Goodbye Britney Spears, Hello Industry Insider

    Canadians put brains before beauty when making purchasing decisions

    TORONTO, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - Tennis bombshell Maria Sharapova might be the
pretty face behind many of today's digital products, but it's the learned
expertise of the local tech geek that's going to influence consumers'
decisions as we move into the busy holiday buying season.
    Data extracted from the APEX Public Relation Influencer Report conducted
by Leger Marketing earlier this year shows that more than 70 per cent of
Canadian consumers are influenced by industry experts, making them more
influential than journalists and even celebrities. In fact, only four per cent
of consumers say they would be swayed by a celebrity's opinion.
    Canadians' skepticism of celebrity endorsements cuts across all age
groups. Contrary to popular belief, almost 75 per cent of those aged 18 to 24
would not be influenced to buy a product endorsed by a celebrity. This trend
increases with age as 93 per cent of those aged over 65 remain unfazed by
celebrity whims.
    "These findings are vital to determining ways to speak meaningfully to
Canadians," said APEX Public Relations president Pat McNamara. "If we want to
communicate with the public, we need to understand what influences its
decisions and this research provides that insight."
    Second to industry expert appeal, journalist endorsements are also
important in consumer purchasing decisions. The report reveals that
40 per cent of Canadians are likely or very likely to be influenced by a
journalist's endorsement, with Quebeckers more susceptible to media opinions
than consumers in other provinces.
    Despite the lack of credibility of celebrities, McNamara believes their
involvement in endorsing products will still be sought out.
    "Celebrity endorsements originally became influential because they
represented an ideal we wanted to achieve ourselves," said McNamara. "While we
may not find them credible, we do still live in a celebrity culture and, at a
minimum, the use of celebrities attracts attention. After that, it's up to the
experts to deliver the information the consumer needs to make a smart
purchasing decision."
    Customer testimonials are the third most influential factor revealed in
the study with 35 per cent of Canadian consumers citing this as a factor that
influences their purchasing decisions.

    The study was conducted between September 7 and 18, 2007, and surveyed
1,517 adults across Canada. It is considered accurate within
+/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    About APEX Public Relations

    Founded in 1998, APEX Public Relations Inc. specializes in marketing
public relations, corporate and employee communications, advanced technology
and issues management. The APEX team is comprised of communications
professionals experienced in strategy development, media relations, special
event planning, employee communications and promotions. Clients include: Bank
of Montreal, Fuji Photo Film, Grand & Toy, John Frieda, Levi Strauss & Co.
(Canada) Inc., Nike Canada, Samsung Electronics Canada and UPS.

For further information:

For further information: Sonia Prashar or Ellen Leesti, APEX Public
Relations, (416) 924-4442, ext. 223 or 252, or

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