al Yeganeh. Since then, the company has been associated with the phrase, "No soup for you." The company referenced the phrase and turned it around to a "Soup for you" campaign.

Will we soon see celebrities like Shaq hosting their own cooking programs? It is a possibility, especially with the popularity of celebrity chefs.

Stocks: SOUP