World’s Most Admired pitchmen?

February 27, 2014, 4:18 PM UTC

Fortune's World's Most Admired list is the definitive measure of corporate reputation. So it should come as no surprise that when Most Admired companies use celebrities to represent their brands, they tend to select some pretty high-wattage individuals. Fortune asked the Q Scores Company, which produces data on consumers' emotional connections with celebrities and other figures, to provide Q Scores for "brand ambassadors" associated with several of the companies on the WMAC Top 50 All-Stars list. A high Q Score, says Henry Schafer, executive vice president of the company, implies trust, integrity, believability and strong emotional bonds. (The typical celebrity, Schafer says, enjoys awareness from about 30% of the population, and of those who are aware of the celebrity, about 16% say that individual is a favorite personality.)

George Clooney

Product: Nespresso
Company: Nestlé
Most Admired Rank: 31
The actor and director, who has starred in the coffee company's commercials since 2006, enjoys off-the-charts popularity. Schafer says 85% of consumers are aware of Clooney (a whopping 55 points above the typical celebrity) and that he has a Q Score of 22, which means 22% of the population of people familiar with Clooney say he is one of their favorite personalities. On its website, Nespresso says Clooney "has charmed fans and coffee aficionados as the perfect personification of the understated elegance and authenticity that make Nespresso what it is today."

Taylor Swift

Product: Diet Coke
Company: Coca-Cola Co.
Most Admired Rank: 6
Late last year the beverage maker introduced a "collector's edition" Diet Coke can which features the Grammy winner's signature and one of her quotes: "If you're lucky enough to be different, don't ever change." Swift has high awareness among consumers --82%--and a Q Score of 20.

Beyoncé Knowles

Product: Pepsi
Company: PepsiCo
Most Admired Rank: 42
As part of a multi-year agreement reportedly valued at $50 million, the pop star's face has appeared on limited-edition soda cans, and she starred in a 60-second commercial in which she dances with images of herself from previous videos. Some 84% of consumers are aware of Beyoncé, and her Q Score is 20.

Queen Latifah

Product: Cover Girl and Pantene
Company: Procter & Gamble
Most Admired Rank: 15
P&G is doubling down on the actress and singer. Last year the consumer goods company signed longtime Cover Girl spokeswoman to represent Pantene's Truly Relaxed and Truly Natural hair care collections. "We believe her strong, playful personality and passion for life resonates with women," the company said in announcing the deal. Queen Latifah's has 76% awareness and a Q Score of 16.

David Beckham

Company: Samsung Electronics
Most Admired Rank: 21
The Korean consumer electronics giant signed the British soccer star as its global brand ambassador for the London 2012 Olympics. Despite relatively low recognition in the U.S. -- two-thirds of consumers are aware of him and his Q Score is a below-average 11 -- Beckham has credibility among soccer fans and global consumers. "David Beckham was Samsung's number one choice to be global ambassador for the sponsorship of London 2012," the company said in announcing the alliance.

Warren Buffett

Company: Berkshire Hathaway
Most Admired Rank: 4
Though the Berkshire Hathaway CEO isn't technically a celebrity spokesman, Buffett absolutely is the face of the Omaha-based holding company. His recognition rate of 43% is better than the typical celebrity's; alas, his Q Score of 15 is just average.

The Gecko

Product: GEICO
Company: Berkshire Hathaway
Most Admired Rank: 4
Sorry, Warren. Apologies to George Clooney. Your Q Scores pale compared to that of the Gecko, insurance company GEICO's Cockney-accented mascot. The Gecko has 93% awareness among consumers and a Q Score of 35. (Licensed characters, on average, have 53% awareness and an average Q Score of 27.) "He's way up there," says Q Scores' Schafer. "On an even playing field [with non-characters], he has the strongest emotional connection of them all."

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