In today’s world, an average consumer is bombarded with marketing communication tools like images in newspapers and magazines; they also see and hear advertisements on a number of billboards, television shows, radio programs, internet banners and many other forms of advertising. Every marketer attempts and aims at catching the slightest attention of the potential consumer through these marketing tools, in order to create awareness about a brand or just to remind the consumer about it. Among many other marketing tools, celebrity endorsements have become one of the most powerful and widely used means of communication between marketer and consumer. Celebrities add an extra edge to the brand they endorse because their image and personality enhances the features and image of the brand and helps in catching consumer attention and maintaining brand recall. A credible and attractive celebrity endorser can be very helpful in making the consumer believe in the brand message and drive purchase intention. Therefore the purpose of this study is to see how celebrity endorsements impact brands; what factors should be considered when choosing a celebrity to endorse a brand. To narrow down our research, we have chosen two brands from the personal care products industry.
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A company’s label or the brand forms an identity, it can be its name, sign, term, symbol, design, or combination of these, as that distinguishes a product or company from its competitors, so that it can be easily communicated and effectively marketed. Brands help consumers to identify products and services and also differentiate between them. They make it easier for consumers to choose from a number of given choices of brands.
In today’s world, where consumers live in an environment of ever-increasing commercial bombardment, companies try hard to catch their attention through various means. Every day, an average customer sees and absorbs thousands of images, voices in newspapers and magazines, they also see and hear advertisements on a number of billboards, television shows, radio programs, internet banners and many other forms of advertising. This massive exposure to numerous advertisements is a result of every brand’s attempt to catch the slightest attention of a potential customer and convey the incredible and unique features of the product in question. Due to this constant exposure to various media, consumers often become indifferent to shear amount of the marketing tactics being employed in different forms and types. Thus providing a very challenging situation for the marketer to find a technique to hold the subject’s attention.
As marketers play with a number of marketing principals, the customers do the same by – choosing which products and services to buy, and not to buy, selecting the brands to use, and the brands to ignore. As the selection of a brand being chosen by a customer depends on various factors such as age, gender, social group, ethnicity, race, etc. Accordingly, marketers use different tactics to target and influence different groups of customers. One of the tactics used by marketers is endorsement of a product by celebrities.
Celebrities are people who have general acceptance by all in the form of awareness between the general public for their achievements in various fields.Â In today’s world endorsements are a means of communication from the brands in which the endorsing celebrity is the brand’s representative and they thus verify the label’s or the brand’s promise and stance by associating it with there individuality, based on there standing in the society or the know-how in the relevant products. As in today’s global environment the brands face local, regional and international competition, celebrity endorsement is considered as a very effective means of differentiation and communication.
During the 1870’s, when Reverend Henry Ward Beecher was seen in an advertisement in Harper’s Weekly in which he endorsed Waltham watches, since that time label’s and brands have used popular characters and celebrities in order to distinguish and as well as market their products to consumers. Cigarette industries first started employing entertainment personalities in 1905. In 1934, Lou Gehrig was the first athlete endorser to appear on the Wheaties box. Since then, celebrity endorsements has become a widely used marketing tool for products like cosmetics, sports goods, fashion apparel, watches, cars, etc.
In the current busy and fast moving life, people tend to ignore a lot of advertising and marketing tactics used by companies. Having said that, the presence of a celebrity hardly ever goes unseen. This implies that endorsements by famous personalities and its effect are of prime importance to companies. How celebrity endorsements affect the customer’s choice of brands is what we will find out in our research. Due to the broadness of the topic we have made it more specific by choosing two brands from the personal care industry – one endorsed by a celebrity and the other endorsed by a non-celebrity. We shall study the effect of each, celebrity endorsed and non-celebrity endorsed on the consumer’s choice of brand.
1.2 Research Question
What affect does celebrity endorsement have on brands?
We have chosen this topic because in today’s world we are exposed to different brands and we have to make choices. Brand chosen by one might not be chosen by another and how celebrity endorsement affects these choices is what we what we will find in our research. Due to the broadness of the topic we have made it more specific by choosing two brands from the personal care industry – one endorsed by a celebrity and the other endorsed by a non-celebrity. We shall study the effect of each, celebrity endorsed and non-celebrity endorsed on the consumer’s choice of brand.
This research report aims to investigate how celebrity endorsement affects the choice of brands made by customers. To identify factors that are essential when deciding on celebrity endorsement, to identify the difference in impact of a celebrity and non-celebrity endorsed advertisement on brand and whether it positively or negatively affects the brand.
- To study the affect of endorsement on brand
- To study how celebrity endorsement and non celebrity endorsed advertisements affect consumer behavior/ response.
- To study how consumer learning and evaluation differ for personal care product when endorsed by a celebrity.
- To study how advertising target for personal care product can be made more effective by using celebrity endorsement.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
As per the American Marketing Association (AMA), a brand is a “name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the good and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition”
Apart from basic elements (instrumental properties, physical characteristics, and packaging) a clients opinion about a brand may also be based on secondary association, that is, associations related to entities not directly linked to the brand. Such entities may include companies, countries of origin, channels of distribution, other brands, and spokespersons (Keller 1998). The linkage to a secondary entity leads to occurrence of secondary brand association as these entities have their own knowledge structure in the minds on consumers (Keller 1993)Â and may lead the consumer to believe that the features or characters of the entity may be also true for the brand, thereby leveraging secondary brand association to create brand equity. As mentioned, one means of causing a secondary brand association is to utilize a famous personality as an endorser of a brand.
The term celebrity refers to a person who enjoys a huge public following for his or her accomplishments in areas other than endorsements (Friedman and Friedman, 1979). A famous personality as anendorser, by definition, is a person who enjoys recognition in public and has the leverage to use this recognition to influence the product of a brand by promoting it in an advert (McCracken, 1989). Celebrities are famous individuals who, in some cases, act as role models and influence the consumer’s attention by creating and differentiating the product’s image through endorsement.
Celebrity endorsement refers to the use of a well-known and well-liked personality among the masses to induce their likeness and image towards the sale of a product (brand) or and service. Byrne et al (2003, p.289) states that celebrities have the ability to develop, restore and add new scope to a brand. By endorsing a brand, celebrities save a company’s valuable effort and time to create a trustworthy image and also enhance the credibility and integrity of a company by associating themselves with the brand. When celebrities endorse a brand, consumers tend to think that company is reliable.
Famous personalities are used in endorsements in support of various reasons. At times when celebrities leverage their appeal and personality to an unknown brand that leads to instant brand recognition and acceptance (Dickenson, 1996). Celebrities might also be used in cases where a brand has lost its demand in the market and celebrity endorsements help to re-engage and re-positioning of the brand (Jacobson et al., 2001). A number of researches report that customers have an unquenchable need to gain an insight about the lives of famous personalities (Gamson, 1994; Ponce de Leon, 2002). Which allows the celebrity to easily catch consumer attention (Kaikati, 1987), which is a very successful way of producing effective PR for brands (Chapman & Leask, 2001; Larkin, 2002; Pringle & Binet, 2005) as customer recall rate also increases when such adverts are displayed (Kamen, Azhari, & Kragh, 1975; O’Mahony & Meenaghan, 1998).
According to research, celebrity endorsements not only influence the emotions of consumers, they also have an impact on the attitude that consumers have towards an advertisement or a brand, which can in turn increase (or decrease) the purchase intentions and, consequently, increase (or decrease) sales.
2.1 Effectiveness of Celebrity Endorsement
Although the sponsoring company is the primary source for any advertising message, the celebrity endorsers depicted in the advertisement act as the more visible communicator of the brand message. Research project undertaken by social psychologists over period of 30 years suggests when a message source is thought to have high reliability is more convincing than a source with low reliability (Hovland and Weiss, 1951; McGuire, 1969; Hass, 1981).
A marketing survey conducted by Erdogan and Baker in February 1996, shows that majority of companies use celebrities as part of their marketing communication strategy to support the company’s brand image. As per research, the popularity of celebrities not only succeeds in creating and maintaining attention of consumers, it also helps in achieving higher recollection rate (Ohanian, 1991; O’Mahony and Meenaghan, 1997) and the use of famous personalities in marketing communication does have a crucial impact in the reliability, message recollection, the likeability of the advertisement and thus effecting the purchase intentions (Menon, 2001; Pornpitakpan, 2003; Pringle and Binet, 2005; Roy, 2006).
Many companies also consider that an advert featuring a famous personality will be highly effective, with greater chances of concentration and recall and sales of the brand compared to those without celebrities (Cooper, 1984; Dean and Biswas, 2001).
Besides to the attention they bring to the adverts (Buttle, Raymond, and Danziger 2000), they are the credible sources as well example can be expertise in a particular area, such as an athlete endorsing shoes (Ratneshwar and Chiaken 1991) or a beautiful model endorsing make-up (Baker and Churchill 1983).
As these famous personalities being endorsers are generally attractive, this helps to persuade customers when they are worried about socially fitting in and others’ attitudes (DeBono and Harnish 1988) and celebrities also provide crucial information about the product especially when the product is attractiveness-related (Kahle and Homer 1985, Kamins 1990).
The use of a famous endorser leads to higher output of the brand, a more approving assessment of both the product and its advert, and a considerably more positive sale of products high in psychological and/or social risk (Friedman and Friedman (1979), especially when a product is introduced in the market or when a brand will realign its self. however, pre-testing and planning are the key and the life-cycle stage of the celebrity should also be taken into account (De Pelsmacker, 2004).
The majority of celebrities used are athletes, movie actors and singers. There are a number of reasons why celebrity endorsers may be significant:
In a cluttered stream of messages they help in attracting the attention of the consumer
They are seemingly more entertaining.
They have a responsible image.
Lastly, it is widely believed that celebrities do not endorse brands in return for a fee, but there motivation is a genuine fondness towards the merchandise (Kamen et al, 1975).
As per Endorgan (2001), another reason for rapid and noticeable use of celebrities in advertisements is because of its capability of having a profound impact on financial gains for the companies. Firms invest huge sums of in order to match the celebrity endorser with the brand perfectly. Moreover, due to a considerable decline in the effectiveness of other marketing communication tools (Blondé and Roozen, 2006) companies are ready to pay the high fee that these endorsers demand for endorsements.
A number of celebrities used in advertisements can also personify reference groups. It is a group or group of people that communicate values, attitudes or guidelines for behavior to act as a point of reference for a person (Shiffman and Kanuk, 2006). Celebrities usually represent a reference group of ‘the wealthy’ individuals, which often correspond with the way they live, thus persuading consumers to be part of that reference group (De Pelsmacker et al. 2004).
2.2 Non-Celebrity Endorsements
There are contrasting views as to the effect of advertisement using celebrity endorsements compared to those using non-celebrity endorsement.
Mehta (1994) discovered in his findings that there was no considerable difference between a celebrity and non-celebrity endorsement advertisements, the customer’s approach towards the advert or brand or his/her purchase intention of the endorsed brand. Infact, when a brand is endorsed by a non-celebrity, consumers focus more in the features and quality of the brand, unlike an advertisement featuring a celebrity where consumers focus more on the celebrity than the advertisement.
However, another study show that celeb endorsement tend to produce higher positive advert ratings and product evaluations (Cooper, 1984; Dean and Biswas, 2001) and advertisements featuring celebrities prove to have a more consistent and favorable impact on consumers than impact of the non-celebrity advertisements (Atkins and Block, 1983).
The variation among celebrity and non-celebrity endorses is the ability to persuade consumers may be due to the characteristics linked with them; celebrities are perceived to be more trustworthy, credible, familiar and friendlier than non-celebrities. (Kamins, 1989; Friedman et al., 1977; Atkins & Block, 1983; Freiden, 1984).
Moreover, striking and unusual message communicators are better remembered than ordinary ones (Mc Arthur, 1981; Taylor & Fiske, 1978). A celebrity draws attention to a brand by virtue of his/her popularity (Schiffman &Lazar Kanuk, 1994; Kamen et al., 1975) which increase the message reach and likelihood of attitudinal and behavioral change of consumer (Kaikati, 1987).
2.3 AIDA Model
The AIDA Model was developed by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. It is a conceptual model that has been used over many years to create effective marketing strategy. It sets out four stages that an effective marketing plan should follow when selling a product or service.
AttentionnThe stages explain how advertising can be done best in order to reach out to its audience by firstly getting their attention (Fill, 2002). Followed, with developing interest in the product or service, and making it desirable to the potential client, and final step Strong (1925) stated was getting the customer to take action as a resulting in a purchase (Fill, 2002).
The first element of AIDA model is Attention. This refers to the stage where the brand manages to grab the attention of the consumer when the consumer is exposed to an ad of the brand.
The time a brand is endorsed by a famous personality, it becomes easy to grab the attention of the consumer as he/she would automatically be attracted to the ad that showcases a likeable/famous personality. Even if the consumer has not used the product earlier, looking at his/her favorite celebrity will help to direct consumer’s attention towards the advertisement.
However, if the brand is endorsed by a non-celebrity, it might not be as successful in grabbing consumer attention because the consumer will not find the face familiar or appealing enough to divert his/her attention towards the ad. In such a case, it might be helpful to use physically attractive non-celebrities.
The consumer might be attracted to the brand message due to the celebrity but might not be convinced enough to take notice of the product or its features. Thus, the next stage is developing consumer interest in the brand.
Interest can be developed by giving a detailed picture of the problem in question along with the solution to be offered. Stating the problems will help consumers to relate to the brand message and make them think that the advertised product might help to solve the problem they are facing.
In case of personal care products, problems conveyed in the advertisement could include dry/oily skin, dry hair, dandruff, hair fall, etc. When consumers hear these words spoken by celebrities, their interested in the ad arouses.
Once the consumer has paid attention to the brand message and taken interest in its features, the next step is to arouse desire to purchase the product, i.e., drive purchase intention.
To create desire, it is important to emphasize on triggering consumer emotions and stating benefits of the brand.
If the ad triggers an emotion like acceptability in society, happiness, success, etc conveyed by a celebrity, such ads are more likely to drive purchase intention as consumers will be able to relate to such emotions. Otherwise, if an ad states a benefit of the product, like glowing skin, voluminous hair, etc, conveyed by the celebrity, such messages will also interest the consumer because the benefits stated might be a solution to their problem.
On the other side if the advert is endorsed by a non-celebrity, it is less likely to trigger consumer’s emotions or convey benefits as effectively as celebrity endorsed brands. This is so because consumers might not pay attention to messages conveyed by non-celebrities due to lack of credibility and appeal.
The last stage involves convincing the consumer to purchase the endorsed product. This can be achieved by reemphasizing on the benefits, in a short, powerful statement and reassuring the consumers that they will achieve the promised results. When celebrities encourage consumers to purchase a product, it is more effective because consumers tend to think that if the celebrity is making promising claims about a product, it is more likely to deliver on its promise.
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2.4 Models of Celebrity Endorsement
For a number of years, researchers of marketing, communications and social psychology have worked very hard to recognize factors that related to the endorser that would help and lead to understanding and improving their effectiveness. Certain models are repeatedly used to analyze celebrity endorsement and each model is individually momentous in expressing characteristics of celebrities that must be considered before choosing them for endorsement of a brand.
2.4.1. Source Credibility Model
McGuire’s Source Credibility Model (1968) was the first technique employed in an attempt to understand the effectiveness of an advertising campaign.
This technique stated that for a brand-celebrity association to be profitable, the reliability of the message source, i.e., celebrity is very important. As celebrity endorser acts as an external influence that enables him or her to gain the attention of consumers in a cluttered stream of messages, the trustworthiness of the endorser greatly influences the approval of the message they convey. According to the source credibility model of Hovland et al. (1953) a couple of factors, one being trustworthiness and second being expertise, underline the concept of source credibility. Here trustworthiness can be defined as the degree of belief in the communicator’s ability to convey the claims he/she considers valid. The second factor expertise is defined as the level to which a he or she are perceived as a source of valid assertions (Hovland, et al. 1953). Thus information when received from a reliable source influences beliefs, opinions, attitude and behavior (McCracken, 1989) by a process called internalization which results if an individual adopts the attitude or behavior of another person since it is being viewed as honest and sincere and is congruent with their value system. (Kelman, 1961).
A very convincing source is exceptionally significant when the message recipient has a negative perception about the brand or the company. This is so because the believable source will subdue and suppress the negative feelings in the mind of the customer, which will result in better message acceptance (Belch & Belch, 2001).
2.4.2 Source Attractiveness Model
McGuire (1985) created the Source Attractiveness Model based upon the concept of the Source Credibility Model (McGuire, 1968). It states that appealing endorsers will have a profound impact on the customer perception about the endorsed brand. However, attractiveness is not just bound to physical attractiveness, it is also includes similarity, familiarity and liking of the endorser (Erdogan, 1999; Kahle & Homer, 1985; McGuire, 1968). Prior research proves that attractiveness of celebrity endorser leads to an effective influential communication by a process called identification. Since consumer perception is thought to be modifiable by perceived evaluations of others (Cohen & Golden 1972) identification occurs when information conveyed by the endorser is readily accepted by the audience in a wish to identify with the endorser. (Kelman, 1961). However, the consumer may sustain his/her perception or behavior only as long as it is supported by the source (celebrity) or the source remains attractive (Kelman, 1961)
Physically attractive endorsers are more successful in positively impacting consumer’s perception and driving sales in contrast to the unattractive endorsers (Friedman, Termin & Washington 1976; Petty, Cacioppo &Schumann 1983; Petroshius & Crocker 1989).
Moreover, celebrities endorsing products that fit with their image appear to be more appealing and attractive than when endorsing products that are not matching with their image. This result was only found with celebrity endorsers, not with non-celebrity endorsers. (Kamins & Gupta, 1994).
2.4.3 Product Match Up Hypothesis
The Product-Match Hypothesis was developed by Kahle and Homer (1985) its emphasized the importance of match between celebrity endorser and product endorsed. As suggested by Kamins (1990) the “match-up hypothesis” states that celebrity endorsers are more successful when the “fit” between endorser and the endorsed brand is present. There must be a resemblance between the celebrity and the product in form of characteristics such as image, expertise (Till and Busler, 1998, 2000) or attractiveness (Baker and Churchill, 1977; Kahle and Homer, 1985). In most researches, the pattern was studied focusing between a match on celebrity and a product basis on physical attractiveness (Kahle and Homer 1985; Kamins 1990). therefore, the match-up hypothesis implies that attractive celebrities will be more effective when endorsing products (brands) to improve physical attractiveness (Kamins, 1990) and the effect will not be considerable in case of products (brands) not related to good looks. As per Kahle and Homer (1985), when attractive celebrities endorse attractiveness related products, it results in increased message recall, positive brand perception and heightened purchase intention.
2.4.4 Meaning Transfer Model
As per the Meaning Transfer Model of McCracken (1989), there are three stages involved in the celebrity endorsement through which the celebrity portrays a message regarding a brand to the customer. McCracken (1989) recommended that the role of a celebrity in an endorsement is just not only to be good-looking or trustworthy, but the celebrity also has to create certain meanings about the brand (or product) that the customers will find appealing and useful.
In the first stage of Meaning Transfer Model, the customer forms an image of the celebrity generated from campaigns, athletic achievements and performances, distant movie performances, etc. In the second stage, they are transferred to the product by adverts and the endorsement process. The company selects a celebrity that represents and fits the image of the product in order to transfer the meaning or image of the celebrity to the product. In the third stage, they are then transferred from the product to the buyer when he/she consumes the products and the properties of the product become the properties of the consumer.
2.4.5 Elaboration Likelihood Model
The Elaboration Likelihood Model of R. E. Petty and J. T. Cacioppo (1980) is a model of persuasion stating how attitudes are formed and changed. Created in 1980, this comparatively new persuasion model tries to “explain how a persuasive messages work to change the attitude of the receiver” (Moore, 2001). The technique differentiates between two ways to persuasion: the “central route,” where a person considers an idea rationally, and the “peripheral route,” in which the audience uses existing ideas in him or her and superficial qualities to be persuaded.
The central route uses attentive consideration of the ideas and content in the message (Benoit et al., 2001), here the receiver inspects the message and values the subject matter. Messages sent by this route do have a high level of receiver participation, that is, the receiver must actually care about and be related to the subject.
The peripheral route of persuasion is effective for messages with low receiver participation, low receiver motivation, and weak messages. If a person is not able to elaborate on a message extensively, then things may still influence him or her externally that have nothing to do with the actual content of the message itself (Moore, 2001).
In case of endorsement, if the consumer is viewing a message through a central route, the product (brand) endorsed by the celebrity must be of significant importance to the consumer for him/her to pay attention on the message. Otherwise, if the product (brand) is not a high involvement one, employing a very credible and attractive celebrity may also not be successful in attracting and influencing the consumers’ attention and perception.
However, if the consumer is viewing a message through a peripheral route, an attractive and credible celebrity can narrow his/her cognitive thinking process and his/her attention, perception and in some cases purchase decision can be easily influenced. Thus, for such products, the essence of the message is not as important or influential as the celebrity conveying that message.
Question 1: Does celebrity endorsement affects brand recall and recognition?
Question 2: Does celebrity endorsement affects purchase intention of consumer?
Question 3: Is brand message acceptance more effective when the celebrity endorser is credible and trustworthy?
Question 4: Is brand message acceptance more effective when the celebrity endorser is physically attractive?
Question 5: Is brand message acceptance more effective when the celebrity endorser’s image fits with the image of the brand?
Chapter 3: Methodology
This section outlines and elaborates on the research and how it was conducted. It covers the details of the research design, methodology for collecting the data, population, questionnaire development and data analysis.
3.1 Research Design
The aim of the paper is to figure out how celebrity or non-celebrity endorsements affect brands. The basic idea is to equip ourselves with additional research on the phenomenon of consumer response with respect to celebrity and non-celebrity endorsed brands; this makes the research a basic research. Since the objective is to find how celebrity and non-celebrity endorsements affect brands, this research was termed as descriptive and casual in nature.
3.2 Data Collection Method
Data can be collected from a primary or a secondary sources. A primary data refers to information collected firsthand by the researcher based on the variables of interest for the specific purpose of study. Whereas a secondary data refers to information collected from sources already existing. This research was based on primary data collection approach. Questionnaires were used for collecting data; an opinion poll is a reformulated printed set of questions to which respondents record their answers, usually within relatively closely defined alternatives. They can be administered personally, mailed to the subjects, or electronically distributed as well (Sekaran, 2000). Personally administered questionnaires were used. They were distributed to people of different ages, occupation and income. Once the questionnaires was filled they were collected from the respondent, the researcher was accompanying the respondent so that queries from respondent can be answered. The anonymity and confidentiality of the researcher and their responses was ensured and were analyzed at the aggregate level only.
Close ended questiones were used in the questionnaire which helped the respondents to make quick decisions to choose among the several alternative before them (Sekaran, 2000). Such type of questionnaires also helps the researcher to code the information easily for subsequent analysis. Likert-style rating scale was used; it consists of subsequent options: strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree. Different statements were made in the questions and respondents were asked the degree as to what they agree or disagree upon. They were worded both negatively and positively; it is done to reduce the tendency of respondents to mechanically circle the point towards one end (Sekaran, 2000), means so that the respondent reads through each statement carefully and doesn’t tick all answers similarly.
3.3 Questionnaire Development
The layout of the questionnaire is very important to reduce the biases in the research (Sekaran, 2000); due to this the layout is kept simple and limited to 7 pages only. Questionnaire starts with an introduction of research. Then it is divided into two sections. Second page has section 1 which consists of 7 questions and is about demographic and general information like occupation, income etc. Pages three to seven
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