Celebrity Endorsement in China

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Introduction
The history of celebrity endorsement of products can date back to the 1760s in the western countries. In the US, 25% of all advertising features a celebrity (Shimp, 2003), which is an increases from the late 1970s, when 17% of advertising featured celebrities (Howard, 1979). Because there is an increasing realization of the high costs and risks with celebrity branding, advertisers begin to quantify and qualify the use of celebrities by evaluating their effectiveness under different conditions. Actually, celebrity endorsements are not just an American phenomenon. The percentage of television commercials worldwide featuring a celebrity has increased to 17% during the past decade (White, 20014). Researches indicate that celebrity endorsements occur in greater frequencies in some Asian countries including Japan, Korean and China (Choi, Lee, & Kim, 2005).

Celebrity endorsements in china
Even though most of the modern advertising and marketing for consumer goods in china has a short history of only 25-30 years, celebrity branding becomes prevalent in the country (ref 2). China is an emerging market with many brands at its developing life-cycle targeting new markets and customers. So, strategy of targeting new customers has a huge impact on the nature of marketing communication. Some researches indicate that ads in developing markets focus on product attributes where a lot of consumption is still driven by the desire to acquire the biggest, brightest and most popular ( Ref 2). However, in a developing market with limited choices for many of the new product categories, brand awareness is also very important. A lot of researches have proven the effectiveness of using celebrity to enhance brand awareness. So, celebrity endorsements are somewhat powerful to drive new customers trying new things in emerging markets like China (Ogilvy, 2011). ACEs in China: celebrity endorsements are commonplace in China with many of these featuring athlete celebrity endorsements (ACEs) and 3 of top 5 ranked celebrities in China were athletes. For example, Yao, former Houston Rocket basketball star reported to have endorsement deals with Reebok, Apple, VISA, TAG Heater, Gatorade and McDolnalds’ (Ref 6). One research found that Chinese customers are considerably more receptive to ads featuring athlete celebrity celebrity endorsers, especially toward the information contained in these advertisements (Ref 6). Actually, China is home to one of the fastest growing sport industries in the world. One reason behind the rapid growing sports industry is the massive government funding and supports.

Over-Exposure of Celebrity Endorsers in China: in China, those “hot celebrities” can accrue numerous, simultaneous endorsements. This over endorsements confuse consumer about which brand is endorsed by which celebrity (Ref 2). The movie star Jackie Chan has endorsed tons of products, some of which fail spectacularly. One Chinese newspaper called him 'a man who can destroy anything.' Chan is believed to have at least two dozen endorsement contracts at present from an anti-hair-loss shampoo which allegedly contained carcinogens to even frozen dumplings. Although the Chan name has translated to big bucks at the box office, not every product he touches turns to gold (Ref 7). Many people question the effectiveness with over endorsements. Celebrity who endorse more than one product tend to decrease the impact and distinctiveness of each product relationship (Garland and Ferkins, 2003) there is another over-exposure Chinese ACE- Liu Xiang. Ogilvy tested consumer recall for Liu’s dozen endorsements including Nike, VISA, YiLi Diary and so on. They found that people could connect Liu with the product of Nike but they had single and low-double digit recognition rate with other endorsements (Ref 1). Some U.S. celebrities limit their product endorsements to enhance their aura of exclusivity, but experts said China's media market is still too small, and the...
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