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Endorsers are a person who have high public recognition and use that recognition to represent one or more consumer products by appearing in an advertisement (McCraken, 1989). Companies use the popularity of celebrities to influence the taste and preference of consumers in order to achieve high volume of sales.
Friedman and Friedman (1979) defined that endorser is a person (artist, actor, etc) who is well-known by the public for his or her achievement in field other than class of products endorsed.
Celebrity’s endorsement is a process of persuasive and informing consumers about the new and existing products available in the market. Therefore this literature review will examine how celebrities use different model in promoting their endorsed products.
2.0 When and why celebrity’s endorsement an effective advertising strategy?
Every single company apply celebrity in their advertisement in order to boost up their monthly sales for the company. Yet to ensure that the advertisement is able to achieve what they expected, studies have been done to find out when celebrity endorsement is effective advertisement strategy.
Based on previous studies done by scholars, there are several models developed:
Source credibility model (Hovland and Walter Weiss, 1951-1952)
Source attractiveness model ( McGuire, 1985 citied in Culture and Consumption II: Markets, Meaning, and Brands Management, 2005)
Source power model (Kelman, 1961)
Source models are designed to determine the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement in advertising campaigns. Yet McCraken (1989) stated that the source models did not explain the fundamental features of endorsement process. These models also did not explain the role of endorser as the medium of message.
He suggested that other factors should be considered in order to make celebrity endorsement an effective marketing strategy. Therefore, Meaning Transfer Model (McCraken, 1989) and Matchup Hypothesis (Till and Busler, 1998) should be take into consideration in order to examine when and why celebrity endorsements an effective advertising strategy.
2.0.1 Source Credibility Model
The Holvan version of source credibility model stated that a message that tend to transfer from the bran through celebrity depends on “expertness” and “trustworthiness” of the source. Credibility refers to celebrity’s reliability and dependability which will highly affect consumer attitudes toward a particular brand.
Late research by Ohanians (1990), “attractiveness” has been added into this model as physical outlook of a celebrity can affect the result of source credibility model. Figure 1 show the structure by Ohanians.
When the source is perceived by the consumers as credible, it can change their attitudes and behaviour toward the endorsed brand product through a process called “Internalisation”. This process occurred only when the recipients accept source influence on their personal attitude and belief.
Therefore in order to build positive attitude and opinions, companies tend to choose source that have high credibility. Selection of celebrities is based on several criteria such as educated, knowledge, expert, familiar and etc for that particular field.
The result of the model can be observed by certain professional athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo endorsed by Nike and Venus Williams endorsed by Reebok.
Credibility has become the major factor influencing consumer’s purchasing behaviour. Besides that, company with negative image also endorsed celebrity with most recognition from public in order to recover. After Cadbury’s faced worm controversy, Amitabh Bachchan’s credibility helps them back into the track through various campaigns.
2.0.2 Source Attractiveness Model
Attractiveness did not only refer to physical attractiveness but also refer to characteristics of source such as lifestyle. In McGuire (1985) model stated that message depends on three attractiveness factors: “familiarity”-exposure of source in advertisement-, “likeability”-receivers’ attitude toward source’s physical appearance and behaviour-, and/or “similarity”-resemblance between the source and receiver- of the source.
Source’s personal behaviour and attitude can affect consumer’s perception toward a product. In other words, celebrity’s special ability (e.g Michael Jordan with athlete ability) can totally change the image of product endorsed rather than their physical attractiveness.
According to a research done by Till and Busler (1998), expertise dimension is more important than physical attractiveness when matching a brand with the endorser. This indicated that celebrity’s expertise which related to product endorsed as to increase the effectiveness of the advertisement.
Example Michael Jordan is an attractive endorser but the effectiveness of the advertisement is greater when the endorsed products are related to his athletic prowess such as Nike and is less effective when the product is not related to athlete performance such as WorldCom Communication.
Yet not all brands are not suitable to endorse based on physical attractiveness (Till and Busler, 1998). Example like cosmetics brand such as John Abraham endorsed Garnier Men, Wrangler and Timex Glasses (Dave, 2009).
Besides that, gender can be another factor of source attractiveness in advertising. Study has been done by researcher such as Berney-Reddish and Areni (2006, citied in Celebrity Endorsements: An Examination of Gender and Consumers’ Attitudes) found that female celebrities are more acceptable than male celebrities by consumers in an advertisement. Yet other researchers argued that gender didn’t affect in attitudes toward advertisement (Wolin, 2003; Putrevu, 2001).
2.0.3 Source Power Model
Source power is the final aspect that must apply in order to achieve effective advertising strategy. When a source has the ability to impose rewards or punishments, source power occur. The end result is an endorser able to convince or persuade another person to follow the request or position the source is recommending.
In Kelman’s (1961) study, he refers this process to compliance where an endorser has been perceived by another person that he or she have power. Persuasion in compliance will only last if the receiver perceives that the source still impose some rewards or punishments.
It’s hard to apply in non personal situation such as advertisement but able to apply by using an individual with authoritative personality as endorser (Belch and Belch, 2001 citied in The Solution of Celebrity Endorsers Selection for Advertising Products).
A good example will be Charles Branson commanding people not to harm and pollute Natural Park in a public service campaign. It is success due to the connection of Charles as authoritative role in films his taken.
2.0.4 Meaning Transfer Model
In this model, celebrity endorsers play important role in endorsement process as their own unique meaning been transferred from products to consumers. Those meanings usually refer to cultural meanings such as gender, status, lifestyle, and etc that attach to endorsers (McCraken, 1989). This model has been supported by various researchers (e.g Canning and West, 2006; Gupta, 2007; Dave, 2009) that endorsers’ effectiveness depend (partly) on what kind of meanings that he or she bring to the endorsement process
Figure 2 show stages in Meaning Transfer Model, culture, endorsement, and consumption. The first stage is critical as any mistake occurred can bring the whole endorsement process to failure as marketer need to find a celebrity that have those meaning which fit the product so that the meaning desired to communicate through advertisement can be successfully transferred.
In research done by Gupta (2007), he suggested that most effective endorsers are celebrities as they able to bring clear and understandable meanings to those product endorsed by them. Each celebrity has unique, personalised and complex number of meaning that may transfer from product to consumers.
Result can be seemed in Jamie Olivia Campaign. Jamie Olivia portrays friendly, informal, relaxed style and easy-going behaviour to audiences. He endorsed Sainsbury’s product in his cooking show by going Sainsbury’s store and purchase their products. This campaign was launched in order to gain consumer’s confidence by using Jamie’s personality.
2.0.5 Matchup Hypothesis
McCracken (1989) stated that certain products endorsements are succeed due to perfect match of celebrity and product. In order to achieve successful endorsements, marketer needs to find the best “fit” between endorser and product based on their expertise (Till and Busler, 1998).
Certain endorser/product has natural fit such as Michael Jordan for Nike (Figure 3), Cindy Crawford for Revlon (Figure 4) and Elizabeth Taylor for White Diamond perfume (Figure 5). Endorser should consider which attributes that correspondence to the product to avoid mismatch such as Michael Jordan for WorldCom communication.
Research done by Kamins (1990) and found that attractive endorser will able to show him or her attractiveness when being paired with “attractiveness-related” products. Hence source credibility and attitude can be increase.
Through above literature review, most important factor that affects the effectiveness of an advertisement is source model, in additional with enhancement of unique meaning carried by endorsers. Endorsers can be attractive by the public but without unique identification that able to convince consumer to purchase endorsed product, whole endorsement process could be a failure.
Source attractiveness and credibility model have become the fundamental of research in effectiveness of celebrity endorsements as both source should reached a mark of balance for maximise the effectiveness of the campaign.
Further research could involve other elements such as effect of celebrities applied in different age group or different regions. This could identify whether similar endorser work effect on different people worldwide.
Recent year celebrities have been reported with negative news which can affect their image such as Tiger Wood. Hence scholars should take concern of these negative images and determine whether it will reduce the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements.
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