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Power Uncoupling: The Marketing Power of Celebrities Together and Apart

3 minute read | July 2015

Actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner recently announced that they were splitting up after a decade of marriage, and the newspapers quickly lamented the fate of another cherished Hollywood power couple. This isn’t the first time an Affleck-and-“Jennifer” relationship has fizzled; his split with Jennifer Lopez in 2004 after two years of engagement stole headlines of its own.

Audiences love to follow celebrity couples—especially when both members of the pair are famous in their own right—through their ups and downs from beginning to end. And while for many it may seem that the media can spend too much time on celebrity news, the influence of these stars—especially when two align—can be powerful. Today’s younger generations are most likely to report being influenced by celebrity endorsements, and marketers increasingly can’t afford to ignore both the positive and negative effects these figures can have on brands.

To break down the power of such power couples together and apart, a recent analysis using Nielsen Talent Analytics took a look not just at the influence of Affleck as a standalone celeb, but found some insights into which Bennifer couple had bigger endorsement potential and marketing clout.

Of the three, Affleck earned the highest overall Nielsen N-Score of the three at 95 out of 100. Still, Garner and Lopez were not far behind, with respective N-scores of 90 and 89. This ranks Garner just barely higher than Lopez in terms of N-score’s measurement of a celebrity’s endorsement potential.

However, when the scores are broken down into the individual attributes that contribute to the overall N-Score, Lopez beats both Affleck and Garner in terms of awareness. According to the analysis, 86% of people know of the entertainment impresario, compared with 84% of people aware of Affleck and 72% aware of Garner. Together, it seems, many more people were aware of Bennifer 1.0.

The analysis also looked at other specific attributes that celebs and marketers alike might take stock in:

Know what you like

When it comes to likeability, Lopez scores lowest, with only 63% of people finding her likeable. Affleck and Jennifer respectively boast 77% and 76% likeability in comparison.

Laugh tracks

The most recent Bennifer seems to be the funniest version, with 28% of respondents finding Garner funny and 23% of people finding Affleck funny, compared to 14% for Lopez.

They’ve got the looks

Both ladies beat Affleck in the looks department, as only 54% of respondents find him good looking. While Garner and Lopez both add to the good looks for each couple, they’re almost tied in terms of overall looks, with 69% of respondents saying they thought Garner was good looking and 68% of people finding Lopez good-looking.

Style points

From the Red Carpet looks to glossy magazine shoots, having a sense of style is an important currency in Hollywood. Among the three, Lopez is viewed as most stylish, with 62% of people seeing her that way. However, Garner’s 53% is still quite high compared to Affleck’s 44%.

How to make trends and influence people

With celeb status comes the compelling force of influence, and the analysis found that Affleck and Lopez are viewed as much more influential: 45% of people think Affleck is influential and 40% think the same of Lopez. Just over a quarter (27%) of respondents thought Garner was influential. The J-Lo-Affleck couple also seem to both be bigger trendsetters—41% of people see Lopez and 23% see Affleck as a trendsetter, but only 15% see Garner that way—and more successful (75% of people for Affleck, 73% for Lopez, 69% for Garner) as well. 

Celebrities can have a big influence on the products and services consumer choose, especially when two of these stars’ powers combine. But many factors can contribute to a celeb’s popularity, and marketers looking to engage consumers with one or more of these stars needs to consider different factors to find a figure who will fit best with their brand. For example, despite Garner scoring lower than Affleck and Lopez for influence, this star proved to be one of the overall most-marketable celebrities in the first quarter of 2015 for her appearance in Capital One ads. 

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