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SXSW Interactive 2015

Changing Face of Fame: Social Media Celebrities

A 6 second video from a Justin Bieber look-alike is probably not the first tactic in your marketing plan, but maybe it should be. Celebrities have long played an important role in creating brand awareness and buzz around social causes because of their mass market of consumer followers. With a growing millennials consumer base and an increasing desire to reach audiences beyond TV screens and magazine pages, brands and advertisers are shifting gears from mainstream celebrities to the “new” celebrity on social media.

YouTube star Jenna Marbles has more subscribers than Katy Perry or Taylor Swift. Instagram and Vine stars sold out stadiums across the country on the DigiTour. Simply put, social media is transforming celebrity.

Connecting the “new” celebrities to a social cause gives organizations or brands more access to new audiences on emerging platforms, resulting in social sharing and real action. So how do we implement this successfully?

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  1. How can brands and nonprofit organizations identify “new” celebrities online that align well with their brand messaging?
  2. “New” celebrity endorsements vs. traditional celebrity endorsements: what are the key benefits of using social media influencers over mainstream A-listers?
  3. ROI: Is there a direct relationship between “new” celebrity campaign involvement and clear consumer action?
  4. Should social media influencers identify themselves as brand advocates, and what happens if they speak off message?
  5. What are the best and worse example of this type of partnership in the last year?


  • Paula Veale, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, The Ad Council
  • Rob Fishman, Co-Founder, Niche
  • Charles Porch, Partnerships Lead, Instagram
  • Cubby Graham, School Partnership Manager, Charity: Water


Meg Rushton, Director of Public Relations and Social Media, The Ad Council

Meta Information:

  • Tags: social media
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Social and Relationships
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginner
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