Kenneth R. Lord and Sanjay Putrevu
Using three studies, this research examines the relationship between dimensions of celebrity endorser credibility (attractiveness, expertise, trustworthiness) and consumer motivation (informational and transformational). Studies 1 and 2 reveal celebrity expertise and trustworthiness are the primary determinants of informational processing, while attractiveness is the principal variable driving transformational processing.
The third study finds that teenage consumers, though affected by informational and transformational motivations, are less likely than adults to discriminate between attractiveness, trustworthiness, and expertise, forming their judgments instead on the basis of a unidimensional perception of celebrity credibility.
A focus on spokespersons is hardly new; indeed, researchers have suggested that even ancient Greek philosophers studied the qualities of effective public speakers (Giffin 1967). However, the past two decades have seen a dramatic increase in the number and size of celebrity endorsement contracts. Examples include multi-year deals worth tens of millions of dollars offered to both female (Williams sisters, Maria
Sharapova, Michelle Wie) and male (David Beckham,
LeBron James, Tiger Woods) celebrities. A few years ago, Nike negotiated a multi-year $100 million contract with basketball star LeBron James, inked before he had played a single game beyond the high-school level (Withers 2003). More recent reports suggest that each year David Beckham earns over $40 million and
Tiger Woods takes in over $110 million in endorsement income (Scott 2007). Even as the economy sagged
Kenneth R. Lord (Ph.D., The Ohio State University) is Professor,
Department of Management and Marketing, and Associate Dean at the Kania School of Management, The University of Scranton.
Sanjay Putrevu (Ph.D., University at Buffalo, State
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