Celebrity Endorsement Ads: Celebs Do Taxes Too


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Celebs And Tax Season Make A Surprisingly Good Pair

Your first thought when sitting down to do your taxes probably doesn't include celebrities or what they're up to. But different tax filing companies certainly want you to. These companies are based on how to make tax season as quick and painless as possible for the consumer, and as profitable for themselves as well. 

As the two big tax filing services, H&R Block and TurboTax, battle for your business, they both have created campaigns centered around celebrities to catch your eye.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded looks at how two tax filing services are using celebrity endorsement campaigns to differentiate and catch consumers' attention this year.

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Jon Hamm: H&R Block

Jon Hamm rose to fame as the face of the classic successful American man as Donald Draper in Man Men. While originally starting his career as a comedian, the Emmy-winning actor has come to embody the smooth, slick, sexy and well-dressed Madison Avenue mogul. 


Hamm has become the face of H&R Block's tax season ad campaign. The series of ads is funny yet suave and they are perfect for the season. When asked by AdWeek why they chose Jon Hamm as their spokesperson, their CMO Kathy Collins replied:

"Because he has range. He had us cracking up on set, and in the next set of ads, you'll see a more dramatic and serious tone. He can pull it all off. The first ads are purposely funny because we wanted people to get engaged quickly and use one of our products. In Chapter 3, the humor fades and we talk about the importance of our expertise and how it can help you win."

In one ad, dressed to the nines at a craft services table on set, Hamm explains to the girl working the table about her tax return.

He explains taxes using a donut analogy that there are many types of donuts and there are many ways to fill out a tax return. which he explains as he holds up various different donuts. He concludes by saying that there is one way to fill it out that will get you the most money, which is represented by the sprinkle donut.

"Isn't that the one you want?" he asks. "That's the one I want," she agrees as he devours the donut.

His smooth personality mixed with a simple explanation of what H&R Block does is what makes this commercial work so well.

In another spot, Hamm is on set playing a pilot commander, but keeps being distracted from his acting because one of the crew members thinks it may be too difficult to switch his taxes over. When Hamm shows him the drag and drop feature, the crew member is reassured and Hamm returns to the scene.

In yet another spot, Hamm, riding upon a huge horse and dressed as a 1920s police officer for another shoot, looks on as two more crew members are filing their taxes: one on TurboTax, and one on H&R Block. 

"One of those tax prep sites lets you itemize your deductions for free. Which one is it?" asks Hamm as he circles them dramatically with his horse. "I'll give you a hint." he says. "It's the money colored one." 

Kathy Bates & David Ortiz: TurboTax

TurboTax has taken a different approach by choosing two different celebrities for their tax season campaign. They choose two vastly different actors, Kathy Bates and David Ortiz, in hilarious ads for the companies.  And are obviously targeting millennials, sport fans and horror buffs.

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates has been in some macabre films in her time, and most recently has portrayed a series of haunted and evil characters on the series Amercian Horror Story. This Turbo Tax ad hilariously encapsulates that feel with their latest commercial heading into tax season.

Bates walks around her home and encounters several creepy kids on the stairs, in the bathroom and even in the living room. With hollow eyes, gaunt faces and sallow features, they are obviously ghosts or haunts of some sort. Bates sits down and opens her Turbo Tax app to talk to a Tax Expert. 

She tells the woman about the children and asks if they can be claimed as dependents. "Are they your kids?" asks the tax expert. As they are not, and they were in the house when she got there, she is told she cannot claim them as dependents. However, she may be able to deduct moving expenses.

"Good," replies Bates, "because I'm going to have to move again."

Check it out:


David Ortiz

David Ortiz, on the other hand, comes from a slightly less creepy angle. At a tennis club, tennis balls are flying into car windshields, wedding cakes and waiters with full trays. We realize they're being hit by baseball legend and hall of famer David Ortiz. 

As sirens go off in the background, Ortiz pulls up his Tax Expert on his Turbo Tax app. He tells the expert that he now has a new job, teaching tennis. She congratulates him, but he admits he's going through a lot of balls. He wants to know if the expense is deductible; she tells him, in his case, it is.

Celebrity Endorsements Ramp Up Any Ad Campaign

Both of the brands above have upped their game this tax season by getting big name celebrities to represent their brands. But your brand can use celebrities to catch consumer attention more easily than you think. 

Also, check out Burger King's simple but successful celebrity ad campaign.

Are you interested in learning how to successfully partner celebrities to your brand - without spending a million?  Watch this short webinar to learn Hollywood insider tricks to create and kick start an entertainment marketing campaign that is the perfect extension for your social media program. 

Celebrity Social Media Webinar by Hollywood Branded