How are People Influenced by Celebrities?

How are People Influenced by Celebrities?

One of the more maligned aspects of modern culture is the preponderance of ‘celebrities’. These are individuals who are widely known to the public, thanks to modern media, and whose lives are seen as fit for public consumption.

A few centuries ago, there were famous people. Napoleon, Mozart and Mark Twain were widely known. But few people on the street would have known about what they got up to behind closed doors on a minute-to-minute basis.

Role Models

Celebrities, for good and bad, can be seen as role models by the impressionable young people who frequent social media. In some cases, the consumption of celebrity-related content can lead to severe mental health problems. We might spend ten minutes a day scrolling through a feed filled with curated photographs of unreasonably attractive people, and conclude that we don’t quite match up ourselves.

This is partly because we perceive celebrities in quite a strange way. We categorise them in the same way that we do the people in our personal lives, because we know a little bit about them and their personalities. A celebrity might let slip, for example, what their favourite flavour of ice cream is, or provide an Instagram clip of what’s going on in their kitchen on a given morning. They might let you in on the details of their private jet experience with VistaJet. 

But a celebrity is quite different from your real-life friends. They will tend to offer qualities you aspire towards, like physical prowess, attractiveness, personability, or financial success. If you see that someone is doing well, then you might be interested in learning exactly how they’re doing it. You might follow their Twitter account, listening to their podcast, or reading their blog, simply out of a desire to learn from them.


Of course, this can be easily monetised. As consumers, we’re more likely to value things that are valued by the people whose opinions we respect. If we’re considering a new phone, for example, and we see that Rihanna or Brad Pitt favour a particular brand, then we might subconsciously be pushed in the direction of a purchase – even if we realise on a conscious level that these people are being paid by phone manufacturers.

Holidays and celebrity endorsement

Tourism is big business, internationally. But some parts of the world are not perceived as potential travel destinations. If the relevant authority wants to address this, then they might recruit a few high-profile stars.

For example, we might consider the recent World Cup in Qatar, where big names like David Beckham and Andrea Pirlo were recruited to help push the state as a potential destination for jet setters. The endorsement of a famous name can also help to move the needle on short-term vacation decisions.