In the first study of its kind, agencies Celsius Research and Pureprofile have uncovered what it takes for brands and celebrities to be considered cool.
The key ingredient? Talent, or excellence.
Intrigued by the cultural phenomenon of the seemingly intangible concept of “cool”, Celsius and Pureprofile undertook a consumer study to measure the specific personality traits that are associated with “cool” celebrities.
The qualities that make a celebrity cool are the same qualities that make a brand cool.
In this survey of more than 1,000 adult Australians, three key findings were uncovered on the nature of cool:
- Cool requires substance. Without excellence, a celebrity or brand is simply regarded as a poser.
- Female cool has more substance than male cool. Cool men need to be handsome and prominent, while cool women are defined by their charm and intelligence.
- Cool evolves with the times. Cool is no longer portrayed by a tough, bad boy image, as was the case in generations past.
More research explored the relationship between a bourbon brand’s performance and its image. It found that the drivers of “people cool” are the same as “brand cool”:
- The drivers of cool across actors and bourbon brands are remarkably similar. Excellence and other attributes of cool were found to be closely intertwined in the bourbon market.
- Cool drives favouritism. For bourbon drinkers, deeming a brand as cool is linked heavily to consumer choice. This points to the possibility that such results may be the case for other brand categories.
Martin James, who heads up Celsius Research, said: “This has profound effects for how brands might be able to create a ‘cool’ brand personality, but also position themselves in the marketplace.
“Many of the brands we buy are ones we deem to be cool, so for business it is a crucial contributor to the health of their brand, especially those lifestyle products where the consumer is particularly discerning.
“Our bourbon study shows that a brand can identify how cool they are, simply by modelling their persona in our ‘Essence of Cool’ matrix. We’re in discussions about exploring this with other product categories and brands; it’s exciting to see what else we might find.”
The survey found that Australians think “triple threat” Hugh Jackson and legendary actor Audrey Hepburn are the coolest celebrities in the world.
Jackman – the Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe award-winning star of the X-Men and Wolverine movies, The Boy From Oz and Les Misérables – beat international stars such as Johnny Depp, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman and Sean Connery to take the title of the coolest male.
More than two decades after she passed away, Hepburn – the star of classic movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday and Sabrina – emerged as the coolest female celebrity, ahead of Pink, Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie.