Millward Brown plays cupid with Australia’s first celebrity-brand matchmaking study

Hugh Jackman and Kylie Minogue top the list of perfect matches for Aussie brands

Hugh Jackman and Kylie Minogue have been named as Australia’s most powerful celebrities in Australia’s first-ever celebrity + brand (Cebra) research by Millward Brown, a global leader in brand, media and communications research. 

According to the Cebra study, Australia’s most popular celebrities can be identified by three main personality types: outgoing and spontaneous ‘lovers of life’ (Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Hawkins); clever and sensible ‘safe bets’ (Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman); and thorough and laid-back ‘solid males’ (Pat Rafter, Roger Federer). 

As a ‘lover of life’, Hugh Jackman’s personality aligns best with high energy brands such as Virgin Blue, Milo or Vodafone, while ‘safe bet’ Kylie Minogue would be a perfect match for calm and collected brands such as Nestle, Cadbury or Sunsilk.  With very similar personality attributes to Jackman, Daniel MacPherson could be a suitable and budget-beating alternative for brands seeking a life-loving celebrity endorser.

“When it works, the chemistry between brands and their celebrity ambassadors is powerful and adds the bottom line.  Yet when brands and celebrities are mismatched, campaigns can fail spectacularly,” said Daren Poole, Millward Brown’s Chief Client Officer for Australia. “Cebra can help take the guess work out of celebrity affiliations.”

Three of the Cebra Top 10 celebrities are ambassadors for Nintendo in Australia – Glenn McGrath, Rebecca Gibney and Olivia Newton John – reinforcing the success of Nintendo’s celebrity choices.

Cebra ranks celebrity marketing power and positive and negative celebrity role models, and matchmakes connections between celebrities and brands.  Millward Brown surveyed 2000 Australians for the Cebra study, with participants providing views on 100 of Australia’s top celebrities from film, television, music, radio and sport. 

The Top 10 Most Powerful Celebrities by Cebra score are: 

  1. Hugh Jackman
  2. Kylie Minogue
  3. Nicole Kidman
  4. Jennifer Hawkins
  5. Glenn McGrath
  6. Hamish Blake and Andy Lee (duo)
  7. Rebecca Gibney
  8. Olivia Newton John
  9. Pat Rafter
  10. Guy Sebastian   

Hugh Jackman was also named Australia’s leading positive celebrity role model. 

Sportsmen feature prominently in the ranking of positive role models, taking five of the Top 10 spots. Topping the list on the other side of the spectrum is actor Matthew Newton who ranks as Australia’s top negative role model following a tumultuous few years played out in the public eye. Matthew’s personal issues see him lead a list of controversial celebrities including Ben Cousins and Shane Warne.  

Top 10 Positive Celebrity Role Models

  1. Hugh Jackman
  2. Pat Rafter
  3. Rebecca Gibney
  4. Geoff Huegill
  5. Andrew Gaze
  6. Olivia Newton John
  7. Glenn McGrath
  8. Jennifer Hawkins
  9. Kylie Minogue
  10. Roger Federer.

Top 10 Negative Celebrity Role Models

  1. Matthew Newton
  2. Sam Newman
  3. Kyle Sandilands
  4. Ben Cousins
  5. Lara Bingle
  6. Tiger Woods
  7. Shane Warne
  8. Sophie Monk
  9. Lleyton Hewitt
  10. Jackie O


“Sometimes brands want to be controversial and choose an anti-hero to be the face of their brand.  Based on our research, Ben Cousins could be a good match for brands like Red Bull or Monster, rather than a safer choice with other ‘lovers of life’, such as comedy duo Hamish and Andy,” said Mr Poole.  

The Millward Brown Cebra study also reveals consumers’ Top 10 favourite brands, a mix of local and international brands, from grocery to retail: 

  1. Cadbury
  2. Target
  3. Vegemite
  4. Subway
  5. Coca-Cola
  6. Coles
  7. Milo
  8. K-Mart
  9. Woolworths
  10. Apple

Three main brand personalities were identified in the Cebra research: ‘Calm and collected’ brands such as Target, Subway and Vegemite; ‘high energy’, active brands such as Coca-Cola, Milo and Apple; and ‘everyday’ brands such as Coles, Woolworths, and the big four banks.

Australia’s love affair with all things Masterchef may have proved a winner for Coles, while Matt Preston surpassed the other judges and first series winner Julie Goodwin in the Top 100.

The top ranking television personalities were funnymen Rove McManus (#13) and Bert Newton (#19). Seven’s Grant Denyer (#31) is the highest ranking morning television celebrity, ahead of Nine’s Kerry Ann Kennerly (#39). 

Millward Brown’s Cebra (celebrity + brand) research goes beyond existing ratings of how well a celebrity is known by consumers (Familiarity) to include measures of Affinity (how well they are liked), Marketability and Media Attention (how much they are talked about online and offline).  An overall Cebra score is produced, relating relates to the celebrity’s attractiveness to marketers. Combined with additional analysis of brand and celebrity personality, marketers can identify brand and celebrity partnerships with the greatest marketplace potential.



About Millward Brown

Millward Brown  is one of the world's leading research agencies and is expert in effective advertising, marketing communications, media and brand equity research.  Through the use of an integrated suite of validated research solutions — both qualitative and quantitative — Millward Brown helps clients build strong brands and services.  Millward Brown has more than 77 offices in 53 countries.  Additional practices include Millward Brown's Global Media Practice (media effectiveness unit), the Neuroscience Practice (using neuroscience to enhance traditional research techniques), Millward Brown Optimor (focused on helping clients maximise the returns on their brand and marketing investments) and Dynamic Logic (the world leader in digital marketing effectiveness). Millward Brown is part of Kantar, WPP's insight division.