Being a celebrity is its own global currency. Being famous means people treat you differently and give you things when they like you. From fans giving you gifts to companies giving you opportunities. While social media following, box office numbers, record sales, and a simple google search can help you determine who some of the highest-rated people in the world are, apparently, there is an official way to track a brand’s public appeal. So what are Q scores, and how do they affect celebrities?
According to Q Score’s official Wikipedia page, Q scores (or sometimes Q Ratings) are a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a brand, celebrity, company, or entertainment entity used in the United States. The higher your Q Score, the more highly regarded you are to the public and amongst those who are aware of you. Q Scores play a particular role in marketing and advertising as it helps companies determine who to partner with and how to work with celebrities.
The Q Score was developed in 1963 by Jack Landis and his company Marketing Evaluations, Inc, which he founded in 1964. “Q Scores are calculated for the population as a whole as well as by demographic groups such as age, education level, gender, income, or marital status.” TheConversation.com says that tests are run several times a year to determine how many people know a given topic in the media. “A representative sample of female and male adults are presented with a list of 1,800 celebrities and asked to rate them on a six-point scale from “Never heard of” to “One of my favorites.” The data is added to the full Q Score database, which amounts to about 25,000 celebrities at any given time.”
The real focus of this scoring system is not only to determine if people know a given celebrity but, more importantly, do they like them. This likeability factor is huge because this is how companies determine if they want to partner with this person. This also works in the opposite direction, as these tests can also determine people with low Q Scores. Former President Donald Trump historically had the lowest Q Score before running for office.
Many criticize this rating system because they tend to overlook celebrities and things that would be more popular amongst minority communities. A Spanish Q score was created, but it is flawed. “[Spanish Q Score] rates 400 Hispanic personalities; however, the sampling process inevitably leads to a hegemonic outcome reflecting the dominant social influence.” Your Q Score does not end in life either. Q Scores for deceased celebrities help determine their popularity well after their gone and have contributed to the continued use of the images of dead stars such as Marylin Monroe and Elvis.
According to a recent report by Variety, the highest-ranked male actors by Q Score are Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Keanu Reeves, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds. Searches for some of the lowest ranked Q Scores have turned up everyone from Bill Cosby to Charlie Sheen. Ariana Grande was once ranked in the low Q Scores following her donut debacle several years ago. Kim Kardashian had a fairly low Q Score for a long time, something her branding team used to market her as “someone you love to hate.”
Another big name at the center of the Q Score conversation is Will Smith. Smith has been America’s sweetheart since first bursting on the scene as a fun-loving rapper. Through his domination of television and then film, he became a truly beloved entity with the world’s full support and a very high Q Score. Unfortunately, recent Q Score charts reveal just how much his Oscar moment affected his rating.
Variety published a report showing just how bad Will’s brand took the hit. While he started off the year with a positive Q Score of 39 in January, he is currently sitting at 24. His negative Q Score has risen dramatically, from 8 up to 26. People are really not happy with Will, and it’ll be interesting to see how he can turn this around. His wife Jada is right along with him, as her Q Score dropped dramatically, and her negative is off the charts at 44. The third party involved in this all, Chris Rock, seems to be unaffected, and his score is hanging around at a 20 with no movement since the slap.