Cultural Value Of Celebrity Endorsement Cultural Studies Essay

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A celebrity endorser is "an individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement" (McCracken, 1989, page 310). Friedman and Friedman (1979, page 63) state that "a celebrity endorser is an individual who is known to the public for his or her achievement in areas others than of the product class endorsed". In this paper the first definition will be used.

In this chapter celebrity endorsement will be explained with the use of several determinants. This section describes which factors a celebrity should have to be a solid endorser. To explain the determinants of celebrity endorsement, this thesis will look at the determinants illustrated in Amos, Holmes and Strutton (2008). Also the source credibility model and the source attractiveness model will be used as foundation for selecting the determinants (Erdogan, 1999). The determinants described in this paper will be: trustworthiness, expertise, attractiveness, simularity, liking, the match-up and the meaning transfer. The source credibility depends on the expertise and trustworthiness. The source attractiveness depends on familiarity, liking and similarity. In the next chapter the cohesion between all these determinants will be further explained. Also will be described how celebrities can be effective, without knowing of being used as an endorser for the company; celebrity abuse.

2.1. Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness refers to "the honesty, integrity and believability of an endorser" (Erdogan et al. 2001, page 40). But it is also dependent on what target group you are focusing on. Therefore companies always try to find endorsers who are widely seen as trustful and who are seen as honest, believable and dependable (Shimp 1997). Trustworthiness is the most important factor with regard to credibility. Accompanying correlations of trust also influence the credibility, and likeability is mentioned as the most important attribute (Friedman, 1978). Advertisers can create the most effectiveness by taking these two factors, liking and trustworthiness, into account. Friedman, Santeramo and Traina (1979) state that when consumers like a celebrity, the consumer will automatically trust this celebrity. Controversially, Ohanian (1991) found that trustworthiness of a celebrity endorser had no relationship with the purchase intentions of the related brand by the consumer. This tangled conclusion had to do with the level of involvement, which will be described in the following chapter. The trustworthiness is of major importance for effective endorsers. If consumers believe what the endorser is telling and they trust him or her, it will be the most effective. When a celebrity comes negatively into the news, this will affect the believability and the trustworthiness of the endorser, and will negatively influence the accompanying product.

2.2 Expertise

Expertise of celebrity endorsement is being defined as "the extent to which an endorser is perceived to be a source of valid assertions" (Erdogan, 1999, page 298). The literature investigating source credibility in settings involving persuasive communication generally indicates that a receiver's perception of the source's expertise positively influences source effectiveness (Ohanian 1990). Furthermore, in a selling context, an expert salesperson caused a significantly higher number of customers to purchase a product than the non-expert salesperson did (Woodside and William Davenport 1974). Expert sources also influence perceptions of the product's quality, and the source or celebrity that is more expert has been found to be more persuasive (Aaker and Myers 1987) and generates more intentions to buy the brand (Ohanian 1991). On the other hand is declared by Speck, Schumann and Thompson (1988) that expert celebrities generate a higher product recall than celebrities who are seen as a non-expert. The level of celebrity expertise will determine its effectiveness. The more expertise a celebrity has, the more effective it will be. The expertise of a celebrity will not be changed by negative publicity, but his or her believability and credibility will be negative influenced.

2.3 Attractiveness

With attractiveness not only the physical attractiveness is meant. Also is aimed at for example intellectual skills, personality properties, lifestyles or athletic skills. Physical attractiveness suggests that a celebrity determines the effectiveness of persuasion as a result of that consumers want to be and identify with such endorser (Cohen and Golden (1972). On the other hand, examples are known about celebrities who are not physical attractive, but do represent the image the company wants to create and have. There are huge numbers of physical attractive celebrities who endorse a product. An example is David Beckham for the Armani brand. A lot of people are attracted by David Beckham. Men want to be associated with the soccer player and fashion man David Beckham, while woman are physically attracted by his appearance. Because David Beckham always looks fashionable, never comes negatively into the news, he is extremely credible, attractive and has a high degree of similarity; people want to be like him. That makes him a good celebrity endorser.

2.4 Similarity

The source attractiveness model states that the efficiency depends on similarity, familiarity and liking for an endorser (McGuire, 1985). Similarity is described as a supposed resemblance between the source and the receiver of the message. In other words: if a consumer can identify him/herself with the endorser. People can be influenced more easily by an endorser who is similar to them. If the celebrity and the consumer have common factors or interests or lifestyles, a better cohesiveness is created. That's why celebrities are selected upon their characteristics that match well with consumers. Companies also try to create empathy using celebrities (Belch & Belch, 2001). Using empathy engender a bond between celebrity and the consumer. Also the level of persuasiveness is increased with the help of using similarity. For that reason companies might sometimes choose not to pick a celebrity, but a regular-normal-looking person whom people can identify themselves with more easily. Regarding celebrity endorsement can be stated: the higher the similarity, the higher the effectiveness.

2.5 Liking

Likeability is the affection for the source as a result of the source's physical appearance and behaviour (McGuire, 1985). Because people like successful celebrities, they are used in commercials and advertisements. And when people like the celebrity, they will also like the accompanying brand. Celebrity endorsement will influence the consumer behaviour and attitude (Belch & Belch, 2001) and advertisers believe that a celebrity can influence the consumer's vision of the image of the company. In Kahle & Homer (1985) the process of the disliked celebrity is explained in an experiment. The experiment contains the example of celebrity endorsement used with disposable razors by means of John McEnroe. He has been the celebrity endorser for this particular brand. John McEnroe is a tennis player who can annoy people; his famous rough language on the tennis court is widely well-known. It can be stated that he isn't the ideal endorser of a brand, and John McEnroe can be assigned to the disliked celebrity. The company retains him because his image implies wealth and concern for protection of self-interest; two attributes the company wants consumers to be associated with the consumption of disposable razors. Despite McEnroe is a disliked celebrity, the company can use him as a successful endorser.

2.6 The match-up principle

Cooper (1984), Forkan (1980), Marchel (1987) and Hawkins (1989) show that the match-up between celebrity endorser and the product or company is of major importance. This correspondence results in a better recall of the commercial and brand information and will positively affect the transfer influence with regard to the personification of the brand (Rockney and Green, 1979). Advertising a product via a celebrity who has a relatively high product congruent image, leads to greater advertiser and celebrity believability if you would compare it with a less congruent product/celebrity image (Kotler 1997). The match-up principle consists of two central terms: the perceived fit and the image of the celebrity (Misra & Beatty, 1990). When a celebrity has a good image and fit to the product and company, this will lead to greater believability and so effectiveness. The has to do with the fact that if you combine these two, the tie-in of the celebrity and the image the celebrity has, you can get both things, the fame and the tie-in, working for them. What is of great importance for an endorser, is the match up of the celebrity endorser with the image and message a company wants to stand for and propagates. With the Nespresso commercials, George Clooney has been used as a celebrity endorser. Nespresso wants to be associated with terms as style, refinement, charm and a first-class quality brand. In addition Olivier Quillet, international marketing president of Nespresso, therefore states that George Clooney is the perfect match for his brand, because Clooney's profile illustrates these characteristics the brand wants to be.

2.8 Meaning Transfer

The meaning transfer model is based upon meanings and it proposes that the effect of the celebrity endorser is depended on the meaning the celebrity brings into the endorsement process and the product (McCracken, 1989). The model is created to illustrate the process of the celebrity endorser. All the celebrity endorsers have different connotations. They differ in demographics, personalities and lifestyles. That's why when you think of a celebrity, multiple meanings are in the association set. Celebrities can be very valuable in marketing campaigns of the product or brand because they provide the customer quite a few characteristics when they think of the product or brand. Celebrities have more effect than non-known endorsers, because a celebrity offers meaning of deepness and power from their character and lifestyle into the endorsement. (Schlecht, 2003). When companies create a appropriate meaning transfer between the celebrity endorser and the product, this will positively influence the attitude of consumers.

Culture Endorsement Consumption


The meaning transfer model is divided in three stages. In the first stage the meaning associated with the celebrity moves from the endorser to the product or brand. Meanings of the endorser become linked with the product in the brain of the customer. Then is determined if the symbolic characteristics of the celebrity are the ones sought for the product and has to be chosen if a celebrity represents those symbolic properties. Once the celebrity is picked, the consumption process will start and via the use of a promotional campaign the celebrity will be linked to the product. In the last stage the consumers link the celebrity with the product, and the product with themselves. Celebrities play a role in the last phase of this model while they have generated the self.

2.9 Celebrity abuse

Normally, celebrities are well paid for their involvement regarding to commercials or brands. But nowadays companies can also make use of a celebrity, applying new smart marketing strategies. The idea of this smart methodology is using the celebrity in an action, without the celebrity knowing he or she is informed about. A company creates a (strangle hold contract? = "wurgcontract") in which the celebrity can earn a huge amount of money. But the contract is being created in such a way that it is impossible for the celebrity to agree on. For example: being 3 days a week fulltime available for promotion purposes. So the celebrity will reject the proposition. Subsequently, the so-called company sponsor tells in the media that the celebrity rejected a huge amount of money and generates free publicity.

For example: the company PaddyPower offered Tiger Woods approximately 75 million dollar for a 5-year contract. The management of Tiger Woods refused this deal, after which PaddyPower extensively brought this into the media's attention. Not only the gossip papers began to write about this gigantic refused contract, but it also reached the national and international news and a lot of search engines and news sites linked and referred on their website to the PaddyPower website. This resulted in a lot of website-visitors, gigantic grow of brand awareness and publicity for PaddyPower with zero costs of this marketing strategy.