What Is A Q Score?

Celebrities sing for us, act in dramas, and make us laugh — and sometimes they even recommend we buy insurance or apply a face cream that will take our wrinkles away. When a trusted celebrity urges us to buy something, we are more likely to listen, right?

How do companies know who to hire for their advertisements — who is most likely to make us pay attention or who we like and trust the most? Likability seems like an unquantifiable quality. Yet Marketing Evaluations Inc., a New York-based company, has been quantifying the likability of celebrities for almost 60 years, reports Mental Floss.

Likability is measured with something called a Q score. If you take the number of people who recognize a celebrity and divide it by the number of people who consider that celebrity to be their favorite, you have a Q score, as Mental Floss explains. And that "Q" stands for quotient.

It's all in the numbers

For those who may have forgotten junior-high math, a quotient is what you get when you divide one number with another, reminds Merriam-Webster. Beyond the pure mathematical definition, though, the word also now means "the magnitude of a specified characteristic or quality," as in "the celebrity's likability quotient is high."

According to The Conversation, high positive Q scores can lead to a lot of money for celebrities. Companies will pay a lot of money for a popular celebrity to endorse their products. On the other hand, a drop in Q score can spell financial trouble for a celebrity who has fallen from grace.

There are approximately 25,000 celebrities on the Q score list maintained by Marketing Evaluations, Inc., including deceased ones. Dead celebrities are a sure bet for advertising, The Conversation points out, because they stay popular, make money for their estates, and don't get into new scandals.

Yet the Q score does not just measure popularity; it measures unpopularity as well. According to Hollywood Reporter, there are such things as "negative Q scores" that measure celebrities' unpopularity. If spun correctly, these can be a good thing. Name recognition is name recognition, after all.

Kim Kardashian used her all-time-high negative Q score to successfully market herself as someone you "love to hate," the Hollywood Reporter reported. According to The Conversation, a high-profile but low Q score enabled a real estate mogul and reality TV star to leverage his notoriety all the way to the presidency in 2016.