Taylor Swift and the Two-step Flow Theory

Diet Coke

Marketing agencies continue to employ artists, celebrities and influencers to promote products and services because these opinion leaders can shape our attitudes towards the brand. For example, Taylor Swift is an incredibly popular singer-songwriter who also receives widespread media coverage. With her lyrics and blend of musical styles, she has won the top industry accolades from around the world, such as 10 Grammy Awards and an Emmy in America.

However, she has also endorsed perfume, partnered with a credit card company, promoted ice-cream, put her name on the side of an airplane and her face on delivery trucks, sold greetings cards, and advertised lots of other products.

The Coca-Cola Company and its brands dominate the market for soft drinks. Their products are sold in over 200 countries worldwide, but they want to maintain their revenue and market share by continuously appealing to the next generation of consumers. By signing up Taylor Swift to be their brand ambassador, reportedly worth $26m, the company hoped to connect with her young fan base.


Analyse the following print advertisement in terms of the two-step flow model of communication.

Taylor Swift in Diet Coke Advertisement
Taylor Swift in Diet Coke Advertisement

Points to Consider

The two-step flow theory suggests the mainstream media’s impact on the audience is limited because it targets the general public rather than the individual consumer. However, the model also argues that opinion leaders have the ability to shape the discussion and influence the behaviour of opinion followers.

In this example, Coca-Cola is the institution using print media to promote its product. By including celebrity endorsement, the marketing team are mediating their brand and message through an opinion leader and relying on her stardom to help persuade the audience to buy cans of Diet Coke.

Semiotic Analysis

It is important to explore the representation of the celebrity because it will help explain how she connects with the opinion followers.

You should also comment on her white blouse, especially the way the sleeves are rolled up and it is knotted at the waist. Does her hair look stage ready? What do you make of her body language and the way she is sitting on the floor. Finally, suggest why Taylor swift is not wearing any shoes. Or socks. This is actually a very important signifier.

Are her lyrics relatable to her target demographic? Remember, an opinion leader should still feel part of their social network.

Why have the producers included the red guitar? What connotations does it convey?

Comment on the heart-shaped straw.

Look at the colour codes used in the image – even her red lips and black eyelashes. Also, how does the grey-textured background help reinforce the product?

In conclusion, is Taylor Swift an opinion leader who can position her followers to take positive attitude towards Diet Coke?

Further Reading

Thanks for reading!