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When it comes to celebrity endorsements of products and services, Americans think business leaders are the most persuasive spokespeople, while former politicians hold the least sway, according to (pdf) a poll from Adweek Media and Harris Interactive.

The poll found that almost two in five US adults (37%) say business leaders are the most persuasive when they endorse a product in an ad.

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At the other end of the spectrum, nearly the same number (39%) say they find former political figures to be least persuasive when they endorse a product.

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Athletes Also Persuasive

Looking at other types of celebrities and their persuasiveness, one in five Americans (21%) say they find athletes to be most persuasive when they endorse a product, followed by 18% who say TV or movie stars are most persuasive, 14% who say singers or musicians and 10% who say former political figures are most persuasive.

When it comes to how other celebrities rank in the category of least persuasive, almost one-quarter (23%) say TV or movie stars are least persuasive, while 14% say business leaders are least persuasive. Just 13% say when athletes endorse a product they find them least persuasive and 11% say singers or musicians are least persuasive.

Results Vary by Age

The poll also found that the age of respondents played a factor in how persuasive they found? different types of product hawkers. Almost half of those ages 55+ (46%) say business leaders are most persuasive, compared with only 28% of those who are 18-34 years old.

One-fourth of those ages 18-34 (23%) say TV or movie stars are most persuasive, while only 15% of those ages 55+ feel the same way.

There is also a difference among those who are seen as least persuasive. Almost half of those ages 35-44 (45%) think former political figures are least persuasive when they endorse a product, compared with one-third of those ages 18-34 (33%).

Not Much Influence

Despite the findings from this poll about the relative persuasiveness of various types of celebrities, however, an earlier study of LinkedIn users by AdWeekMedia found that most US consumers say they are not at all swayed by celebrity endorsements of products.

When respondents in that survey were asked whether the presence of a celebrity in an ad makes them more likely, less likely or neither more or less likely to buy the product, nearly 8 in 10 (78%) said it doesn’t sway them one way or the other. Only 8% said the presence of a celebrity spokesperson made them more likely to buy a product, compared with a? significant 12% who actually said it made them less likely to buy a product.

?About the poll: This Adweek Media/Harris Poll was conducted online within the US on September 25 and 29, 2009
among 2,186 adults (ages 18+). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household
income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.
Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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