Celebrity Endorsement Marketing Campaigns

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October 20, 2008

Celebrity Endorsement Marketing Campaigns
Celebrity endorsement is a billion dollar industries today (Kambitsis et al., 2002) with companies signing deals with celebrities hoping that they can help them stand out from the clutter and give them a unique and relevant position in the mind of the consumer. According to Solomon (2002), the reasons for using celebrity endorsement involves its potential to create awareness, positive feelings towards their advertising and brand. Research has shown that celebrity endorsement can have an impact on the consumer’s attention, recall, evaluations and purchase intentions (Atkin and Block, 1993), Celebrity endorsement is a widely used tactic in marketing and much research as been done on the selection and effects of celebrity endorsement. Companies should use celebrities to endorse their products as a form of marketing to assist companies in advertising to consumers..

Celebrity endorsement is today more and more viewed as an integral part in an integrated marketing communication strategy. Hamish Pringle (2004) argues that there are 3 macro factors in the market today that largely influence the reason why celebrity endorsement can be a valid strategy: (1) increasing opportunity for activity between brands and their customers; (2) era of consent referring to the situation we have today where the consumer has more control over the messages they receive (television, computers, web access); (3) increasing media and commercial clutter. Put these together and it makes it increasing difficult for brands to gain the consumers attention and interest.

Perhaps the most important decision to be made, besides choosing whether or not to use celebrity endorsers at all, is the choice of celebrity. Much research has been made in this area and several models have been made to explain and assist in the celebrity endorsement selection process (McGuire, 1985, McCracken 1989). An important prerequisite is the compatibility of the celebrity and the consumer’s lifestyle.

One model looked at the source credibility (Solomon, 1996). The basis is that the effectiveness of the message depends on the consumers perceived level of expertise and trustworthiness of the celebrity endorser. The argument is that through internalization, the message from the celebrity endorser can influence opinions, beliefs, attitudes and behavior. Another model looked at source attractiveness (McGuire, 1985). This argues that consumers generally have a more positive attitude towards attractive people. Use of models and attractive people is a fairly common phenomenon in the world of celebrity endorsement. One model that is considered to take it a step further is the Meaning Transfer Model (McCracken, 1989). It demonstrates that celebrity endorsers bring their own symbolic meaning into the endorsement process. The strengths of this model are that it considers celebrity status, class, gender, age, lifestyle, and personality.

Many people see themselves as they imagine others see them. This type of theory is relevant to the Reebok campaign that works on self image and allowing people to be who they are (I am what I am). Solomon (2002) speaks about celebrities being most effective in situations involving high social risk, where the buyer is aware of the impression peers will have of him or her. A celebrity endorser is relatively more effective for products high in psychological or social risk, involving elements as good taste, self-image, and opinion of others compared to a “normal” spokesperson. Politicians and pundits routinely claim that celebrity endorsement have little sway on voters(USA Today). However, at least one celebrity does hold influence in the voting booth. Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama has been said to have boosted him by one million votes in the primaries and caucuses. People take political information from all sorts of sources in their daily life, and for...
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