Barack Obama is the most beloved celebrity by millennials across the U.S. followed by Michelle Obama and Dwayne Johnson, according to MBLM’s BFF Study. The marketing firm created its inaugural BFF Study to complement its annual study of intimate brands, where it discovered media & entertainment brands are now the top industry. However, millennial men and women have differing preferences. Men in the age group ranked more athletes in general and LeBron James first. Women adored Michelle Obama most and preferred entertainers overall.

“This study reveals which living icons we emotionally bond most with and why,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “Just think about the impact these entertainers, politicians, athletes, entrepreneurs and spiritual leaders have on our lives and the products, services, policies and beliefs we buy, use and believe in. In this way, they are undeniably powerful brands.”

The top 10 most beloved celebrities for millennials are:

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Michelle Obama
  3. Dwayne Johnson
  4. Rihanna
  5. Beyoncé
  6. LeBron James
  7. Oprah Winfrey
  8. Tom Hanks
  9. Bill Gates
  10. Serena Williams


Top 10 for millennial men:

  1. LeBron James
  2. Barack Obama
  3. Dwayne Johnson
  4. Bill Gates
  5. Stephen Curry
  6. Donald Trump
  7. Tom Hanks
  8. Serena Williams
  9. Rihanna
  10. Michelle Obama


Top 10 for millennial women:

  1. Michelle Obama
  2. Barack Obama
  3. Dwayne Johnson
  4. Rihanna
  5. Beyoncé
  6. Oprah Winfrey
  7. Tom Hanks
  8. Bill Gates
  9. Serena Williams
  10. LeBron James

Other notable findings from the BFF Study include:

  • Barack Obama ranked #1 overall with a Brand Intimacy Quotient of 77.5
  • He was also #1 for bonding, which is a deeper connection where you actively follow, watch and listen to the icon
  • Donald Trump dominated with men and older Americans. He had the strongest “can’t live without” measure and ranked highest on fulfillment, exceeding expectations
  • Colin Kapernick ranked #1 for identity, having values people strongly identify with
  • Mark Zuckerberg, who ranked 17th, is closely aligned to his Facebook brand and ranked highest for enhancement, making people more capable and connected
  • Sean Hannity, who ranked 14th, was #1 in fusing, the strongest stage of intimacy, reflecting who people aspire to, and was an extension of their own personality

To view the BFF Study’s Top 20, click here. The full report can be downloaded here.



This year’s Brand-Intimate Famous Figures (BFF) Study is based on an online survey among 1,003 adults, 18 and older, with quotas established by age, gender and region in order to insure national representation.  The survey took place from 10/23/18 through 10/26/18, and the margin of error at the 95% level of confidence is +/- 3.09%.

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