Does testimonial advertising work on you?

Whether it’s a weight loss formula, legal aid or insurance cover, we've all been subject to the personal testimony of an average Joe or Jane, praising the quality of some or other product or service – but does it work?

Testimonial advertising refers to the use of a person’s story or stamp of approval when promoting a brand or product. This technique goes way back and is said to have to been around for as long as marketing has existed.

Born from word of mouth and initially used to build trust between a brand and its consumer, testimonial advertising now faces some challenges:

1. Testimonials ads have the potential to be effective when believed to be true, but unfortunately the famous method has seen the use of fabricated "success stories" by some businesses, creating consumer skepticism.

2. Testimonial ads have been challenged by the growth of online review sites that have given customers the agency to investigate a product's effectiveness on their own.

So does a personal endorsement of a product make the advertisement any more successful? We interviewed Branding and Advertising expert Andy Rice to find out.

Listen to the audio (scroll down) for more detail.

It makes a big difference in the purchasing decision.

Andy Rice, Advertising expert

It is the satisfied end user of the brand being prepared to go public about their satisfaction; no doubt, for a monetary exchange.

Andy Rice, Advertising expert

It is based on the premise that many consumers are skeptical about manufacturers' claims. It gets brands through a credibility gap.

Andy Rice, Advertising expert

It works particularly well for new entrants, because consumers are looking for reassurance that they aren't being used as guinea pigs.

Andy Rice, Advertising expert

Testimonials are at the heart of transformation products and one does at times doubt the veracity of weight loss pictures in the Photoshop era.

Andy Rice, Advertising expert

There’s a greater sense of credibility with unknown people. If brands use a celebrity, it's an endorsement.

Andy Rice, Advertising expert
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