2.1 Background of the Study
According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promoting and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individuals and organizational objectives. Thus, for companies and organizations to achieve their objectives, it is of essence that the marketing tools of product, price, promotion and place are very much coordinated. Not forgetting the extended marketing mix of people, process, and physical evidence in the case of service delivery. Companies should also take into consideration generic consumer expectations such as quality and timely delivery of goods and services. The promotional tools of advertising, public relations, personal selling, direct marketing and sales promotions can all be used to affect consumer behavior. However, the most common used is advertising. Advertising is defined as the use of paid mass media, by an identified sponsor, to deliver communications to target audiences.(David Pickton, Amanda Broderick) Advertising further has the three main objectives of informing, persuading and reminding customers about the existence or otherwise of products and services. Through this promotional effort, potential customers are first informed of the availability, nature and other features of products. Once these customers have been informed, there is the need for the marketer to persuade them to purchase the products or services. This is done through the communicating the key and unique features the product has in relation to competition. Afterwards, marketers remind actual and potential customers of the products through various means such as the radio, newspapers and billboards. Notwithstanding the above, marketing oriented companies use various marketing and competitive tactics and strategies to owe customers and outwit competitors. One of the ways is the use of celebrities to endorse their products and services. McCracken (1989) has called the use of celebrity endorsement advertising as “a ubiquitous feature of modern marketing”.
Erdogan and Kitchen (1998) provide a cogent summary of the reasons for the growth of celebrity endorsers in marketing communications. These include: • qualities such as physical attraction, sex appeal and likeability which can be transferred to the products being endorsed. • “cutting through the advertising clutter” – celebrities can attract and maintain attention by their mere presence. • helping brand makeovers, brand re-launches, brand re-positioning especially when a new or enhanced athletic image is required. No matter the advantages, celebrity endorsements, like any other concept also have disadvantages. The reputation of the brand may derogate if the celebrity has been caught with doing something that goes contrary to normal social norms like drug abuse or infidelity. Indeed, the popularity of the celebrity may reduce due to some lapses in professional performance.
MTN has coverage in all the 10 regions of Ghana; and is the nation’s largest mobile telecommunications service provider with a market share of 50.61% and total subscriber base of 8,656,275 as at May 2010 (www.nca.com.gh). With its vision to be the leading telecommunication service provider in emerging markets, MTN periodically rolls out products and services that meets the needs and wants of customers based on the value of innovation. The other values of MTN include, leadership, relationship, Can-do spirit and integrity. Its mission however is building shareholders’ value by ensuring maximum customer satisfaction through providing latest telecommunication services, at the most economical rates while meeting its social responsibilities as a good corporate citizen and providing growth prospects for its employees. Some products and services offered by MTN include, Pay As You Go, Mobile Money...