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Carsten Erfgen Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Brand Image: A Communication Process Perspective on 30 Years of Empirical Research Research Papers on Marketing and Retailing University of Hamburg Tor zur Welt der Wissenschaft

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Carsten Erfgen

Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Brand Image: A Communication Process Perspective on 30 Years of Empirical Research

Research Papers on Marketing and Retailing University of Hamburg

Tor zur Welt der Wissenschaft

Institute of Marketing and Media Marketing and Branding Head of the Institute Prof. Dr. Henrik Sattler

No. 40

Carsten Erfgen*

Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Brand Image: A Communication Process Perspective on 30 Years of Empirical Research

July 2011 ISSN 1618-8985


Dipl.-Kfm. Carsten Erfgen, Institute of Marketing and Media, University of Hamburg, Welckerstrae 8, 20354 Hamburg; Email: [email protected]; Tel.: +49(0)40 42838 8717; Fax: +49(0)40 42838 8715

Universitt Hamburg Tor zur W elt der W issenschaft

W elckerstrae 8 20 354 Hamburg

Abstract Celebrity endorsement advertising aims to achieve a favourable impact on brand image. By adopting a communication process perspective, this review is the first to identify 24 brand image drivers related to (1) celebrity, (2) message, (3) advertising channel, and (4) recipient characteristics through a systematic analysis of 36 empirical studies. Specifically, credibility and high image-based congruence are the most important celebrity characteristics. The use of twosided appeals, high arousal and low involvement also seem beneficial. This review derives specific success factors to support practitioners, and it provides a basis for guiding further research beyond the mere celebrity selection decision.



Advertising that uses celebrity endorsers enjoys high popularity among brand managers (e.g., Amos et al., 2008). Each year, companies spend vast amounts of money to convince celebrities to endorse their products and brands (e.g., Jaiprakash, 2008; Klaus and Bailey, 2008; Lee and Thorson, 2008); for instance, Nike spent about $339 million on endorsements and their dissemination in advertising campaigns in 2004 (Thomaselli, 2004). In the United States, approximately 25% of all televised commercials feature celebrities (Erdogan et al., 2001); in Germany, approximately 12% of all advertising campaigns employ these endorsers (Ipsos Response, 2008). This communication strategy benefits from the widespread belief that celebrities positively influence the image of the advertised brands, such that a key outcome is a favourable effect on brand image (e.g., Erdogan et al., 2001; TNS Sport, 2005). Strong, unique, and favourable brand associations help companies differentiate their products from those of competitors and thus support a competitive advantage (Aaker, 1991; Krishnan, 1996). As a brand value driver, brand image also establishes an important foundation for a brands monetary value (Keller, 1993). Two prior narrative reviews (Erdogan, 1999; Kaikati, 1987) and one meta-analysis (Amos et al., 2008) have attempted to summarise celebrity endorsement literature, yet no systematic investigation reveals success factors for brand image effects. That is, in these reviews the contribution of celebrity endorsers to brand image has not been examined explicitly or separately from other measures of advertising effectiveness, such as attention, recall, or purchase intention. Furthermore, existing reviews are limited to literature pertaining to the selection of celebrity endorsers, including source effects such as credibility, attractiveness, fit or negative information. Erdogans (1999, p. 291) review, for example, seeks to explore variables, which may be considered in any celebrity selection process by drawing together strands from various literature.Page 1

However, selection is only one facet of the development and execution of a celebrity campaign, and existing reviews cover only part of the body of extant research pertaining to celebrity endorsements. This study is the first to integrate literature from the broader field of celebrity endorsement literature. By adopting a communication process perspective, this research can derive implications regarding the characteristics of the (1) celebrity (e.g., perceived personal attributes), (2) message (e.g., arguments used in the advertising copy), (3) advertising channel and (4) recipient (e.g., personality traits that influence advertising receptiveness). A systematic review of 36 studies identifies 24 drivers of brand image in prior literature. Furthermore, by arranging prior literature around distinct elements of the communication process, this review provides insights into which success factors have received strong empirical support and which have generated equivocal findings. Managers who hope to improve their brands image can benefit from these insights regarding the entire development and execution of an endorsement campaign, rather than just the selection decision. Finally, this study identifies gaps in current research pertaining to celebrity endorsement and concludes by delineating directions for further research.

2 2.1

Theoretical background Celebrity endorsement and brand image

A celebrity endorser is any individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement (McCracken, 1989, p. 310). This definition explicitly encompasses celebrities who appear to have expertise or a long-term association with the manufacturer, but it excludes typical customer endorsements featuring noncelebrities. Because celebrities appear to be gaining increasing influence in society (Choi and Berger, 2010), marketing managers try to exploit the process of meaning transfer from an endorser to products or brands involved (McCracken, 1986, 1989). Associative learning theory details that celebrity endorsements influence brand image through a transfer of meaning from the endorser to the brand (Till, 1998). Communication activities establish a pattern of connectivity between the image of the celebrity and the image of the brand. Both entities represent nodes in a cognitive network, whose connectivity can be modified according to experience. An image transfer occurs when an advertisement can establish contingency between the two entities (Till, 1998; Till et al., 2008).

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Managers pursue such connectivity with the goal of obtaining a favourable brand image outcome (TNS Sport, 2005). Brand image encompasses all perceptions of a brand, stored as brand associations in consumer memory (Keller, 1993). Its importance mainly reflects its ability to provoke unique perceptions of the brand in competitive settings (Aaker, 1996; Kamins et al., 1989). It also constitutes a meaningful brand value driver and thus influences the formation of brand equity (Faircloth et al., 2001). Keller (1993) distinguishes among attitudes, attributes and benefits as types of brand associations, and Barich and Kotler (1991) regard brand attitude, belief and impression as ingredients of brand image. Both perspectives imply that improved attitudes toward the brand favourably influence brand image. In line with this argument, this review does not distinguish attitudes from image but instead adopts a holistic view of the impact of celebrity endorsements.


Celebrity endorsement from a communication process perspective

Communication, including marketing communication that employs celebrity endorsers, can be characterised as a process in which the sender conveys stimuli to influence the behaviour of others (Hovland et al., 1953). Lasswells (1948) classical framework of persuasive communication differentiates the elements of the communication process according to his wellknown formula: who says what in which channel to whom. The first element, who, refers to the message source or sender (Ajzen, 1992; Hovland et al., 1953). Message sources can be impersonal (e.g., advertisements), interpersonal (e.g., friends, colleagues) or experiential (Keaveney and Parthasarathy, 2001). In an endorsement context, the celebrity is an impersonal message source, so his or her characteristics, including perceived personal attributes like attractiveness or credibility, may determine endorsement success in terms of the favourable brand image outcome. The second, says what element pertains to the message content itself, as conveyed in the communication process. Message characteristics relate to the execution and arrangement of the celebrity endorsements communication. For example, marketing decisions involve the degree of endorsement strength and one- versus two-sided appeals (i.e., only positive arguments about a product or claiming positive aspects on important determinants while simultaneously conceding minor negative aspects) (Kamins, 1989). The third element, in which channel, refers to the means the sender and receiver use to communicate. The channel bridges any distance between senders and recipients of the messagePage 3

(Ajzen, 1992); celebrity endorsement advertising usually employs mass media. The advertising channel characteristics, or properties of the media vehicles in which celebrity-endorsed advertising appears, could strengthen or weaken its effectiveness. Finally, the to whom element pertains to the audience or recipient of a message (Hovland et al., 1953). In an endorsement context, recipients differ in their degree of susceptibility to celebrityendorsed advertising. Therefore, recipient characteristics (e.g., individual personality traits, gender, and age) should influence the campaign with regard to the target audience that has the highest probability of providing a favourable brand image result.


Literature search

To determine the state of the art of research from a communication process perspective, a literature search identified studies in the relevant domain. The included sources were empirical studies published in scientific journals that provided major implications regarding the use of celebrities as endorsers; studies that primarily focused on different types of (noncelebrity) endorsers (e.g., experts, endorsers with long-term associations with the manufacturer) were excluded. The systematic investigation encompassed the following journals: Advances in Consumer Research, European Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Advertising, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and Psychology and Marketing. Moreover, electronic databases (e.g., Business Source Complete) also were consulted. A search of the references for each identified study added a few other relevant sources. This approach follows extant recommendations (Hunter and Schmidt, 2004; Rosenthal, 1994) and produced 36 studies related to the impact of celebrity endorsers on brand image, as summarised in Table 1 (which also includes the dependent measures that represent brand image variables).

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Table 1 Overview of Reviewed Studies and Dependent Variables Dependent variable Source Attitude toward the Bailey (2007) manufacturer Brand affect Misra and Beatty (1990); Till et al. (2008) Brand attitude Batra and Homer (2004); Cronley et al. (1999); Edwards and La Ferle (2009); Eisend and Langner (2010); Goldsmith et al. (2000); Kahle and Homer (1985); Kamins (1989); Kamins and Gupta (1994); Kirmani and Shiv (1998); Koernig and Boyd (2009); La Ferle and Choi (2005); Lafferty and Goldsmith (1999); Lafferty et al. (2002); Lee and Thorson (2008); Martin et al. (2008); Petty et al. (1983); Priester and Petty (2003); Ranjbarian et al. (2010); Saleem (2007, 2008); Sanbonmatsu and Kardes (1988); Sengupta et al. (1997); Siemens et al. (2008); Silvera and Austad (2004); Till and Shimp (1998); Till et al. (2008); Um (2008); Van der Waldt et al. (2007) Brand attitude (affective) Eisend and Langner (2010); Tripp et al. (1994) Brand image beliefs Batra and Homer (2004); Kirmani and Shiv (1998) Expectancy-value brand attitude Kamins (1989, 1990); Kamins and Gupta (1994) Opinion of the product Freiden (1982); Mowen and Brown (1981) Overall quality of service Kamins et al. (1989) Product image Atkin and Block (1983)


Literature review

The 36 identified studies contained 24 brand image drivers, which can be condensed into 10 success factors that underlie the impact of celebrity endorsements on brand image. These success factors also can be arranged according to the four elements of the communication process, as the following sections outline. Table 2 provides an overview of the results and reveals the focal and interaction effects. 4.1 Celebrity characteristics

4.1.1 Perceived personal attributes. The roles of likeability, physical attractiveness, trustworthiness, expertise and credibility have been discussed widely in the celebrity endorsement domain. Likeability indicates affection toward a celebrity as a result of his or her physical appearance and behaviour (McCracken, 1989). McGuire (1985) assumes that higher likeability is associated with greater effectiveness in terms of message persuasiveness. Kahle and Homer (1985) find no difference between a highly likeable and less likeable celebrity in brand image effects, but they reveal a significant interaction between likeability and involvement, suchPage 5

Table 2 Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Brand Image Results of the Literature Analysis Success factor Brand image driver Source Focal effect Celebrity characteristics Perceived personal Likeability Kahle and Homer (1985) o attributes Ranjbarian et al. (2010) + Physical Kahle and Homer (1985) + attractiveness Kamins (1990) o Silvera and Austad (2004) Eisend and Langner (2010) Priester and Petty (2003) Siemens et al. (2008) Eisend and Langner (2010) Lafferty and Goldsmith (1999) Goldsmith et al. (2000) Lafferty et al. (2002) La Ferle and Choi (2005) Silvera and Austad (2004) Kamins (1990) Lee and Thorson (2008) Lee and Thorson (2008) Till et al. (2008) Koernig and Boyd (2009) o + + + o + + + + ? o o o + o


+ under low involvement, n.s. implicitly tested: + for product domain in which attractiveness is relevant + for product domain in which attractiveness is relevant, n.s. + for product domain in which attractiveness is relevant + for weak product-related argument strength + in the long term + for highly attractive endorsers + for high corporate credibility, n.s.

Trustworthiness Expertise


Congruence with the brand

Similarity celebrity/recipient Attractivenessbased Expertise-based

+ under high involvement (?) + under high involvement, n.s.

(Table 2 continues)

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(Table 2 continued) Success factor

Brand image driver Image-based

Source Misra and Beatty (1990) Kamins and Gupta (1994) Sengupta et al. (1997) Kirmani and Shiv (1998) Batra and Homer (2004) Till and Shimp (1998) Bailey (2007) Edwards and La Ferle (2009)

Focal effect + + n.a. o ? o o o o o o n.a. o o o o o


+ in the long term under low involvement + under high involvement - if celebrity is evaluated before brand, n.s. - more pronounced for women than men, n.s.

External information

Negative information

Information about remuneration Multiple endorsements Multiple brand endorsement

Cronley et al. (1999) Van der Waldt et al. (2007) Mowen and Brown (1981) Tripp et al. (1994) Um (2008) Mowen and Brown (1981) Saleem (2007) Um (2008) Petty et al. (1983) Sanbonmatsu and Kardes (1988) Sengupta et al. (1997) Martin et al. (2008)

interaction with social status of advertised product, n.s.

Multiple celebrity endorsement Message characteristics Arguments Product-related argument strength

+ for low involvement product category

Interaction with susceptibility to normative influence, n.s. (Table 2 continues)

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(Table 2 continued) Success factor

Brand image driver Endorsement strength Two-sided appeals

Source Cronley et al. (1999) Martin et al. (2008) Kamins (1989) Kamins et al. (1989) Tripp et al. (1994)

Focal effect o + + + o


Interaction with susceptibility to normative influence, n.s.


Number of exposures to the celebrity Advertising channel characteristics Advertising medium Prestige of the media vehicle Recipient characteristics Demographics Gender: women vs. Men

Interaction with number of brands endorsed simultaneously (i.e., intensity of multiple brand endorsement), n.s.

Freiden (1982)


Kahle and Homer (1985) Silvera and Austad (2004) Saleem (2008)

n.a. o n.a.

+ for women under low involvement interaction with single vs. multiple celebrity endorsement

Age: younger vs. Atkin and Block (1983) + Older Saleem (2008) o Personality traits Consumer Bailey (2007) interaction with valence of information scepticism about the celebrity Susceptibility to Martin et al. (2008) o normative influence Elaboration Arousal Sanbonmatsu and Kardes (1988) + likelihood Involvement Petty et al. (1983) Note. + = positive influence; - = negative influence; o and n.s. = no significant influence; ? = ambiguous findings; n.a. = not analysed.

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that it enhances brand image in low involvement conditions. Ranjbarian et al. (2010) report a positive brand image effect of likeability in terms of attitude towards the celebrity. Social psychology research generally shows that physically attractive persons are more successful in changing beliefs than unattractive people (Chaiken, 1979). For celebrity endorsement though, the empirical results mainly reveal that the attractiveness of a celebrity endorser benefits the brand image only if attractiveness is relevant for the pertinent product category. Kahle and Homer (1985) find that a highly attractive celebrity generates a significantly more positive brand image than does a less attractive celebrity, though they research only one product category (i.e., disposable razors), and their results might reflect the good fit between attractiveness and this product category. That is, razors serve to enhance physical attractiveness, so a highly attractive endorser could have more positive effects on brand image. In line with this argument, Silvera and Austad (2004) reveal that physical attractiveness associated with a product category positively influences brand image but physical attractiveness unrelated to the product category does not. Kamins (1990) neither observes a main effect of attractiveness nor finds a significant interaction between attractiveness and product category, though his results are directionally supportive of the assumption that attractiveness associated with the product category enhances brand image. Eisend and Langner (2010) distinguish between immediate and delayed effects of attractiveness on brand image and find a positive impact of high attractiveness for both conditions. Trustworthiness and expertise both represent subdimensions of the more general credibility construct. Trustworthiness refers to the perceived willingness to make valid assertions; expertise entails the ability to make valid assertions (Hovland et al., 1953; Sternthal et al., 1978). For celebrity endorsements, the empirical results indicate strong evidence of a key influence of credibility and its subdimensions on brand image. Priester and Petty (2003) find a positive impact of trustworthiness, as well as an interaction of trustworthiness with product-related argument strength. When weak product-related arguments mark the advertising copy, the influence of trustworthiness is more pronounced than it is for strong product-related arguments. Siemens et al. (2008) confirm the positive impact of expertise, whose impact on brand image is fully mediated by perceptions of endorser credibility. Eisend and Langner (2010) report no immediate but only a delayed positive effect of expertise on brand image. In addition, expertise interacts with attractiveness so that the favourable impact of high expertise increases with higher levels of attractiveness. At the more general celebrity credibility level, several studies find evidence of a positive influence on brand image (Goldsmith et al., 2000; La Ferle and Choi, 2005; Lafferty andPage 9

Goldsmith, 1999; Lafferty et al., 2002). Lafferty and Goldsmiths (1999) assumption of a more pronounced effect of celebrity credibility when corporate credibility is high receives no support though. Social learning theory (Bandura, 1977) can help explain why perceived similarity between the celebrity and recipient facilitates brand image effects. That is, consumers may infer from their perceived similarity with the celebrity whether they can expect gratification from adopting attitudes or following the celebritys recommendation. However, Silvera and Austads (2004) empirical results regarding the impact of this perceived similarity are equivocal. Only in one of their two experiments do they find a positive and significant correlation between similarity and brand image. 4.1.2 Congruence with the brand. At a general level, congruence describes a match between the endorser and the brand (Misra and Beatty, 1990). Arguments based in schema theory frequently indicate that congruence constitutes a prerequisite for the effectiveness of a celebrity endorsement. When an object seems to have high schema congruence, it should receive favourable evaluations, in line with a transfer of affect (Wansink and Ray, 1996). However, an analysis of research on congruence in the celebrity endorsement domain reveals that the notion has been conceptualised differently across studies. To structure this extant body of research, this review classifies the concept of congruence into (1) attractiveness-based (e.g., matching a physically attractive celebrity with a beauty-related brand), (2) expertise-based (e.g., matching an athlete with a sports-related brand) and (3) image-based (e.g., matching highly accessible celebrity associations with highly accessible brand associations) congruence. For attractiveness-based congruence, Kamins (1990) and Lee and Thorson (2008) find no empirical support for a positive effect on brand image. Nor do their results support the assumption of an inverse U-shaped relationship between the level of congruence and brand image; that is, mild incongruence does not outperform high and low congruence. In one of their data sets, a significant attractiveness-based congruence by involvement interaction emerges and implies that when involvement is high, the positive effect of congruence is more pronounced (Lee and Thorson, 2008). For expertise-based congruence, Till et al. (2008) find empirical support for a positive effect on brand image, but neither Lee and Thorson (2008) nor Koernig and Boyd (2009) can discern a significant impact. Therefore, the contribution of expertise-based congruence to brand image remains equivocal.Page 10

Finally, regarding image-based congruence, existing literature reveals a more conclusive picture. Misra and Beatty (1990) and Kamins and Gupta (1994) find a positive effect of image-based congruence on brand image. Even though Kirmani and Shiv (1998) do not confirm a direct effect, they find a positive influence of image-based congruence in conditions of high involvement. Sengupta et al. (1997) investigate the robustness of brand image enhancements induced by celebrity endorsements over a longer period of time. They thus empirically reveal a stable, positive, long-term effect on brand image when image-based congruence is high and involvement is low. Batra and Homer (2004) also investigate whether celebrities with highly accessible associations can reinforce equivalent brand image beliefs; their results confirm the positive impact of image-based congruence. However, they find a significant increase on the respective brand image beliefs only in one of the two cases they consider. 4.1.3 External information. Negative information or information about remuneration constitute types of external information that affect perceptions of the celebrity. Negative information includes harmful news about a celebrity, which may become public during or after an advertising campaign. After an associative link has been established between a brand and its endorser, negative press about the celebrity may directly harm the image of the brand. Bailey (2007) and Edwards and La Ferle (2009) find significant negative effects on brand image when they present respondents with a cover story about a celebrity endorser being arrested for domestic violence and child abuse, respectively. Till and Shimp (1998) find no significant impact of negative information on brand image, but their cover story, about a cyclist using steroids, clearly was weaker concerning negativity. Information about a high endorsement fee paid to the celebrity also could influence consumers attribution about whether the celebrity actually likes the endorsed product or provides the endorsement only for financial reasons. However, in two studies (Cronley et al., 1999; Van der Waldt et al., 2007), no significant differences emerge between a scenario in which they provide information about a high endorsement fee versus a scenario in which the endorser received no fee. 4.1.4 Multiple endorsements. Multiple endorsements refer to two cases: one celebrity endorses multiple brands at a time (i.e., multiple brand endorsement) or one brand is endorsed by multiple celebrities at a time (i.e., multiple celebrity endorsement). According to attribution theory (Kelley, 1973), a simultaneous multiple brand endorsement might elicit trait inferences about the selfish reasons for a celebritys advocacy (e.g., greed), which should have a negative impact onPage 11

the image of all the endorsed brands. However, only Mowen and Brown (1981) find empirical support for the negative effect. The anticipated interaction with the social status of the simultaneously advertised products was not significant. Tripp et al. (1994) and Um (2008) do not find significant differences in brand image between single and multiple brand endorsement situations. Attribution theory (Kelley, 1973) also implies that multiple celebrity endorsements may evoke a more favourable brand image. That is, the consensus indicated by multiple endorsers might suggest that their advocacy of a brand is due to the nature of the brand, not situational factors (i.e., endorsement fee). Mowen and Brown (1981) and Um (2008) find no such influence on brand image, but Saleem (2007) finds limited support for a positive effect of multiple celebrity endorsement in a low (but not high) involvement product category. 4.2 Message characteristics

4.2.1 Arguments. During the process of planning a celebrity endorsement campaign, the design of the advertising demands consideration as well. If a company decides to use supporting arguments, in addition to depicting the celebrity and the brand, it must determine the degree of product-related argument strength, degree of endorsement strength, and whether to use one- or two-sided appeals. Strong product-related arguments provide high persuasive potency compared with weak product-related arguments (e.g., outperforms all other brands in performance versus in an attractive new colour). However, various studies find no empirical evidence of an impact of argument strength on brand image (Martin et al., 2008; Petty et al., 1983; Sanbonmatsu and Kardes, 1988; Sengupta et al., 1997). Endorsement strength refers to the amount of emphasis the celebrity places on his or her advocacy for a brand (e.g., employing an emphatic tone, repeating the name numerous times). Empirical findings in this regard are equivocal: Cronley et al. (1999) cannot confirm an impact on brand image, but Martin et al. (2008) suggest a positive influence of endorsement strength. Two-sided appeals acknowledge that the advertised product performs well on important characteristics but contains minor weaknesses on less important characteristics. One-sided appeals exclusively focus on positive aspects (Kamins and Assael, 1987). According to attribution theory (Kelley, 1973), the effectiveness of two-sided appeals stems from the greater probability of internal attributions for the celebritys reason to endorse (i.e., the celebrity actually recommends the product instead of endorsing it for the money). Two studies that empirically

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researched this topic consistently report positive effects on brand image for two-sided compared with one-sided appeals (Kamins, 1989; Kamins et al., 1989). 4.2.2 Number of exposures to the celebrity. The mere exposure effect suggests that repeated contact with a stimulus leads to greater affect toward that stimulus (Zajonc, 1968). This effect is a relatively robust and reliable phenomenon in advertising research (see the meta-analysis by Bornstein, 1989). Enhanced affect toward a celebrity endorser due to repeated exposure may transfer to the advertised brand, yet Tripp et al. (1994) find no significant effect of the number of repeated exposures to a celebrity. They also anticipate an interaction between the number of exposures to a celebrity and the number of brands he or she endorses simultaneously (i.e., intensity of multiple brand endorsement), but their investigation reveals no support for their assumption. 4.3 Advertising channel characteristics

Research that considers advertising channel characteristics as a possible intervening variable for celebrity endorsement success is scant: Only Freiden (1982) investigates the placement of celebrity endorsement advertising with regard to the prestige of the media vehicle. Specifically, Freiden analyses whether placing a celebrity-endorsed advertisement in a high versus low prestige magazine would yield differences in terms of brand image. However, the study could not confirm any effect. 4.4 Recipient characteristics

4.4.1 Demographics. Several studies have investigated the characteristics of the recipients, which may promote or impede the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements on brand image. Kahle and Homer (1985) report an interaction effect of gender and involvement, such that a celebrity endorser yields a more favourable outcome for women who are less involved. Saleem (2008) also finds an interaction effect of gender and single versus multiple celebrity endorsement. That is, male participants react more positively to a single celebrity endorsement than female participants, but there is no significant difference between men and women with regard to brand image in a multiple celebrity endorsement. Silvera and Austad (2004) observe no empirical evidence for a gender impact. Age serves as the possible intervening variable in Atkin and Blocks (1983) study. They empirically reveal a significantly higher susceptibility to celebrity endorsements for younger participants (i.e., 1317 years) compared with older participants (i.e., older than 17 years).

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Saleem (2008) does not observe empirical evidence of an impact of age, for either single or multiple celebrity endorsements. 4.4.2 Personality traits. Recipients with different personality traits likely respond in different ways to the messages they receive (Ajzen, 1992). In a celebrity endorsement context, prior research considers the influences of consumer scepticism and susceptibility to normative influence. Consumer scepticism is the individual degree of negatively valenced attitude toward the motives of advertisers. Therefore, recipients with higher degrees of scepticism are more likely to believe that the intent of advertising messages is to manipulate them and not necessarily tell the truth (Obermiller and Spangenberg, 1998). For celebrity endorsements, Bailey (2007) observes a significantly more positive brand image among recipients with less consumer scepticism exposed to an advertisement containing a celebrity than for more sceptical recipients. Consumer scepticism also interacts significantly with the valence of information about the celebrity (i.e., positive, neutral or negative). For neutral and positively valenced information about the celebrity, people with less consumer scepticism respond more favourably to the celebrity endorsement in terms of brand image than sceptics. For negatively valenced information about the celebrity however, brand image does not significantly differ depending on the degree of consumer scepticism (Bailey, 2007). Susceptibility to normative influence (SNI) refers to sensitivity to social influences and the need to conform to the expectations of others (Burnkrant and Cousineau, 1975). People with a higher degree of SNI experience a greater desire to be well-respected and need a stronger sense of belonging (Batra et al., 2001). Because celebrities represent opinion leaders for some consumers (Rogers and Cartano, 1962), SNI should influence the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements in terms of brand image enhancement. However, Martin et al. (2008) find no empirical evidence for such an impact of SNI. 4.4.3 Elaboration likelihood. Both arousal and involvement influence a persons likelihood of elaborating on an advertising stimulus. In the context of the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) of persuasion (Petty and Cacioppo, 1981, 1983, 1986), arousal constitutes a determinant of consumers ability to elaborate on a message; it also relates to the degree of psychological activation or alertness, which stimulates consumers to action (Humphreys and Revelle, 1984). If available resources for cognitive elaboration are limited (e.g., in states of high physiological arousal), people focus on simple or less complex information that demands less cognitive processing (Sanbonmatsu and Kardes, 1988). Consequently, with high arousal, peripheral cuesPage 14

such as celebrity endorsers should exert a more pronounced influence on attitude formation. Sanbonmatsu and Kardes (1988) find a marginally significant effect. In conditions of high arousal, the celebrity endorser is significantly more effective in terms of brand image than is a noncelebrity, but this effect does not hold in conditions of low arousal. Finally, message involvement relates to the degree of perceived personal relevance and consequences (Engel and Blackwell, 1982). In the context of the ELM for persuasion, involvement helps determine consumers motivation to elaborate on a message; when they are less involved, peripheral cues exert a more pronounced influence on attitude formation. Accordingly, Petty et al. (1983) find a significant effect, such that in low involvement conditions, the celebrity endorser is significantly more effective in terms of brand image than is a noncelebrity, but the same is not true in high involvement conditions.



The use of celebrity endorsers in marketing enjoys high popularity, largely because they may exert a positive impact on brand image. Noting the importance of brand image as a critical intangible asset, with a fundamental impact on brand equity, this systematic literature review pinpoints 24 brand image drivers of celebrity endorsements, arranged around four distinct elements of the communication process. Thus, the framework includes not only celebrity selection issues but also the design of the advertising message, the appropriate media vehicle, and the target group. Extant empirical studies reveal certain success factors that seem somewhat ambiguous, whereas others receive relatively strong empirical support. Therefore, this review can help managers derive practical implications for the development and execution of their celebrity endorsement campaigns: They should focus particularly on the well-documented success factors. Credibility, physical attractiveness relevant to the product domain, image-based congruence, twosided appeals and lower elaboration likelihood all positively influence brand image. When selecting an appropriate celebrity for an endorsement, brand managers must take care to achieve high credibility. Extant research consistently verifies the importance of credibility and its subdimensions, trustworthiness and expertise. Furthermore, most studies show that physical attractiveness has a positive impact on brand image, though only if that attractiveness is relevant to the product domain (e.g., a physically attractive celebrity for a make-up brand). This evaluation of prior literature also reveals that image-based congruence (as opposed to attractiveness- or expertise-based) constitutes the most important congruence dimension in aPage 15

celebrity endorsement context and has a positive impact on brand image. The advertising message also should include two-sided appeals in celebrity endorsements, because the empirical findings consistently verify their effectiveness. Finally, lower elaboration likelihood among recipients positively influences the effectiveness of celebrity endorsers for creating a favourable brand image outcome. Both high arousal and low involvement promote low elaboration likelihood and can enhance the impact on brand image. Rather ambiguous findings relate to negative information, multiple brand endorsements and endorsement strength. In the context of negative information, Bailey (2007) and Edwards and La Ferle (2009) find that really negative information about the celebrity impairs brand image, but Till and Shimp (1998) cannot confirm this effect using a weaker cover story. Thus, the severity of the negative information and the person involved (e.g., the celebrity versus friends of the celebrity) seem worthwhile candidates for further investigation. Mowen and Brown (1981) report a negative effect on brand image when a celebrity endorses numerous brands simultaneously, but Tripp et al. (1994) cannot confirm this result. The omnipresence of multiple brand endorsement in practice and the high cost of exclusive contracts with celebrities therefore implies the need for further research to disentangle the boundary conditions for such negative effects. Moreover, research from the related field of brand alliances (e.g., Simonin and Ruth, 1998) suggests that even positive effects might emerge in specific conditions (e.g., a less familiar brand might benefit from more familiar brands in a multiple brand endorsement context). In addition, Martin et al. (2008) report a positive effect of stronger endorsements, but Cronley et al. (1999) find no significant differences between stronger and weaker endorsements. In practice, weak and strong endorsements may represent two extremes. On the one hand, weak endorsements might not express the celebritys conviction about the product adequately and thus fail to achieve the greatest persuasive effect. On the other hand, strong endorsements might evoke psychological reactance, in response to perceived restrictions on freedom and control (e.g., Brehm 1966; Brehm and Brehm, 1981). Whether moderate endorsement strength might outperform both weak and strong endorsements should be investigated in ongoing research. Most studies in this body of research have focused exclusively on celebrity characteristics, to the detriment of in-depth investigations of other elements of the communication process (i.e., message, advertising channel and recipients). Regarding message characteristics, a conceptual distinction of four endorsement modes suggests celebrities might endorse brands in an explicit mode (I endorse this brand), implicit mode (I use this brand), imperative mode (You shouldPage 16

use this brand) or co-present mode (i.e., celebrity and brand depicted simultaneously without further explanation) (McCracken, 1989). Yet, research has not considered these different endorsement modes empirically to determine their effectiveness. Regarding advertising channel characteristics, research is scant (Freiden, 1982). This gap seems surprising against the background of prior research that shows media selection exerts a strong impact on advertising success (e.g., Batra et al., 1996; Korgaonkar et al., 1984). Furthermore, misplaced celebrity advertising might compromise its effectiveness (Seno and Lukas, 2007). Therefore, an investigation of the impact of advertising channel characteristics on celebrity endorsements seems indispensable. With regard, finally, to recipient characteristics, additional research is necessary to enable marketers to tailor their endorsements to target groups that are more susceptible to celebrity advertising. Personality traits other than those addressed by prior research might influence this susceptibility, which would grant consumer behaviour researchers interesting insights as well. In addition, cross-cultural comparisons of acceptance of celebrity endorsement seem desirable. For example, U.S. culture might promote a rather strong attachment to celebrities, such that U.S. consumers would be more amenable to marketing communications that use celebrity endorsers (McCracken, 1989); Scandinavian cultures appear more reluctant (Avant and Knutsen, 1993). Reconsidering celebrity endorsement from a communication process perspective thus highlights the diversity of elements that managers should take into account when designing their campaigns. In practice, this insight seems particularly meaningful, because most current attention focuses solely on the selection of an appropriate celebrity (Miciak and Shanklin, 1994).

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