Degrees of ad seperation
When someone comes up to me and says "I'm cool" the first thing I think is "no, you're not". But if someone else tells me that the person is cool, I'm more inclined to believe it. The degree of seperation makes it more plausible for some reason. I was thinking about those CoqRoq ads that were on, and one of the things that made them cool (until people realized just how BS they were) was that it was a third party endorser of Burger King.Rather than advertising Chicken Fries, CP+B only had to advertise CoqRoq, and CoqRoq would endorse the product.
This used to be done all the time in the 80's with the Leo Burnett's critters. They only had to draw attention to the critters, and the critters would sell the product.
Of course nowadays few agencies do icons this way. Many will advertise the product and then have a character just standing there for some random reason, probably because the client put them there "our focus groups show that people like puppies". Bad client...bad.