The effects of celebrity endorsements

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Since radio became commercial in the late 20s and from the first flickering of TV screens in the late 40s, celebrities have done commercials. Western culture has always flocked to the notion of a 'celebrity driven' culture; whereby celebrities dictate the trends of the post-modern materialistic culture.

Pakistan is increasingly following in the footsteps of the Western world by adopting a celebrity driven culture; where latest trends, fashions and ideas are modeled after various celebrities. Thus companies are increasingly using celebrities to endorse their brands by either publicly using their product or appearing in advertisements for said products. The aim is to increase sales of the product by getting consumers to change their purchase behavior and buying more of the product (either by consuming it in greater quantity or buying more of the product). However celebrity endorsement does not automatically guarantee greater success, nor is the effectiveness same for every brand of a particular celebrity. Thus it becomes important for organizations to understand how celebrity endorsement affects their brand. The purpose of this thesis is to study the impact that celebrity endorsement has on a brand as well as the factors that determine the effectiveness of the endorsement for the brand in order to maintain successful brand recognition.

The research itself would focus on the telecommunications sector and how celebrity endorsements affect consumer purchase behavior and brand equity in this particular sector. This has been chosen as the area of study as telecommunications sector one of the most vital of all the infrastructure services today. It is not only essential for the growth and development of every other sector of the economy but also for the integration of local economy with the rest of the world.

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Celebrity Endorsement - Hidden Factors to Success

There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when choosing a certain celebrity to serve as the image of the company or to promote the brand in other ways. Dimed in their research, 'Celebrity Endorsement - Hidden Factors to Success' list key variables which determine the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement, these are, 'trust', 'expertise', 'similarity', 'likeability', 'meaning transfer', and 'fit'. The authors further go on to explain how negative information may affect endorsement effectiveness and the ways in which companies cope with such difficulties. The final conclusion suggests ways in which these variables affect consumer willingness to purchase the product or service in a holistic manner as well as using these variables in isolation to study the effects of each. Finally it is concluded that trust and meaning transfer are considered to be the most important variables.

Consumer Opinion towards Celebrity and Non celebrity Advertisement

The article talks about different types of endorsers that may influence the demand of a certain product, brand or service. It lists them as a celebrity, typical consumer, professional expert or the company president. However each type of endorsement brings some extra value to the matter, the study undertaken concludes that no matter what type of endorser, their advertisements brought higher believability, higher taste expectations and greater intent to purchase. A research conducted by Smita Sharma says, "Celebrity Endorsement-is it the only Recipe for Marketers."

Generic factors that result in successful advertisement are listed with general effectiveness of advertisement measured in terms of sales turnover, ad recall and recognition as well as ad approval rating. These are later applied to endorsements and whether these factors were enhanced by endorsement.

Celebrities bring with them the increase in consumer awareness, brand recall, brand association. Celebrities also enhance reach ability of the product message.

Impact of Celebrity Qualities on Purchase Intention

This study by Margaret J. Wellington compared ads with endorsers to an ad with no endorser to see which was more effective in an advertisement. The product they used was a fictitious type of wine. They found that any endorser, no matter what type, brought higher taste expectations, intent-to-purchase and believability than the ad with no endorser. In this study she concluded that using celebrities can increase consumers awareness of the ad, capture their attention and make ads more memorable.

However it was noted that there should be a perfect fit between the brand and celebrity to create a proper association and clarity and unless accompanied by a powerful idea there's a good chance that the communication could sink into another clutter of celebrity-endorsed advertising. Lastly, it was found that consumers now look at celebrities as entertainers also, not as mere models. So, the advertising campaigns should send a clear message of entertainment. Five important factors -(Reach of product message, Motivation to buy the product, Attractiveness, Reliability and Remembrance) were used to compare the opinion of consumers towards Celebrity and Non celebrity Advertisement

Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Overall Brand

Celebrity Endorsement' has attracted immense debate on whether it really contributes to the brand building process or whether it is just another lazy tool to make the brand more visible in the minds of the consumers. Kulkarni focus on a key aspect mentioned in 'Celebrity Endorsement - Hidden Factors to Success': the need to match values of the celebrity and the brand to be successful, i.e. getting the right celebrity to endorse the right brand. Consumers perceive the brand as having superior quality because it has been endorsed by a credible source.

Kulkarni mention the need for corporate and endorser credibility to exist, for such partnerships to be viable; it is stated that the over popularity of the celebrity sometimes overshadows the brand. If the celebrity is involved in multiple endorsements, it tends to create confusion among consumers and hence negatively affects the perception of the advertisement and the brand.

Other variables previously outlined in other articles are also mentioned as to effect the way celebrity endorsement could affect purchase behavior, such as trust, expertise, likeability and attractiveness. It is stressed that the physical aspect is one of the key factors in swaying consumer opinion and their purchase patterns.

Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on a Brand

Saurabh Katyal focuses on brand personification and how celebrities may encompass the image of the brand and become the recognizable face of the brand in a public environment. Through the use of primary research it is shown that the crescendo of celebrities endorsing brands has been steadily increasing over the past years. Focus group results show that marketers overtly acknowledge the power of celebrities in influencing consumer-purchasing decisions. Saurabh perceives that celebrity endorsement can bestow special attributes upon a product that it may have lacked otherwise.

Saurabh also explores the flipside of the brand and celebrity relationship whereby negative publicity of the celebrity may harm brand image and consumer purchase intention. As a general rule, likeability, trust. attractiveness and recognition are stated as the variables that define the the impact of endorsement on the brand.

Demographics and Attitude towards the Celebrity Advertisement

Sidharath focus their research on the telecommunications sector as it is one of the most vital of all the infrastructure services today. It is not only essential for the growth and development of every other sector of the economy but also for the integration of local economy with the rest of the world.

The Indian telecommunication sector is used as the area of research, stating it has the largest potential for growth in the country. The initial study explores how, to make the advertisement more attractive advertising agencies and companies are using celebrities. Variables that affect consumer behavior in terms of demographics are listed: consumer behavior, such as age, income, gender, geography and personality.

To know the impact of Demographics on attitude Regression test was conducted. The analysis revealed that there is significant relationship between demographic variables and the attitude towards celebrity advertisement in today's culture. It was also found that these variables be served as moderators when dissecting the relationship between celebrity advertisement and the change in consumer behavior.

The equity effect of endorsement by celebrities: A conceptual framework

The purpose of this study was to outline a conceptual framework that could be used to organize and guide future research into how celebrity product endorsement creates equity for both the endorsed product-brand and the endorsing celebrity. The focus of Diana Seno's study was how the celebrity as well as the brand could serve to increase equity for each other, essentially feeding off each other's image to mutually benefit each other. It looked at the relationship between the endorser and the company and how a strategic fit could be achieved by utilizing the best fit of celebrity for the product to be endorsed.

The central findings of the research state that celebrity endorsement is a form of co-branding and that both endorser image and brand image serve as mediators in the equity-creation process of celebrity product endorsement.

Mobile brands connect with Pakistan

Umair Naeem examines the relationship and industry effects of celebrity endorsement on the telecommunications sector. Umair states how the increase in competition has led cellular service providers to resort to differentiating their brands less on the basis of functionality and features and increasingly on the basis of emotional appeal and a certain message that is sent across. Celebrity endorsements are heavily used to drive home the emotional appeal and to personify the message that is being sent across.

Using Mobilink as an example he states, "Mobilink's sub-brand Indigo relied heavily on two factors toward establishing its brand equity: brand ambassadors that exuded style and sophistication, and a unique classy look that permeate all forms of its Indigo brand communication. Indigo used models such as Zainab Qayum, movie stars like Shaan, and popular musicians such as Strings to infuse style into its branding. It also played on the aspirations of young business professionals through the atmosphere and the locales of Indigo's ads." He believes celebrity endorsement is currently necessary to differentiate the brands which are increasingly similar in features and thus celebrities help to personify the brand's qualities.

The naked truth of celebrity endorsement

This case study examines the use of celebrity endorsement in the formation of the retail image of leading European grocery distribution group J. Sainsbury, in particular, the process of transference of celebrity images to the product's image. Thus The focus of the study is on using celebrity endorsements for retail outlets. Its emphasis is on 'fit' between celebrity image and brand image. Specific cases are analyzed to evaluate the extent to which consumers associate themselves with the image that the given celebrity projects and how that, in turn affects their purchase behavior

The incorporation of Jamie Oliver (well known as television celebrity The Naked Chef) into the promotions of one of Britain's leading grocery chains involves a high profile campaign that has been adopted in order to imbue the company's products with an image of quality. The success of the campaign has been replicated in New Zealand by another grocery retail "giant", Foodstuffs, who have also adopted The Naked Chef to endorse their products. The case draws on field research with consumers and key informant interviews with advertising agency personnel who identified the criterion for the choice of Jamie Oliver. The extent to which the market place recognises and consumers associate themselves with the image Jamie projects as a celebrity endorser for J. Sainsbury is explored.

The Impact of Celebrity Endorsements on Consumer Brand Preferences

The research focuses on aspects of brand and celebrity recognition as the basis of consumer purchase behavior, stating: "A known brand or an optimally exposed brand will find more recognition and buyers in the market in comparison to completely unknown or unexposed brand. Recognition of brand and its significance along with the traditional factors plays a very significant role in consumer decision-making process.  More or less every consumer has a brand preference and given the affordability and societal norms, each buyer would like to buy and consume one of the highly acceptable, recognizable, and reputed brands."

The key purpose of celebrity endorsement (to change consumer buying behavior) is analyzed to understand whether popular celebrities have enough power to alter a consumer's consumption pattern. It is found that famous people achieve a higher degree of attention and recall. They increase awareness of a company's advertising as well as help in retention of message in the psyche of the audience. They can also help the company in reducing their expenditure on Media and other forms of publicity. Overall it is stated that celebrities may increase brand value as well as convince consumers to shift from one brand to another.