How effective are Celebrity Endorsements
Ever since the start of commercial radio in the 20’s and the since the first silver screen entered the market, broadcasting messages by celebrities has been a tool employed to endorse products.”Just about every star was associated with one sponsor’s product he or she plugged.”(1). Over the years celebrity endorsement became an essential part of marketing (more than 25% of television ads feature celebrities)(5), for the endorser it became an easy way of generating an income while for the endorsing company it became a guaranteed way to reach a wide segment of potential clients. With the cost of celebrity endorsement deals reaching astronomical highs, one has to address the effectiveness of such expenditures on a company’s marketing plan and whether the economic result justifies the high cost associated with it. A better understanding to the aspects of celebrity endorsement is imperative in analyzing its worthiness; it starts with the nature of the endorser and with a main question of “who is a celebrity endorser?” A celebrity endorser is defined as “an individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement” (2). It is not the just the TV or movie stars, it encompasses people from the world of sports, politics and business among other fields. The role also varies from endorsing a product in an explicit mode as in “I endorse”, implicit mode as in “I use”, imperative mode as in “we should use” ,co-present mode in which a celebrity appears with the product and the cases where the endorser is an expert in the range of the product manufacturing or usage. No matter what role the celebrity takes “to persuade the target audience and push them towards purchase”(3) is the key factor in the success of the campaign. Various psychological researches produced two main models that endorsers fall into the credibility model (4) and the source attractiveness model (4). The Credibility model ties the success of the endorser by how trustworthy and how much knowledge and expertise he portrays to the viewer while the source attractiveness model relates the success of an endorser by his or her physical appearance behavior and how much can the viewer relate to him or her. Few variations to the two main models exist however one role stays consistent with any model we explore and that is the persuasive role that the celebrity has to play. In addition to the different models a celebrity endorser might fit into a cultural categorization applies when identifying endorsers as well. Observing various different endorsements ads it becomes evident that certain celebrities represents certain classes in society and are meant to target that class. Celebrities targeting upper class audience are different than the ones targeting middle class and lower class, while celebrities targeting one gender or one age group are different than the other. The same differentiation applies to lifestyles, demographics and behaviors if the targeted market. It becomes evident that choosing a successful endorser requires careful attention to be paid to the target audience and to the endorser to ensure compatibility. This compatibility becomes the base of a successful endorsement campaign. Consumers have become aware and accustomed to a marketers approach, they understand the intentions of a marketer and subconsciously raise a wall to block his attempt at reaching them, and it’s a natural defense mechanism that a person uses when feeling pressured to purchase or associates the attempts of a marketer to pervious experiences. And while the average consumer is learning to block marketers, fascination with movie stars and celebrities has always increased and reached all time highs with the introduction of reality TV. Now potential consumers are interested and have access to every minor detail in a celebrity’s life for the most part, this fascination opens the...
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