Critically Evaluate Effect of Celebrity Endorsement on Brand Affinity

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Critically Evaluate the Effect of Celebrity Endorsement on Brand Affinity Celebrity endorsement appears to be an effective marketing communication tool for today’s marketers. Generally, the tool is not a new phenomenon as it has appeared in advertising message execution since the late nineteenth century in the utilization of Queen Victoria in Cadbury’s Cocoa (Shennan, 1985 cited in Erdogan, 1999, p.292), yet it still seems to be a powerful tool in this intense commercial era. Celebrity endorsement is the use of celebrity as a spokesperson which could incur large investment for the firm in exchange of transferring endorsers’ qualities- credibility and attractiveness- to the brand that would result in generating desirable outcomes. The consequences refer to the influence on consumers brand choices, thus creating consumers’ attentions, and purchase intentions to the brand (Erdogan, 1999, p.291). Although celebrity endorsement has been controversial as a double-edged sword because of the inconsistent images of celebrities, it could incrementally provoke consumers’ affections for the brand with celebrities’ qualities. To begin with, this essay discusses the positive effects of celebrity endorsement on brand affinity in terms of reassuring consumers of the product qualities and differentiating a brand from its competitors, using Nike-Golf and Canon case studies. Then, the essay discusses hazardous effects towards brand affinity when using celebrity endorsement with reference to the Tiger Woods’ infidelity and David Beckham multiple images case studies. These effects include celebrities’ images changing and loss of public recognition, and public controversy. Finally, there is a discussion and an emphasis on the celebrity endorsement’s rewards that lead to the higher level of brand affinity. In this essay, the term celebrity is defined as ‘people who enjoy public recognition and who often have distinctive attributes such as attractiveness and trustworthiness’ (McCracken, 1989; Silvera and Austad, 2004 cited in Kumar, 2010, p.5). As Schlecht (2003, p.3) states ‘…Celebrities generally differ from the social norm and enjoy a high degree of public awareness’. There could be eight classical forms of celebrity which include actors (e.g. Pierce Brosnan, Angelina Jolie Pritt), models (e.g. Naomi Campbell, Gisele Buendchen), sports athletes (e.g. Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova, David Beckham), entertainers (e.g. Oprah Winfrey), singers (e.g. Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Jenifer Lopez, Black Eyed Peas), businesspeople (e.g. Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs), politicians (e.g. Barak Obama), and high-society people (e.g. Prince William, Victoria Beckham) (Schlecht, 2003, p.3-4). Commonly, the brands have the distinct images and personalities that attract the consumers. The intense favorable emotional connection between consumers and the brands is taken to mean ‘brand affinity’ in this essay. The brand affinity is not usually logical, but it is powerful. It encourages consumers to view a brand as the representative of a personal aspect of their persona (DeGabrielle, 2011). To illustrate, ACNielsen (2006) states that Armani is a brand that stands for well-understood attributes as high quality, sophistication and style – timeless values with global appeal. Consumers tend to buy Armani because they would like to be part of that shared identity. DeGabrielle (2011) suggests that ‘…[Consumers] perceive the brand as representing their values – or believe being associated with these brands makes them more “cool”…’. For Armani, the utilization of David and Victoria Beckham- who are suggested to have a glamorous lifestyle- in Emporio Armani underwear could be an example of endorsing the brand stylish and sophisticated images affect consumers by celebrities. It has been believed that celebrity endorsement could be a marketing communication tool that helps strengthen brand affinity to the brands. The meaning movement from celebrities’ qualities towards...
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