And this Week’s Fail Award goes to…

Oh Oprah…

Everyone loves a good old PR fail. It’s like watching a football player score a spectacular own goal; truly priceless entertainment. Much like witnessing an own goal, you can’t help but feel a little sorry for them, but this feeling quickly fades as it’s replaced by pure and enthusiastic laughter!

If you haven’t heard, Oprah Winfrey plugged, or rather tried to plug, Microsoft’s new toy Surface through a clever tweet. The tweet read: “Gotta say love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings”. Pretty strong move for endorsing the tablet, but wait? What’s that? Yeah that little bit of text next to the tweet: “via Twitter for iPad”. Oh. Woops.

So Oprah tried to endorse Microsoft’s new product using an iPad, claiming that Surface was one of her new favourite things. That’s a fail right there, a big fat whopper of a fail. First of all, if you’re expecting a Christmas present off Oprah, the surprise is ruined. Thanks Oprah. Next time you tweet try putting *spoiler alert* before it!

Credit for trying though; had the iPad text not been there it would have worked, but then again if a footballer didn’t kick the ball into his own net his team wouldn’t have conceded an own goal (sorry, enough of football analogies for now). But we can’t blame Microsoft here. And I’m not going to ridicule Oprah either. In my humble opinion I couldn’t care less if she lied about loving Surface, it didn’t hurt anyone, except maybe her pride and maybe a little bit of egg on the face of Microsoft. But then again I’m pretty sure people have made up their minds about Surface enough that Oprah making it clear she uses an iPad isn’t going to sway their vote. Frankly if it does you’re as fickle as, erm, a very fickle person (I got nothing).

As much as I want to believe what I just wrote, I know that it’s probably not the case. What I want to ask here is why does celebrity endorsement have such a big impact on our buying behaviour? I mean if 100 random strangers bought a product and raved about it, and then one of your idols from the television buys a different brand’s product and raves about it, you’re probably going to be more inclined to follow their judgement over the 100 randomers.

But why? Do we trust the judgement of the famous people we like over all others? Do we assume that famous people must be smart and know what they’re talking about? Do we crave to be so much like our idols that we religiously follow their buying behaviour? I guess you have to ask the fashion world that one. Maybe we become so obsessed with celebrities that we’re desperate to have something in common with them, so if by amazing chance we get to meet them we can say “hey, hey! I have one of those too! We have something in common! Be my friend!”. Are we really going to gain respect from owning the same branded thingymabob as a celebrity? The crazy thing is that I am as fickle as a very fickle person when it comes to this, and if a few celebrities I admire start showing off the Surface tablet on the telly, I might start believing the product is the bee’s knees and want one myself!

What do you guys think? How much do celebrities influence our buying behaviour? I’d love to see your opinion in the comments below!

By Joe Topliffe

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