Literature Review of Celebrity Endorsement Essay
Running head: A LITERARY REVIEW OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT Celebrity Endorsement in Mass Media Advertising Brands Celebrity endorsement in mass media advertising has become a very beneficial phenomenon for many countries and has significantly increased in the past decade, and should be the main principle of brand communications since it is the key to marketing success. Any product that is displayed in a television commercial or magazine advertisement by a corporation that uses a celebrity or well known public figure to give a testimonial or information about the product, is practicing celebrity endorsement.
Although commonly thought of starting in the United States, celebrity endorsement began in India during the ‘80s but has since been adopted by countries in Asia, Europe, and almost worldwide. Modern mass media (especially that of tabloids) has increased exposure of celebrities to the point that it is unavoidable to not be exposed to a celebrity face. The primary principle that celebrity endorsement works off of is the public recognition of the celebrity endorser as an admirable or desirable cultural force.
It is not uncommon to view commercials from the past 10 years and see popular icons like Britney Spears endorsing a particular soft drink like Pepsi or Michael Jordan endorsing Nike as the number one brand for anyone that has even the slightest liking to sports. These celebrities among many others, are used to promote products, services, and ideas (Kambitsis et al. , 2002). A reason for the increase in the usage of celebrity endorsing on various levels of mass media is almost exclusively due to the fact that this strategy results in more positive advertisement and product ratings (Dean and Biswas, 2001), as well as
A LITERARY REVIEW OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT an increase in the purchasing of the product and in turn, increased finances for the producer (Erdogan, 2001). Most celebrity endorsers come from the entertainment and sports industries. Nevertheless, more than likely, the celebrity endorser is not known to the public for the product that they are endorsing (Friedman, 1979), therefore they are not experts of that product. As mentioned previously for example, Britney Spears has endorsed Pepsi. She s an iconic pop singer and even though she wrote a song called “Joy of Pepsi,” she is not an expert on what the best tasting soft drink is; her fame has no relation to what she is endorsing. Besides those obvious facts, Pepsi’s sales increased four times as fast as their competitor (DeNitto, 1994). Although celebrity endorsing is very expensive for the companies, in the long run it has often helped their sales because they are recognized by the public and viewed as more powerful than an anonymous face of a model (Carroll, 2008).
Celebrities are also interested in endorsing themselves in the product as their image considerably develops rather quickly along with the product. According to Speck (1988), endorsements involve three participants; sellers, endorsers, and target consumers. This is because the seller asks an endorser to use and evaluate a product, and then after trying a product, the endorser encourages the target consumers and personal fans to also purchase and try out the product.
Advertising campaigns using celebrities to support brand strategy have in general tended to be repetitive, high-profile and loud extravaganzas in which the celebrity features prominently and directly, unlike the product itself, which seems more like an addition to the whole scheme of the advertisement (Carroll, 2009). Celebrity endorsement is a powerful marketing strategy compared to the A LITERARY REVIEW OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT likes of public relations and sales promotion but has been the most long-standing beneficial strategy out of all (Hsu and McDonald, 2002).
Choosing the Celebrity Endorser Giving a brand a recognizable ‘face’ is often more than just a marketing strategy, but for better or worse can change a brand forever. Thus, choosing a celebrity endorser is of maximum importance and therefore done on a whole slew of parameters that include appeal, looks, popularity, product type, message type, etc. (Erdogan, 1999). The general belief among advertisers is that brand communication messages that are delivered by these selectively chosen celebrity endorsers, produce a higher appeal and recall than those advertisements that are not celebrity endorsed.
Furthermore, when celebrities are recognized with brand names, it creates a positive attitude, as well as a distinct personality for the brand. For example, Forbes reported that Chanel, an extremely well known Parisian fashion house, acquired an endorsement deal with spokes icon Nicole Kidman, which in turn increased business by about 16%, without administering any changes whatsoever in fragrance or packaging, because “all of a sudden, younger women took notice of the brand (Forbes). ” Credibility is also an obvious large part in determining who to use in endorsements for a specific product.
Previous research has shown that celebrities that endorse several products at a time are seen as less credible to the typical consumer (Hsu and McDonald, 2002), rather than a celebrity who just endorses a single product. The reason for this insight is because a celebrity who endorses multiple products can seem as if they do not have a real liking or interest in a particular product and will just peddle any product that is asked of them. Another event that could A LITERARY REVIEW OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT iscredit a celebrity endorsement is negative press or events that are associated with the celebrity’s name. This very problem occurred in 2005 with supermodel Kate Moss. She was dropped from her endorsements from large companies Burberry, H&M, and Chanel, when photographs of her snorting cocaine surfaced in magazines and websites. Companies using a celebrity endorser take into account the serious consequences (loss of revenue, bad image) of putting a tainted face to their product since as stated above, the brand’s whole personality is often dependent on the celebrity endorser.
Another aspect that is taken into account pertaining to the effectiveness of the celebrity endorser is to directly measure the degree that the consumers evaluate the celebrity as genuinely liking the product that they are endorsing. According to Gilbert and Malone (1995), these evaluations are recognizable under a type of judgment called “correspondent inferences. ” Correspondent inferences generally refer to a judgment that consumers observe the endorser’s behavior in the advertisement to then infer consistent character in the endorser.
For example, the consumer would observe an athlete saying he loves the breakfast cereal Wheaties, and then the consumer would infer that the athlete really does, in fact, like Wheaties. Adding to this study, McCracken (1986) suggests that a celebrity that best represents the appropriate symbolic properties “of the product should be selected, thus, highlighting the importance of the cultural meanings of celebrities in the endorsement process. ” Culturally speaking, Americans identify themselves more closely with celebrities and are more willing to accept and unconsciously accept endorsement messages.
Brands are therefore seen as playing a fundamental, as well as A LITERARY REVIEW OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT complex role in the construction of the self (Carroll, 2009). We achieve self-consistency via brand consumption, purchasing brands that we perceive to be similar to our selfconcept. Defined as image congruence hypothesis, this suggests that brands perform a function of self-enhancement whereby consumers form perceptions about brands and compare these to their own value system, selecting brands that match the closest.
All in all, the public’s fascination with the celebrities will continue on because of their role in society as an entertainer and in return, the use of celebrities in advertising will continue to increase (Pringle, 2004). Grant McCracken has proposed the Meaning Transfer Theory when referring to celebrity endorsement and its effectiveness. His theory states that a celebrity encodes a unique set of meanings that can be transferred to the endorsed product if used in the correct way. This theory takes place in three stages—encoding meanings, meaning transfer, and meaning capture.
McCracken’s theory is described as first, encoding meanings: this is basically the age, gender, race, and wealth or personal lifestyle that a celebrity can be identified with by the public. For example, a celebrity can be seen as cute, witty, and charming due to any of those factors, since each person viewing these celebrities will make their own meanings about them (McCracken, 1986). The next stage that occurs is meaning transfer. This second stage transfers those meanings to a product and when those meanings are skillfully portrayed, celebrities are able to communicate the image more powerfully as endorsers.
The final stage is meaning capture, which assumes A LITERARY REVIEW OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT that consumers purchase products not just for their practical value, but for their cultural and symbolic value that they can convey from the product. Agreeing with McCracken, Carroll also adds to this statement by reporting that the consumers now turn to brands of products less as bundles of utility and more so as “badges that contain social meaning” (Carrol, 2009). Simply put, it is the stage that the consumers hope to capture some part of the meaning from the first stage (cute, witty, etc. , which the celebrity endorser has seemed to have passed on to the product. This is especially true in celebrity promoted lifestyle products like perfumes, clothes, and consumer technology (McCracken, 1986). Because celebrity endorsements tie into people’s personal and cultural meanings, it seems that they will always infinitely be effective and have proven to be a sustainable marketing technique. Based on the previous research, this study will move forward and add to the literature by asking the following questions: RQ 1: Will all correspondent inferences be positively associated with the attitudes toward the advertised product?
RQ 2: Will observers (consumers) still believe that the celebrity endorser likes the product more than the average user, even though they know the endorser is getting a large payment?
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