Celebrity endorsements go back to the days of the early British Monarchy, and they still work. People still pay extra for perfume with Paris Hilton’s name on it (she’s making more than $10 million a year endorsing stuff). Why? Obviously, the perfume isn’t any better. Worse, no one else even knows that you’re wearing this particular scent (it’s not as obvious as, say, Ralph Lauren’s polo pony.)
We’d like to believe that we’re not swayed by such obvious nonsense. “No, I buy Polo jeans because they fit me better.” While it’s true that not everyone is easily seduced by Paris, most consumers (including the indigent and extremely poor) can’t help themselves when confronted with just the right endorsement–they pay extra for the story.
One of my favorite silly endorsements is Pierce Brosnan endorsing Omega. They’re not paying Pierce because they care about Pierce’s opinion (or that you care about his opinion). They’re paying him because he embodies a fictional character, invented fifty years ago by a now-dead author.
So, otherwise rational and intelligent men spend hundreds or thousands of dollars extra to buy a watch endorsed by a fictional character controlled by anonymous film producers and embodied by an actor. Because it makes them feel good. They buy the story.