Examining the Effectiveness of Athlete Celebrity endorser characteristics and Product Brand type: the endorser Sexpertise continuum
Christina S. Simmers, Datha Damron-Martinez, & Diana L. Haytko
keyWordS: Sport marketing, brand management, celebrity endorser, sponsorship, product endorsement, celebrity athlete, athlete spokesperson, source credibility, source attractiveness
ABStrAct This research furthers the theoretical perspectives that athlete endorsers are brands unto themselves, and that athlete-endorser effectiveness is determined by congruent pairings of the athlete-endorser brand and the product brand by introducing the Endorser Sexpertise Continuum. This model categorizes athlete celebrity endorsers on the Endorser Sexpertise Continuum with anchor points referred to as “acquirable expertise” and “likeability.” As in successful brand alliances, this model suggests the types of products/brands the athlete celebrities would be most successful in endorsing, depending on their positioning on the continuum. Simmers, C. S., Damron-Martinez, D., & Haytko, D. L. (2009). Examining the effectiveness of athlete celebrity endorser characteristics and product brand type: The Endorser Sexpertise Continuum. Journal of Sport Administration & Supervision 1(1), 52-64. doi:10.3883/v1i1_simmers; published online April, 2009.
Dr. Christina S. Simmers is an assistant professor of marketing at Missouri State University in Springfield,
an MBA from Nicholls State University and a PhD in marketing from Louisiana State University. Her research interests include advertising issues, consumer information processing, consumer behavior and brand alliances. Dr. Datha Damron-Martinez is an assistant professor of marketing at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. She holds an MBA, an MA in Economics, and a PhD in Business Administration/Marketing from New Mexico State University. Her research interests include script use in relationship selling, sexual harassment issues in the sales environment, and unhealthy consumption patterns in the Hispanic community. Dr. Diana l. Haytko is an associate professor of marketing at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. She holds an MBA and PhD in marketing from the University of WisconsinMadison. Her research interests include consumer response to advertising, advertising relationship management and cross cultural consumer behavior.
introduction Forbes reported that the 10 richest male and female athletes made a combined $600 million in salary, prize money and endorsements, including men’s professional golfer Tiger Woods who alone earned nearly $100 million in sponsorships in 2008 (Badenhausen, 2008; Thomaselli, 2008). Interestingly, many top athlete endorsers make considerably more money as endorsers than as athletes in their chosen sport. For example from June 2007 to June 2008, female professional golfer Michelle Wie earned $12 million in endorsement money but only $39,000 in prize money. Similarly, former professional basketball player Michael Jordan made $45 million in endorsements, despite not having participated in his sport for many years (Badenhausen, 2008). Some athletes endorse a multitude of products (e.g., National Football League quarterback Peyton Manning, Woods, and female racecar driver Danica Patrick), while others limit themselves
to products associated with their sport (e.g., women’s professional basketball player Candace Parker) (Janoff, 2008). Recently, many have speculated the value of athlete endorsers to a brand’s image, particularly given the negative publicity surrounding such incidents as (among others) the marijuana incident of men’s Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and the steroid scandal surrounding Major League Baseball player Alex Rodriguez. These factors beg questions as to whether, and if so, under what circumstances, athlete endorsers become effective in brand marketing. Why are some celebrities only able to...
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