According to a new survey from First Call, a division of sports and entertainment agency Octagon, McLean, Va., Tour de France champion and sports icon Lance Armstrong tops the list of most influential A-list celebrity to be aligned with a cause (LiveStrong). Following on the heels of Armstrong is A-list couple and tabloid darlings Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who were cited for their respective efforts to rebuild New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and association with UNICEF. The survey polled nearly 500 executives who are in charge of cause marketing programs for their PR firms.
Other celebs in the top 10 list include, in order: Bono (for his work with RED), Tiger Woods (The Tiger Woods Learning Center/Foundation), Bill Gates (for various causes), Pitt, Al Gore (global warming), George Clooney (Darfur), Michael J. Fox (Parkinson's disease) and Peyton Manning (PeyBack Foundation).
Other celebs named in the survey were Sarah McLachlan (ASPCA), Cynthia Nixon (Susan G. Komen for the Cure), Pamela Anderson (PETA), Jerry Lewis (Muscular Dystrophy), Oprah Winfrey (Big Give) and Jenny McCarthy (autism).
As the survey was conducted in July, the list was compiled prior to Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps raising global awareness about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and actress Christina Applegate revealing she had breast cancer and a double mastectomy and actively joining the campaign to find a cure.
According to the survey, 73.8% of those who responded said their personal opinion about a celebrity spokesperson, be it positive or negative, directly affects the perception of the cause marketing campaign they support; while 68.8% said that, as in the case with Armstrong, they are more likely to commit time, money or other resources to an effort if the celebrity spokesperson has a personal connect with the cause itself.