Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrity endorsements


The use of celebrity endorsements is becoming increasing popular amongst organisations to aid in advertising their brand in order to gain a competitive advantage. The use of celebrity endorsements are a means of creating awareness of the brand advertised. This investigations main purpose is to explore the influences that celebrity endorsements have on the consumers’ motivation to purchase, in particular focusing on sports celebrities.

Celebrity endorsement have become a widely recognised form of advertising, however there is still some doubt as to whether celebrity endorsements are an effective technique in influencing consumers to purchase. This investigation will conduct essential research by critically analysing the academic literature, whilst undertaking further primary research to establish a broader insight into celebrity endorsement. Findings from the primary research will be analysed and discussed, finally a conclusion will evaluate primary research against the literature review.


The author will present a general understanding of the topic, in the first chapter. Furthermore, the author will also present the problem area, which this study will be based on, followed by the purpose and outline of the study.

Nature of the Topic

This report will illustrate relevant research and theories on celebrity endorsement and how they are becoming an attractive tool within advertising. The central point of this investigation will focus on whether celebrity endorsement has an impact on consumer’s motivation to purchase, and will be primarily looking at sports celebrities.

This investigation will emphasis on the use of sporting celebrities in advertisements as they have achieved their celebrity status through sporting success as opposed to it being either ascribed or attributed ‘Achieved celebrity derives from the perceived accomplishments of the individual in open competition… In the public realm they are recognised as individuals who possess rare talents or skills.’ (Rojek, 2001)

According to industry sources, approximately 20% of all television commercials feature a famous person, and approximately 10% of the dollars spent on television advertising are used in celebrity endorsement advertisements (Sherman, 1985 cited in Agrawal and Kamakura, 1995). Premeaux (2005 cited in Bailey, 2007) suggests the reason why this figure is so high is the ‘ability of the celebrity endorser to get and hold attention with evidence of the positive impact of celebrity endorsers on brand recall’. Freiden (1984) concluded that celebrities are particularly effective endorsers because they are viewed as highly trustworthy, believable, persuasive, and likeable.

Although celebrities are an increasingly popular tool in advertising, what impact do they have on consumer’s attitudes? It is the aim of this study to outline whether celebrities have an effect on consumer purchasing behaviour.

To investigate this issue, many key areas of celebrity endorsement need to be researched, including consumer buyer behaviour, the effects celebrity endorsements have had on organisations and consumer attitudes in the past, whilst also assessing possible advantages and disadvantages of using celebrity endorsements in promotion techniques.

Rationale for Selecting Topic

The initial reason this topic was chosen to research was that the author has a particular interest in this aspect of marketing, and how celebrities are becoming an increasingly attractive tool for organisation to promote their brand and how this technique motivates consumers to purchase.

Therefore the rationale as to why I chose this topic area is that it is a current and contemporary issue of marketers. It is a marketing communication tool that is used widely across western culture thus being relevant and significant in today’s market.


For this investigation, the author has specific aims that include:

  • To reveal whether celebrity endorsements effect consumers purchasing decisions and to what extent.
  • To examine within the literature review the influence of celebrity endorsers compared with ‘normal’ people.
  • To carry out appropriate research methodology based on the review of literature that will establish whether celebrity endorsements are successful in motivating consumer purchasing behaviour.
  • To analyse findings and conclude whether celebrities do influence consumers’ motivation to purchase.


Chapter Two – Literature Review

The review of literature will examine past theories and research on celebrity endorsements, outlining relevant areas involving; consumer buyer behaviour, celebrity versus non-celebrity advertising, key attributes organisation require in an endorser and benefits and limitations of using this communication technique.

Chapter Three – Methodology

This chapter will examine both primary and secondary research methods that have been utilised in this study to enable the author to meet the specified aims and objectives. Additionally advantages and disadvantages of each method will be justified

Chapter Four – Findings, Analysis and Discussion

This section will show the results obtained from primary data, which will be analysed and evaluated against theoretical research presented within the literature review.

Chapter Five – Conclusion

This chapter will interpret and evaluate the findings from primary research conducted in conjunction with academic literature. The conclusion will draw deductions on whether celebrity endorsements do influence consumer’s motivation to purchase.

Literature Review

This chapter seeks to explore the most crucial attributes that is mostly associated with celebrity endorsement strategy. This in turn, to apply the following attributes in the methodology part of the study.


The aim of this literature review is to give a comprehensive discussion of the range of theories which offer frameworks to aid in answering the research questions in relation to the effects sports celebrity endorsements have on consumer buyer behaviour. Theories are chosen within this chapter as those which form the core of consumer behaviour theory relating to the marketing principles. In particular literature is explored which examines the influence of sports celebrities in advertising products/brands.

One way of perceiving marketing is the achievement of business goals through anticipating, meeting and satisfying consumer needs (Blackwell, Miniard and Engel, 2001). Unsurprisingly markets must conduct consumer behaviour research in order to understand their target customer better than other competition and as a result of this it will allow strategic marketing mixes to work more effectively for organisations (Jobber, 2001).

Recent studies maintain that attracting new customers has a much higher cost than the retention of existing ones for an organisation thus companies must build up efficient and effective communications with both existing and potential consumers through its marketing mix strategy. As a result ‘below-the-line’ promotions have established themselves as a major element of the marketing mix, with advertising traditionally being the dominant communication tool for organisations (Lanman, 2003).

In terms of using sports celebrity endorsements in advertising, it is often used in advertising that strongly depends on a strong brand image from a social perception. Celebrities can be seen as a useful force in expressing the brand characteristics to consumers in a direct way. However Solomon, Bamossy, Askegaard and Hogg (2010) state that consumer behaviour is dynamic, meaning the entire purchasing decision process is complex. Customers will be influenced by various factors such as reference groups, social effects as well as local cultural factors, these aspects impact on the way in which a consumer will make decisions. Therefore it is important that marketers carry out consumer research and analysis to be aware of important trends and evaluate these aspects. Due to the characteristics related to the purchasing process, this literature review will focus on individual buying behaviour in relation to sports celebrity endorsement.

Defining Celebrity Endorsement

Marketers usually use individuals who have achieved some form of celebrity status to serve as a spokesperson for their brand. Most celebrities that are hired by an organisation to endorse their product or brand are popular people, television stars, movie actors or famous athletes (Shimp, 2007). Furthermore, when an organisation decides to use an endorsement strategy as their marketing communication method, one of the main focuses lies within exposing the brand (Kotler, Armstrong, Wong and Saunders, 2008).

The use of a celebrity endorser can be seen as the source of a message the company wishes to expose to their target audience. According to Belch and Belch (2009), the term source, when talking about the involvement in communicating a marketing message, can occur either be directly or indirectly. Directly can be the celebrity who functions as a spokesperson for the brand and sends out information that the company desires to deliver to their target audience. Alternatively indirectly is when a celebrity does not send the message but draws attention to and/or enhance the appearance of the advertisement. The marketer must select a celebrity that has a good ‘fit’ with the brand, that is intended to be exposed (Pringle, 2004).

Using sports figures as product endorsers has also been shown to be an effective marketing strategy. Endorsement is the use of a sport celebrity by a company to sell or enhance the image of the company, product, or brand. Product endorsement using sport celebrities has been found to impact attitude toward an advertisement (Tripp, Jensen and Carlson, 1994), increase the likelihood of consumers choosing a product or brand (Kahle and Homer, 1985; Kamins, Brand, Hoeke and Moe, 1989), and increase the profitability of a firm (Agrawal and Kamakura, 1995). Product endorsements may be explicit (‘I endorse this product’) or implicit (‘I use this product’) (Seno and Lukas, 2005). The use of athlete endorsements provides an opportunity for companies to associate with attributes not found in other types of celebrities. More specifically, winning, success, teamwork, and community are associations an athlete may offer that other forms of celebrity may not (Jones, Bee, Burton and Kahle, 2004).

When an organisation decides to use a celebrity in their endorsement strategy, there are three important source factors that need to be considered, these include; source-credibility, source-attractiveness and source-power (Belch and Belch, 2009). These attributes will be discussed in section 1.8.

Consumer Purchasing Process and Motivation

As Individuals consumers usually purchase products or services for personal consumption either for private purposes, domestic or a gift means, these can be defined as ‘end users’. Blackwell et al (2001) defines the initial step in the consumer decision process as need arousal in relation to the ’emotional and psychological’ needs relevant to the individual consumer, this occurs when ‘an individual senses a difference between what they perceive to be the ideal versus the actual state of affairs’. However the degree in which a consumer will actively search to resolve need deficiency relies on the perceived importance of the ‘problem’ and the distinction between desired and current state. If problem recognition is high then information search and evaluation of alternative options are two potential further stages in the process. Motivation occurs when there is a strong ‘desire’ or ‘need’ for a particular product or brand that the consumer wishes to satisfy (Foxall, Goldsmith and Brown, 1998). A series of stages must be passed through before an ultimate decision is made whether to purchase or not, during this process a brand choice will be made.

Branding strategies used by organisations should be aware of factors that may effect an individual’s motivation with regards to needs satisfaction when obtaining products/brands through the initial stages of the consumer decision making process. One determinant of the extent a consumer will evaluate a brand is the involvement the product entails; high involvement decisions means there is a need for extensive evaluation and information search (Hawkins et al, 1992). Price is frequently seen as a main indicator of involvement level as individuals spend increasingly more time searching and comparing information and prices. Whereas Schiffman and Kanuk (2009) claim that customer satisfaction depends on the product or service matching consumer expectations. It has been suggested that each member of the household has definable roles within the decision making process which includes: initiator or gatekeeper, influencer, decider, buyer and user (Blackwell et al, 2006 pp. 486). It is unsurprising that organisations pursue branding strategies that incorporate reference group influences such as celebrities to create a specific brand image for the consumer.

Popularity of Celebrity Endorsement 235

Celebrity advertising has become increasingly popular amongst organisations with the attempt to get consumers to spend. McCracken (1989) recognised that celebrity endorsement is ‘a ubiquitous feature of modern marketing’.

The number of organisations now using celebrities in their advertising has increased, as according to Stephens and Rice (1998) In the USA, the use of celebrity endorsers have increased from a little over 15 percent to approximately 25 percent of all adverts between 1979 and 1997. However the celebrity heat is even more evident in Japan with around 70 percent of Japanese commercials featuring a celebrity (Kilburn, 1998). Erdogan et al (2001) highlights the rise of celebrity endorsement in the United Kingdom with approximately one in five marketing programs featuring some type of celebrity endorsement. These figures demonstrate the prevalence of the celebrity appeal as a method of persuasive communication (Hsu and McDonald, 2002).

Atkin and Block (1983) claim two fundamental reasons why celebrities are increasingly utilised within advertising. Firstly, celebrities are more efficient at attracting attention to an advertisement in the cluttered stream of messages in which consumers are inundated with advertising messages and secondly, celebrities are perceived as more entertaining and seen as trustworthy because of apparent lack of self-interest. Although the number of advertising featuring celebrities has increased and it seems inevitable that it will in the future, there is still a question of whether celebrity endorsement has an impact on consumers’ behaviour. This topic will be examined further during the next section.

Celebrity Adverts Effectiveness in Relation to Consumer Behaviour 430

O’Guinn et al (2008 pp 9) states that ‘advertising plays a pivotal role in world commerce and in the way consumers experience and live their lives as it is part of our language and our culture’. Advertising is important part of the decision making process as it enables the consumer to learn about products and the availability of that product, if advertising did not exist, consumers would not be aware of any new products on the market. According to McCracken (1989) a consumers ‘are constantly moving symbolic properties out of consumer goods into their lives to construct aspects of self and world’. Consumers face various adverts that try to impact the way in which we behave as a consumer. It is imperative that marketers have advertising campaigns that capture the attention of their target market in order to impact on behaviour. This provides an important incentive to use sports celebrities as part of their advertising promotion as celebrities attract consumers’ attention with their appealing status which organisation feel will benefit the products awareness (Erdogan, 1999). O’Guinn et al (2008 pp 349) describes that ‘a celebrity testimonial will increase the adverts ability to attract attention and produce a desire in receivers attempting to emulate or imitate the celebrities in which they admire’. Additionally Atkin and Black (1983) emphasize that celebrity endorsers may be influential as ‘celebrity endorsers are considered to be highly dynamic, with attractive and engaging personal qualities. Audiences may also trust the advice provided by some famous persons, and in certain cases celebrities may even be perceived as competent to discuss the product. It is essential that marketers select an appropriate spokesperson to communicate the message of the brand to consumers effectively, as if a celebrity is chosen that is not admired or relatable to the target market this will hinder the advertisements effectiveness.

However Assael (1984 cited in Kamins, 1990) suggests that celebrities are effective endorsers because of their symbolic aspirational reference group association. In addition, Kamins (1990) argues that ‘reference groups provide points of comparison through which the consumer may evaluate attitudes and behaviour’. Reference groups vary in how consumers perceive their own characteristics and lifestyles, and whether such celebrity advertising may generate these attitudes and behaviour.

Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) believes that sports ‘celebrities can be a powerful force in creating interest or actions with regard to purchasing or using selected goods or services.’ However Foxall and Goldsmith (1998) believe that a celebrity endorsement does not create a strong pre-purchase attitude but can impact and cause change in the consumer’s perception process. The complexity of consumer buying behaviour is coordinated with a complexity in assessing the effect of sports celebrity advertising on such behaviour

Celebrity Vs Non-Celebrity Endorsement 232

Few studies have compared the impact of celebrity advertising with non-celebrity advertising in determining their effectiveness on consumer behaviour. An investigation conducted by Friedman et al (1977) that used advertisements with celebrities and non-celebrities for a fictitious brand of sangria. They found that the celebrity version of the advertisement had higher rates on the dependant variables; probable taste, advertising believability and purchase intention, compared to the non-celebrity version’. Additionally, a study done by Gardner and Schuman (1986) revealed that fifty-three percent of respondents reported that sponsorship (endorsements) increases the likelihood of brand purchase. Agrawal and Kamukura (1995) found that on average ‘firms announcing contracts with celebrities experienced a gain of 44 percent in excess returns’. Also a study by Atkin and Block (1983) emphasised that advertisements that had celebrities appearing in them had more positive effects on consumers than those with non-celebrities. Previous research indicated the importance celebrity endorsements have on consumer behaviour.

Atkin and Block (1983) consider that the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement is due to the fact consumers believe that the celebrity does ‘not really work for the endorsement fee, but are motivated by genuine affection for the product’. Moreover, Tripp et al (1994) showed that the number of exposures to a celebrity advertisement negatively influenced consumers’ intention to purchase. For an advertisement campaign to have the desired effectiveness on consumer’s behaviour, the selected celebrity must have certain attributes to attract and retain the consumer’s attention.

Vital Attributes of a Celebrity Endorser 66

Marketers try to select individuals whose traits will maximise message influence. The source may be knowledgeable, popular, and/or physically attractive; typifying the target audience; or have the power to reward or punish the receiver in some manner. Kelman (1961) developed three basic categories of source attributes: credibility, attractiveness and power. Each influences the recipient’s attitudes or behaviour through a different process (Belch and Belch, 2009).

Source Attributes and Receiver Processing Model (Belch and Belch, 2009)

Credibility 352

Credibility is the extent to which the receiver sees the source as having relevant knowledge, skills experience and trust to give unbiased and objective information (Byrne et al, 2003). Source credibility is used to imply a communicator’s positive characteristics that will affect the receiver’s acceptance of a message (Ohanian, 1990). It can be assumed that a communicator (celebrity) can be perceived as knowledgeable and a person with expertise. Furthermore the source needs to be trustworthy, honest, ethical and believable (Belch and Belch, 2009). These two attributes, which a celebrity must have to be a successful endorser in an advertising campaign, are discussed more in-depth below.

Expertise: Belch and Belch (2009) states that a spokesperson is often chosen because of their knowledge, experience, and expertise in a particular product or service area. Ohanian (1990, cited in Belch and Belch, 2009) found that the perceived expertise of celebrity endorsers was more important in explaining purchase intentions than their attractiveness or trustworthiness. Ohanian also suggests that the celebrity spokespeople are more effective when they are knowledgeable, experienced and qualified to talk about the product they are endorsing. Source expertise in persuasive communication, indicates generally that the source’s perceived expertise has a positive impact on attitude change (Horai et al, 1974).

Trustworthiness: In comparison to expertise, a celebrity needs to be trustworthy when endorsing a product or service. This is based on how honest the celebrity is about what they say concerning the brand (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2009). Additionally, Belch and Belch (2009) argues that while expertise is important, the target audience must also find the source (celebrity) believable. Ohanian (1990) maintains that when a celebrity is perceived more trustworthy, the message will be more effective and the receiver will be more integrated. Thus, trustworthiness is the degree of confidence in the communicator’s intentions to communicate the assertions they consider being most valid (Ohanian, 1990).

Belch and Belch (2009, Pp 179) argues that information from a credible source influences beliefs, opinions, attitudes and behaviour through a process called ‘internalisation’ which occurs when the receiver adopts the opinion of the credible communicator since they believe information from the source is accurate. Once the receiver internalises an opinion or attitude, it become integrated into their belief system and may be maintained even after the source of the message is forgotten.

Attractiveness 352

Ohanian (1990) suggests that physical attractiveness is an important cue in an individual’s initial judgement of another person. Source attractiveness is related to physical attributes such as: Similarity, Likability and Familiarity (Belch and Belch, 2009). Similarity is a supposed resemblance between the source and the receiver of the message, while familiarity refers to the knowledge of the source through exposure. Likability is affection for the source as a result of physical appearance, behaviour or other personality traits (Belch and Belch, 2009 pp 182). Source attractiveness leads to persuasion through a process of ‘identification’ whereby the receiver is motivated to seek some type of relationship with the source (celebrity) and thus adopts similar beliefs, attitudes, preferences, or behaviour. Further more if the source (celebrity) changes position, the receiver may also change (Belch and Belch, 2009 pp 182). Marketers acknowledge that receivers of persuasive communications are more likely to attend to and identify with individuals they find likable or similar to themselves. The three attributes similarity, likability and familiarity are explored in more detail below.

Similarity: In terms of similarity, Belch and Belch (2009) claims that individuals are more likely to be influenced by a message coming from someone with whom they feel a sense of similarity. If the communicator (celebrity) and receiver have similar needs, goals, interests and lifestyles, the position advocated by the source is better understood and received.

Likability: Marketers recognise the value of using spokespeople who are admired: TV and movie stars, athletes, musicians, and other popular figures. Marketers believe that the use of a popular celebrity will favourably influence consumers’ feeling, attitudes and purchase behaviour. However the company must consider a number of factors when deciding to use a celebrity spokesperson such as over-shadowing the product/brand, being overexposed and the target audiences receptivity and risks to the advertiser (Belch and Belch, 2009)

Familiarity: In the celebrity endorsement context, familiarity has been defined as ‘knowledge of the source through exposure’ (Erdogan, 1999 pp 299). According to Belch and Belch (2009) familiarity can be considered as the level of knowledge a celebrity possess of a brand. When an organisation considers choosing a celebrity for their advertising campaign, they need to analyse the previous knowledge a celebrity has or how they will utilise their knowledge in the exposure stage.

Power 103

The final characteristic Kelman’s classification is ‘source power’. A source has the power when they can actually administer reward or punishment to the receiver. When a receiver perceives a source as having power, the influence process occurs through ‘compliance’. The receiver accepts the persuasive influence of the source and acquiesces to their position in hope of obtaining a favourable reaction or avoiding punishment. However the power source characteristic is very difficult to apply in a non-personal influence situation such as advertising. A communicator in an advert cannot apply any sanctions to the receiver or determine whether compliance has occurred (Belch and Belch, 2009)

Match-Up Theory 256

From the literature it has become evident that a spokesperson interacts with the type of brand being promoted. According to Friedman and Friedman (1979 cited in Atkin and Block, 1983), a celebrity spokesperson is more effective for products high in psychological or social risks relative to a ‘normal’ spokesperson; such elements include good taste, self image and opinion of others. Various research investigations have explored the congruency between celebrity endorsers and brands to examine the effectiveness of using celebrities to advertise products/brands. (E.g. Marin, 1996; Till and Busler, 1998; Till and Shimp, 1998). Results have revealed that a number of celebrity endorsement have shown to be very successful whereas others have completely failed, this results in the ‘termination’ of the respective celebrity communicator (Walker, 1992).

However, assuming that an individual just has to be famous to represent a successful spokesperson would be incorrect (Solomon, 2008). The ‘match-up theory’ suggests that the effectiveness depends on the appropriate match between an endorser and the product/brand (Till and Busler, 1998). Empirical studies on the congruency theory frequently focus on the physical attractiveness of the celebrity endorser (Till and Busler, 1998). According to Kahle and Homer (1985) attractive sources are more effective in terms of attitude change when advertising brands that enhance individual’s attractiveness. Although Ohanian (1991) recognises a popular individual’s ability to create awareness and initiate desire for an advertisement, Ohanian concludes that this may not necessarily change consumer’s attitude toward the endorsed brand and that ‘for a celebrity spokesperson to be truly effective, they should be knowledgeable, experienced and qualified to talk about the product’. A deeper insight in the complex process of celebrity endorsement is provided by the ‘meaning transfer model’, this will be discussed in section 1.12. .

‘Fit’ Factor 112

The determinant of the match between celebrity and brand depends on the degree of perceived ‘fit’ between brand (brand name, attributes) and celebrity image (Misra and Beatty, 1990 cited in Erdogan, 1999). Miisra and Beatty (1990) suggest that when a celebrity endorsers a brand, the characteristics of that celebrity may be compared with the advertised attributes of the brand by the audience for congruence or fit with their available person-schema. The degree of congruence between the new information (the brand attributes) and the existing information (the celebrity’s characteristics) may then influence the level of recall of the new information. Numerous investigation in social cognition have discovered that usually congruent information is remembered better that information incongruent or irrelevant with existing schemas (Cantor and Mischel, 1979; Cohen, 1981; Taylor and Cracker, 1981)

Balance Theory 234

This theory works within the framework of cognitive consistency, a principle stating that consumer’s value harmony among their thoughts and that they are motivated to reconcile incongruent thoughts. The evaluation of an object is affected by how the evaluation will fit with other related attitudes held by the consumer. Thus, balance theory is useful in explaining attitude formation and attitude change. Balance theory (Heider, 1958 cited in Dean, 2002) considers relations among objects the consumer may perceive belong together, linked by association, proximity, similarity, ownership, or common fate. A balance theory explanation of endorsement suggests three elements linked in a triangular relationship: the endorser (celebrity), the product/brand and the consumer. A celebrity may desire to endorse a product/brand, believing that the product/brand is a good strategic fit. This establishes a positive sentiment connection between the celebrity and the brand (one side of the triangle). If the consumer has pre-existing positive sentiment toward the endorser (the second side of the triangle), it is likely the consumer will form an attitude or change an existing attitude to be positive toward the brand (the third side of the triangle). This occurs because consumers’ desire harmony in their beliefs, and it would be unstable (unbalanced) to have a positively valued element linked to a negatively valued element. However alternatively the consumer could re-evaluate sentiment toward the brand to make it negative and hold a negative attitude of the endorser; this would also ‘balance’ (Dean, 2002).

Meaning Transfer Model 214

McCracken (1989) explains the effectiveness of celebrity spokespersons by assessing the meanings consumers associate with the endorser and eventually transfer to the brand. Kambitsis et al (2002 pp 160) shares this perspective and found that athletes’ personality was an important factor when influencing ‘specific target groups, to which such personalities are easily recognisable and much admired.’ McCracken suggests a meaning transfer model, which is made up of three subsequent stages. Firstly, the meaning related with the celebrity moves from the endorser to the product/brand. Thus, meanings attributed to the celebrity become associated with the brand in the consumers mind. Finally, in the consumption process, the brand’s meaning is acquired by the customer. The third stage of the model illustrates the significance of the consumer’s role in the process of celebrity endorsed brands. The meaning transfer process is shown below.

Meaning transfer in the endorsement process (Adapted from McCracken, 1989)

McCracken’s model is centred on the concept of meaning. Celebrities contain a broad range of meanings, involving demographic categories (e.g. age, gender, and status), personality and lifestyle types. McCracken (1989) emphasises that celebrities do not represent one single meaning, but express a number and variety of different meanings. Martin (1996 pp 28) maintains that celebrity spokespeople are useful in marketing as they provide a ‘set of characteristics’ that supports consumers in the evaluation of the present brand.

Advantages 251

Using celebrity endorsers can be and effective and efficient method for organisations to utilise in their promotions campaign, in comparison to non-celebrities. Some of the advantages of celebrity endorsement are discussed below:

  • To influence purchasing decision of the target audience (Ohanain, 1991)
  • To capture the attention of consumers’ (Dyson and Turco, 1998)
  • To increase product/brand awareness (Wilson, 1997)

Firstly, celebrity endorsers have the ability to influence consumers purchasing decisions. The ‘fit’ factor examined in previous sections of this investigation is a key aspect here, as consumers’ motivation to purchase will increase if the advertisement involves a celebrity that is perceived to be an expert in that field e.g. David Beckham endorsing football boots. Ohanian (1991) states that consumers are more likely to purchase a product or brand if it is endorsed by a credible source.

One of the major reasons celebrity endorsements are being favoured by organisations when advertising their brand, it the attempt to gain consumers attention. Miciak and Shanklin (1994) maintains that ‘celebrities ostensibly have the capacity to hold viewers” attention and penetrate the clutter of brief and numerous advertising spots that compete for audience attention’.

A final advantage of celebrity endorsements is to increase product awareness. Awareness or need recognition is the first stage of the purchase process. If the target audience are not aware of your product then there is no chance for purchase. Having a celebrity attached to your brand will increase the likelihood of product recall as well as infuse your product with the charisma and success associated with the celebrity (Wilson, 1997 Cited in Swerdlow and Swerdlow, 2003).

Disadvantages 346

Celebrity endorsements have been an integral element of organisations’ marketing strategy, and although they possess many benefits, there are some limitations of using celebrities in advertising. The major criticisms involve:

  • Overshadowing
  • High Costs
  • Negative Publicity
  • Overexposure

Firstly, using celebrity endorsements as part of communication strategy has the risk of overshadowing the product. Belch and Belch (2009, pp 184) claim that ‘consumers may focus their attention on the celebrity and fail to notice the brand’.. According to Belch and Belch (2009, pp 184) ‘advertisers should select a celebrity spokesperson who will attract attention and enhance the sales message, yet not overshadow the brand’.

Another limitation of celebrity endorsement is the expense to appoint the celebrity as spokesperson for the company. Dyson and Turco (1998) suggest that small companies could never afford a celebrity to promote their product. It is the biggest risk for smaller companies to invest large amounts of money as their losses will be greater if something goes wrong. Nike has recently hired Tiger Woods to endorse their brand which is estimated to cost $100 million (Rudawsky, 2010).

A further weakness of celebrity endorsement is the increased risk of negative publicity as celebrities are consistently in the public eye. Negative information about the celebrity activates the celebrity node, which then activates the brand node to some degree, which allows for the transfer of the reduced evaluation of the celebrity to the brand (Till, 1996 cited in Till, 1998)

A final limitation is that some celebrities may endorse too many brands which can lead to overexposure. Tripp et al (1994) suggests that simply knowing that a celebrity endorsers multiple products is sufficient to erode consumers’ perceptions of endorser trustworthiness, as well as brand and advert evaluation. Consumers tend to believe celebrities that only endorse a single product have a genuine affection for the brand, whereas if the celebrity endorsers multiple brands, consumers feel the celebrity is motivated by the endorser fee. McCracken (1989 cited in Tripp et al, 1994) suggests that as the celebrity endorser takes on meanings that carry from advert to advert, therefore endorsing multiple products affects the assigned meanings and the consumer perceives the celebrity to be less credible and less likeable.

Chapter Summary 96

This chapter explored the influence celebrity endorsements had in relation to buyer behaviour. The literature highlights that celebrity are an effective tool in communication strategy if used appropriately. Key attributes where examined, to determine what an organisation should look for when selecting endorsers and how these attributes may influence the consumer. Also ‘fit’ factor and balance theory where discussed and how congruence between the endorser and the product can lead to more effective advertising. Finally advantages and disadvantages were explained, demonstrating how celebrities can be effective whilst also illustrating limitations and constraints of using celebrity endorsements.

Methodology 3298

This chapter will describe the choice of methods and how the process of gathering empirical data will occur to fulfil the purpose of this dissertation by linking it to the research questions/aims of the research.

Introduction 216

This section is a description of the research methods chosen for this investigation. Methodology is defined as ‘the analysis of, and rationale for, the particular method used in a project’ (Jankowicz, 2005 pp 387). Thus, both primary and secondary research will be discussed including methods that will be used as well as the benefits and implications of each chosen method. The sampling method and ethical issues will be explored in this chapter

Flick (2009) and Carson et al (2001) are some of the many researches that support the idea of using a ‘multi-method’ approach in a marketing research study. They suggest that a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques can lead to a more interesting and exciting exploration within the research area. The integration of these two methods should be seen as complementary rather than rivalry. Therefore using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, a combinational approach is envisaged for this research, to ensure a certain amount of triangulation linked to the research aims and objectives, but also as an internal mechanism for examining aspects of the research question.

By applying these approaches it can be expected that data will be produced that will offer ‘thin’ justifications based on the quantitative data produced into the influences of celebrity endorsements, with the addition of ‘thick’ contextual based explanations determined from the qualitative research methods (Denzin and Lincoln, 1998).

Research Philosophy 193

Research Philosophy is a belief about the way in which data about a phenomenon should be collected and analysed (Levin, 1988).The purpose of this research is the process of transforming things believed into things known.

Two major research philosophies are identified as the inductive and deductive theories (Hyde, 2000)

Inductive reasoning is a theory building process, starting with observations of specific instances, and seeking to establish generalisations about the phenomenon under investigation. Deductive reasoning is a theory testing process which commences with an established theory or generalisation, and seeks to see if the theory applies to specific instances (Hyde, 2000).

As demonstrated in the literature review, the essence of the current study is concerned with the effect celebrity endorsement has on buyer behaviour. It is the intention of the study to examine the reason ‘why’ respondents hold these views. Therefore I will be applying the inductive approach to my research as it allows me to discover the context in which events are taking place. I will be dismissing deductive reasoning; although it is highly structured and therefore more reliable the high structured nature consequently means a more reductionist approach that does not find the reason behind the behaviour (Bryman et al, 2007).

Research Strategy 108

Many research methods have been identified, however it is not intended to discuss and critique each of these methodologies. Instead focus is restricted to the methodologies (surveys and focus groups) used in the present study.

Surveys enable the researcher to obtain data about practices, situations or views at one specific point in time through a questionnaire form. Quantitative analytical techniques are then used to draw deductions from the data. A significant weakness is that it is difficult to obtain insight relating to the cause or process of the phenomena studied (Curwin and Slater, 2008). However the use of a focus group will allow the researcher to discover the meaning behind the behaviour.

Survey Research 137

According to the current research objectives, it is envisaged to investigate to what extent the impact of sports celebrity advertisements effects consumer behaviour at the perception and motivation stages and the evaluation of the product and brand. In order to determine the customers perception of a product/brand and how this might be affected by celebrity endorsement, a questionnaire has been developed based on existing literature.

To ensure the research is conducted correctly, the questionnaire design is constructed according to Finks (1995) ‘Questionnaire Development’ (cited in Cholasuke et al, 2004)

Microsoft Excel will be used in analysing the data produced by the questionnaire. This data will also be used to in order to aid and construct a coding system to guide the analysis of the focus group. The data generated will also help to construct the questions to be asked during the focus group. (Denzin and Lincoln, 2003)

Secondary Data 53

Before primary research can be conducted secondary data must be explored, secondary data is defined as ‘research information that already exists in the form of publications or other electronic media which is collected by the researcher’ (Easterby-Smith et al, 2008 pp 332). The use of secondary data will enable me to gain a broader insight of the research area.

Advantages of Secondary Data 145

The use of secondary data is highly important to this study as it provides a background into the research area. Whilst the use of secondary data does not eliminate the need for primary research, secondary data does have various advantages. Stevens et al (2005) suggest that the utilisation of secondary data is low cost as a large quantity of the data is available from libraries, data achieves and organisations at little or no cost. A second advantage is the speed in which you can generate this information in comparison to primary research which requires design and execution. A further advantage of secondary data is its availability; some information such as the census is only available in secondary form. A final advantage is flexibility. Secondary data is adaptable and provides a variety of information. Some of the limitations that secondary data possess are discussed in the appendix (Appendix B).

Primary Data 55

Secondary data provides a starting point for research and often helps to define research problems and objectives (Kotler et al, 2008) however primary data is needed to gain new insights and more focused, relevant and up-to date information into the research area. Primary data according to Easterby-Smith et al (2008 pp 332) is ‘new information that is collected directly by the researcher.’

Objectives of Primary Research 104

The researcher has decided that it is necessary to have key objectives that the primary research aims to achieve. The primary research will allow the researcher to ensure that appropriate results are achieved. These aims include:

  • To discover consumers opinions on what they understand by celebrity endorsement and whether it is an effective as a form of advertising
  • To explore whether celebrities appearing in advertising has influenced the consumer previously and how
  • To find out if endorser attributes have an effect on consumers’ beliefs on a brands effectiveness
  • To highlight how bad publicity can affect consumers towards the brand advertised

Data Collection 235

Considering various primary research methods, the researcher has decided that the most appropriate methods for this study was to apply both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The initial stage of this investigation will use a quantitative based survey employing a questionnaire. The questionnaires will be administered by an interviewer to ensure a higher level of validity of the data produced in terms of the research aims and objectives.

Following on from this stage of the research, it is intended that a further 5 respondents will participate in a focus group. The focus groups are planned to last between 30-40 minutes and will include a viewing of three sporting celebrity advertisements which will last 3-5 minutes. Examples of the advertisements shown can be accessed in Appendix C.

Based on the data collected by the questionnaires the researcher will direct a discussion where the participants focus on whether the celebrity endorser is relevant to the product/brand, the group’s perception of both the celebrity and the product/brand and what experiences the group had with using this product/brand. The researcher will seek to discover which of the participants have both purchased and used the products and compare it with those who have not and how much the celebrity endorser impacted on this ‘interaction.’ (Jensen, 2002) Saunders et al (2007 pp. 310) states that ‘the use of interviews (focus groups) can help to gather valid and reliable data that are relevant to the research question and objectives.’

Questionnaire Design 552

According to Fink (1995), ‘survey’ is a system of collecting information to describe, compare and explain: practice, knowledge, behaviour or attitude. A questionnaire that is going to provide accurate, good quality information needs to be thought about and planned, before a single question is written (Brace, 2008).

The aim of the questionnaire is closely linked with the overall purpose of the research. If the questionnaire is to fulfil its role properly as a means of data collection, then there are several areas that need to be analysed these include:

  • To suit the nature of the target population
  • To suit the research methods
  • To suit the research objectives
  • To collect the right kind of data
  • To aid data analysis
  • To minimise error and bias
  • To encourage accurate and full responses (Brassington and Pettitt, 2007)

There are two main types of question that can be asked in a questionnaire: open-ended questions and closed questions. This questionnaire will incorporate closed questions, this will force the respondent to choose one or more responses from a number of possible replies provided in the questionnaire (Brassington and Pettitt, 2007). The use of a focus group will be utilized to determine more in-depth reasons.

When designing a survey you must consider scale development, this is designing questions and response formats to measure the subjective properties of an object (Burns et al, 2005 pp 274).

There are four basic non-comparative scales; continuous rating scale, likert scale, staple scale and finally the semantic differential scale.

As this investigation aims to measure consumers’ perception of celebrity endorsements, the researcher has decided to use the likert scale to design the survey as it is believed this is best for measuring consumers’ attitudes. Attitude scales attempt to determine what an individual believes, perceives or feels. (Gay, 1996)

Likert scale is an effective method for obtaining consistent survey responses as it allows a participant to provide feedback that is slightly more expansive than a simple close-ended question, but that is much easier to quantify than a completely open-ended response thus creating a more reliable survey (Malik et al, 2009). However Gal et al (1994) suggest likert scales reveal little about the causes for answers’. As technology progresses, the reasons for measuring attitude may also change. It should also be taken into account that this type of scale is not developed to provide any kind of diagnostic information that shows underlying issues of concern to the individual respondents (Page-Bucci, 2003). An example of the questionnaire that will be administered can be seen in Appendix D.

The use of interviewer-administered questionnaires hold many advantages, some of these consist of being cost efficient in terms of both time and money in comparison to other qualitative methods as much information can be gathered from various people in a relatively short space of time (Kayrooz et al, 2006). A further advantage of interviewer-administered questionnaires is that the researcher is able to clear up any confusion or misinterpretation in relation to the questions thus making the data collected more valid. However despite these advantages, questionnaires do pose some limitations, Foddy (1993, cited in Kayrooz et al, 2006) states that we may not know whether our questionnaire results are due to peoples actual attitudes, beliefs, opinions, habits, interests or due to a host of other variations including people’s ‘faulty’ memory process, prior exposure to different questions, the impact of the researcher or the cultural context in which the questionnaire is administered.

Focus Group 321

The second stage of primary research involves the use of a focus group to collect further data. The use of focus groups is an appropriate choice of research method as Blumberg et al (2008 pp 208) states ‘the most common application of focus group research continues to be in the consumer arena.

Using focus groups involves gathering data using an extended, moderated discussion among a small number of selected individuals. The discussion concerns a topic introduction by a moderator who steers the participants’ discussion using pre-determined, pre-sequenced list of question areas (Thorpe and Holt. 2008).

Focus groups were selected as a primary research method as it allows participants to discuss their true feelings, anxieties and frustrations as well as depth of their convictions, in their own words. Focus groups propose the following advantages: Initially it the speed and ease at which a focus group can be conducted and analysed in a relatively short space of time. Furthermore, the group approach in focus groups allow for multi-perspectives, in which one respondent stimulates thoughts amongst other participants, and as this process continues, increasing creative insights are possible. An additional advantage is flexibility. Numerous topics can be discussed with many insights being discovered, particularly with regard to the variation in consumer behaviour in different situations. Responses that would be unlikely to emerge in a survey often come out in group interviews (Zikmund et al, 2009).

Although focus groups offer many advantages, the researcher must be aware of some of the limitations this qualitative method has. Problems with focus groups are discussed below:

Firstly, focus groups require objective, sensitive and effective moderators. It is extremely difficult for a moderator to remain completely objective about a specific topic. The focus group should not be influenced by the moderator’s opinion as this will make the results less reliable. A further limitation is the sample selected: researchers often select focus group participants with similar backgrounds and experiences thus meaning such participants are not representative of the entire target market (Zikmund et al, 2009).

Sample 565

One of the most important aspects a researcher has to considerer is how to determine an appropriate research population and a proper sampling procedure. Churchill (1995) suggests the sampling procedure can be divided into probability and non-probability sampling. Furthermore, Saunders et al (2009) explains probability sampling, as the chance of each case being selected from the population which is known. In non-probability sampling there is an assumption that there is an even distribution of characteristics within the population. Within business research it is often not possible to specify the probability that any case will be included in the sample and thus, the sample must be selected some other way (Churchill, 1995).

Probability sampling involves the selection of a sample from a population, based on the principle of randomisation or chance (Aczel and Sounderpandian, 2002). Hence, probability sampling is more complex in the sense that it can involve two different stages of sampling. Therefore, it can be considered to be more time consuming and more costly than non-probability sampling (Saunders et al, 2009). Non-probability sampling is cheaper and can be used when a sampling frame is not available. This method is utilised in a research where there is an interest of obtaining an idea of responses on ideas that people have (Churchill, 1995).

Based on this discussion, the sampling technique that will be used in this dissertation is non-probability sampling. The main argument for this is the limited time and expenses available.

When conducting non-probability sampling, the main supposition a researcher makes is that there is an even distribution of characteristics within the population. By doing this, the sample would be representative which will lead to the results being more reliable (Aczel and Sounderpandian, 2002). Additionally, non-probability sampling provides a range of alternative techniques based on the researchers’ subjective judgement an example of these are: convenience sampling, quota sampling, purposive sampling and snowball sampling (Easterby-Smith et al, 2008).

To be able to accomplish the purpose of this dissertation, the focus lies on consumers’ perception towards the sports celebrity endorsement. Therefore the sampling type that is most appropriate to investigation is quota sampling. This sampling technique will allow the researcher the ability to gain information from a respondent in the easiest way, which in this case is on campus area in Newcastle Business School (NBS), Northumbria University. Quota sample was chosen because there will be a sampling focus on students at Northumbria Business School. According to Tang et al (2002) students are more conscious about celebrities therefore this factor will allow the researcher to gain more valuable information from students. To gain a wider understanding and strengthen the representativeness of the students selected, the researcher will not just focus on student on campus and therefore will take Newcastle City Centre into consideration. Saunders et al (2009) argues that sampling is successful, when a specific number of units (quotas) for various sub-populations have been selected. In this case the main population are students at Northumbria Business School and the sub-population are students in Newcastle City Centre.

Saunders et al (2009) states that quotas may be based on population proportions: Currently in the Northumbria Business School there are 6,000 students (Independent, 2010) the researcher will have a quota to look at 0.5% of this population, which is 30 students. This quota of 30 students will be split into the two locations 15 from Northumbria Business School and 15 from Newcastle City Centre. Following on from this stage of the research, it is intended that a further 5 respondents will participate in a focus group.

Primary Research Analysis 106

The data analysis method in which the researcher will be adopting to analyse the primary research findings from the focus group is content analysis. Saunders et al (2007 pp 479) maintains a general set of procedures involved to analyse qualitative data, these include ‘Categorisation, unitising data, recognising relationships and developing and testing theories to reach conclusions.’ The initial stage ‘categorisation’ requires organising the data collected into meaningful categories, whilst ‘unitising’ data will select key ‘bits’ of the data to place in the appropriate category. Data will then be analysed to establish any relationships between the responses and test them against academic theory to determine whether the primary data correlates. (Saunders et al, 2007 pp 479-83)

Primary research: Advantages 68

The main advantage of carrying out primary research is that the data is relevant; the data is specifically collected for the particular project at hand. This means that they are more consistent with specific research questions and research objectives. Moreover, if we want to know about people’s attitudes, intentions and buyer behaviour for a particular brand or product, only primary research can obtain the answers to these questions (Ghauri et al, 2005).

Primary Research Limitations 115

Conducting primary research has enabled the researcher to gain a broader insight into the research area, although many constraints are faced when gathering primary data.

Saunders et al (2007 pp 318) illustrates that the major limitations when using focus groups interviews consist of interviewer and interviewee bias. Although the researcher was not aware of any bias occurring through out the focus group, it is an issue that needs to be considered as bias can affect the validity of the data collected thus making it less reliable. Also by conducting focus groups there is a limited amount of participants involved meaning it is harder to generalised results gathered as the sample may not be representative of the whole population.

Ethical Issues 233

As primary research is being conducted in this investigation, it is imperative that the researcher ensures the ethical issues of each participant were taken into consideration. Cooper and Schindler (2008) provide an explanation on ethics in research as ‘the goal of ethics in research is to ensure that no one is harmed or suffers adverse consequences from research activities’ this can be done by gaining informed consent from each participant. Informed consent ‘means explaining to potential participants the purposes and nature of the research so they can freely choose whether or not to become involved.’ (Code of Ethical Conduct, cited in Bryman et al, 2007).

The author was sure to gain informed consent before the questionnaire and the focus group where completed (Appendix E). In order to do this, an introduction section was included, informing the participants exactly how their answers would be used. As participants knew exactly what they would be doing and why, the chance of deception was eliminated. This also stressed the right to withdrawal from the study at any point. The right to anonymity was observed by not asking for names on the questionnaire, the only personal data requested was age and gender of the participant. The author also ensured that no vulnerable adults or persons under the age of eighteen years olds participated in the primary research in accordance with Northumbria University’s ethical guidelines for undergraduate students. When writing up the study, findings are reported accurately and honestly to avoid ambiguity.

Chapter Summary 93

The methodology chapter has discussed both secondary and primary research methods, with the researcher outlining key reasons why it is necessary to utilise both research methods to meet the aims and objectives of the investigation. Advantages and limitations of both the research techniques were also explored, with the researcher highlighting and justifying the primary research methods used. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods proved to be the most appropriate in relation to the research study. In addition ethical issues were also considered, and how the researcher plans to analyse the primary data collected.

Introduction 144

This chapter provides analysis of respondents’ answers to both the questionnaire and the focus group in terms of their components. General observations will be made of the findings and tentative conclusions presented. The results will also be examined in terms of the literature review, where a more complete discussion of the research is provided in the context of existing knowledge and information.

The chapter begins by summarising the response rate for the questionnaire and provides demographic information of respondents. This helps put the questionnaire into context.

Next analysis from the research is presented, highlighting the perceived relative importance of the research components, with the aim of answering the research question. In which a discussion examining these findings within the context of the extant literature. Answers to these form the basis of fulfilling the research objectives and formulation of recommendations concerning outcomes from the investigation. Raw data from the survey and focus group is given in Appendix F.

Celebrity Versus Non-Celebrity Results 52

The results show that 90% of respondents either strongly agree or agree with the statement that celebrity endorsements are more effective than non-celebrity when advertising a reason for this according to the focus group is that an advert ‘would gain more attention and create awareness with a celebrity in it’.

Celebrity Versus Non-Celebrity Discussion 47

Figure 4.1, from the investigation shows that celebrity endorsers are perceived as more effective than non-celebrity advertisers by the respondents of the questionnaire. This outcome agrees with the extant literature that celebrity endorsements has a positive impact on consumers that can increase the likelihood of brand purchase (Friedman et al, 1977; Gardener and Schuman, 1986; Agrawal and Kamukura,1995; and Atkin and Block, 1983)

Attributes Results 28

Which factors from the literature review affect the consumers’ motivation to purchase a product/brand that is endorsed by a sports celebrity, which attributes are associated with each celebrity?

Compatibility with Product 92

Figure 4.2. Graph showing each celebrity’s compatibility with the product endorsed.

As the graph (Figure 4.2) indicates 46.7% of respondents did not think that Tiger Woods was compatible with his endorsed brand (Tag Heure), whereas 76.7% of respondents perceived Roger Federer as being compatible with brand endorsed (Wilson). Participants of the focus group believed that out of the three advert shown, advert one (Appendix C) was the most effective because the advert ‘actually involved sport and it was sports celebrity’s advertising it’. Therefore, a possible reason for Roger Federer’s high product compatibility is the fact the he is a sports celebrity endorsing a sports brand.

Credibility 214

Figure 4.3. Graph showing each celebrity’s perceived intelligence

The results in Figure 4.3 reveal that 53.3% of participants disagree that David Beckham is an intellectual celebrity compared to 43.3% that agree with Tiger Woods being intellectual. The focus group brought up the fact that they think a sports celebrity should endorse sporting products ‘If it’s not sports related how can they be credible?’

Figure 4.4. Graph showing the comparison of compatibility with product against intelligence

As it can be seen from Figure 4.4 David Beckham has the lowest perceived intelligence with an average rating of 2.17 however he has a relatively high average with 3.87 for compatibility with product. In comparison to this Tiger Woods has a higer perceived intelligence with 3.03 than his compatibility with the product at 2.87. This could indicate that intelligence does not effect a consumers perception of the celebrity’s compatibility with the product endorsed. However Roger Federed has the highest perceived intelligence at 3.47 along with the highest compatibility with the product at 4.57, although there is slight variation in results his higher intelligence correlates with a higher product compatibility.

Linking in with intelligence is expertise, here 56.7% of respondents think that an advert is more believable if the celebrity is an expert in that field. The focus group offered that believablity was something they rated highly amongst celebrity endorsements ‘it [Advert 3] just isn’t believable, therefore isn’t good’

Power 118

Figure 4.6. Graph showing each celebrity’s perceived persuasiveness

Figure 4.6 shows that 53.3% and 46.7% of respondents perceive David Beckham and Roger Federer respectively as being persuasive opposed to 40% believing that Tiger Woods is not persuasive.

Figure 4.7. Graph showing the comparison of compatibility with product against persuasiveness

Looking at Figure 4.7 it is evident that Tiger Woods has the lowest average perceived persuasiveness at 2.80 correlating with the lowest average compatibility with product at 2.87. However there is a slight anomaly as David Beckham has the highest perceived persuasiveness at 4.07 but not the highest product compatibility at 3.87 in which Roger Federer has the highest compatibility with 4.57. Although Roger Federer’s persuasiveness average is high at 3.90 it does not fit with the trend that the higher the persuasiveness the higher the compatibility with product.

Attractiveness 412

Figure 4.8. Graph showing each celebrity’s perceived attractiveness

As the results indicate David Beckham is perceived as the most ‘handsome’ of the three celebrities with 66.7% strongly agreeing, but similarly Roger Federer and Tiger Woods also received 40% and 36.7% respectively of participants agreeing they were both handsome/beautiful. Findings from the focus group indicate that although attractiveness would not motivate them to buy the product, ‘if the celebrity was better looking I would have paid more attention.’

Figure 4.9. Graph showing each celebrity’s perceived friendliness

Figure 4.9 suggests that a majority of respondents find each of the celebrities ‘friendly’. The results indicate that that 60% of respondents agree that David Beckham is friendly along with 53.3% agreeing that Roger Federer is also friendly. The Focus group added that ‘if people like the celebrity and want to be more like that celebrity they will be more likely to buy products they are advertising.’

Figure 4.10. Graph showing each celebrity’s’ perceived familiarity

The results here are fairly unanimous with 93.3% of respondents strongly agreeing that David Beckham is well known, along with him 73.3% and 80% strongly agreed to Tiger Woods and Roger Federer respectively being well known.

Figure 4.11. Graph showing each celebrity’s perceived similarity with consumer

These findings suggest that the celebrities used to endorse the brands are not comparable with the consumer; with 46.7% of respondents disagreeing with the statement that Tiger Woods was comparable with them. In addition to this 40% and 36.7% of respondents also disagreed that David Beckham and Roger Federer were comparable with the consumer. It was brought up in the focus group that when David Beckham endorsed ‘Predator’ football boots individuals ‘wanted to buy them so they could be more like him’ opposed to him being comparable with individual.

Figure 4.12. Graph showing the comparision of compatibility with product against attractiveness

The results in Figure 4.12 reveal that Tiger Woods has the lowest average perceived attractiveness at 3.10 correlating to a low average product compatibility of 2.87.However, Roger Federer’s high product compatibility does not have a strong correlation with an average attractiveness rating of 3.90. David Beckham has the highest perceived attractiveness with an average score of 4.07, this result could be due to the fact that David Beckham is endorsing an ‘attractive’ product and therefore David Beckham is perceived more attractive.

This graph indicates that 50% of respondents agree that advertisements featuring an attractive celebrity have a positive impact on personal opinions of the brand advertised. According to the results from the focus group the use of attractive celebrities in advertisements ‘matters to women more’ and in relation to Wayne Rooney’s PowerAde endorsement were he was labelled as ‘ugly’ one respondent stated that it comes down to ‘what he’s good at.’

Attributes Discussion 92

Section 4.5 from the study illustrates the level of agreement of each attribute attached to the specified celebrity according to the participants of the survey. The attributes discussed are developed from Kelman (1961) ‘Source Attributes’.

As illustrated in Figure 4.2 Roger Federer had the high perceived compatibility with the product, the author believes a reason for this that he is a sports celebrity endorsing a sports product, this would support the match up theory, this states that the effectiveness of an advertisement depends on the appropriate match between an endorser and the product/brand (Friedman and Friedman, 1979; Atkin and Block, 1983; Till and Busler, 1998; Till and Shimp, 1998; Walker, 1992; Solomon, 2008; Kahle and Homer, 1985; and Ohanian, 1991).

Credibility 131

Section 4.5.2 from this chapter looks at Kelman (1961) Source Credibility. Figure 4.4 shows the comparison of compatibility with product against intelligence which to some extent agrees with the literature. Although the findings show that some of the celebrities have a lower perceived intelligence than their product compatibility, the anomaly in the results could be due to the fact that David Beckham has a persona of not being ‘intelligent’ however if David Beckham were to endorse football boots he would be seen as an ‘expert’ in that area. Figure 4.5 suggests that an advert is more believable if the celebrity is an expert in that field. These finding however correlate with the literature that a ‘celebrity spokespeople are more effective when they are knowledgeable, experienced and qualified to talk about the product’ (Ohanian, 1990; Belch and Belch, 2009)

Power 63

Section 4.5.3 relates to Kelman (1961) research of Source Power. Figure 4.7 demonstrates the comparison of compatibility with product against persuasiveness which has relatively high correlation that the higher the persuasiveness the higher product compatibility. The findings agree with review of literature that ‘the receiver accepts the persuasive influence of the source and acquiesces to their position in hope of obtaining a favourable reaction’ (Belch and Belch, 2009).

Attractiveness 127

Section 4.5.4 examines Kelman’s (1961) investigation into Source Attractiveness. Figure 4.12 suggests that there is a correlation between attractiveness and compatibility with product which supports Figure 4.13 which indicates that advertising featuring an ‘attractive’ celebrity has a positive impact on the brand. The results support the view of Ohanian (1990) that ‘receivers of persuasive communications are more likely to attend to and identify with individuals they find attractive.’ However Figure 4.11 dismisses extant literature as Belch and Belch state that ‘individuals are more likely to be influenced by a message coming from someone with whom they feel a sense of similarity’ but the result disagree with this statement, a possible reason for this discrepancy is that individuals may aspire to be like the celebrity opposed to finding them similar.

Buyer Behaviour Results 259

Figure 4.14 suggests that 53.3% of respondents agree that a celebrity appearing in an advertisement would motivate their decision to purchase. The findings from the focus group however believe that it motivates certain individuals more than others ‘women and children’ although not all women, just ‘women up to a certain age.’ And once again ‘it depends if it is a sports product or not’ that is being endorsed by the sports celebrity.

In graph 4.15 the results show that 50% of participants agreed that negative information about the celebrity would have an affect on their opinion of the brand. If this is compared with figure 6 and Tiger Woods a potential reason for his low persuasiveness is the negative information now attached to his name ‘two women are set to go public with claims that they had affairs with the world’s highest-earning sportsman’ (Goddard, 2009). However, results from the focus group signify that ‘if I liked the product, I would buy the product regardless of who was endorsing it and what they had done’ meaning that negative information would not effect the perception of the brand.

The graph above (Figure 4.16) shows a discretion in the results, as 26.7% of respondents both disagree and agree with the statement that negative information would impact on future purchase decisions of the advertised brands, although when analysing the focus group findings they were not effected by negative information of the celebrity ‘if it was the best product, I would still buy it, I wouldn’t not buy it because of what the celebrity had done.’

Buyer Behaviour Discussion 269

The results from Figure 4.14 strongly suggest that a celebrity appearing in an advert would motivate the consumers decision to purchase, this supports Erdogan (1999) argument that ‘celebrities attract consumers’ attention with their appealing status which organisation feel will benefit the products awareness,’ Awareness can be linked into the initial stage of the consumer decision process ‘need arousal’ once the need has been aroused or the consumer has become aware of that need, motivation can occur. Motivation occurs when there is a strong ‘desire’ or ‘need’ for a particular product or brand that the consumer wishes to satisfy (Foxall et al, 1998).

Findings from Figure 4.15 suggest that negative information about the celebrity would affect consumers’ opinions of the brand. Relating negative information to the balance theory (Heider, 1958) ‘The evaluation of an object is affected by how the evaluation will fit with other related attitudes held by the consumer’ therefore if the consumer has negative attitudes towards the celebrity according to this theory and to ‘balance’ their thoughts they would have negative attitudes towards the brand.

Finally results from Figure 4.16 indicate that there is some ambiguity with the finding as equal amounts of respondents agree and disagree that negative information would affect future purchases of that product. If these findings are put into the context of the meaning transfer model developed by McCracken (1989) negative associations with celebrity would eventually transfer to the brand, however this does not correlate with the participants who disagree with the statement, a potential explanation for these results could be, if the consumer already likes and uses the product the negative information from a celebrity would not stop them from repurchasing.

Chapter Summary 103

This chapter aims to outline the primary findings carried out by the author, identifying important themes of sports celebrity endorsement and the influence they have on consumer’s motivation to purchase. The author has taken key quotes from the focus group participants to support findings from the questionnaire; results from the survey are produced into graphs and tables, analysing respondent’s opinions and attitudes against academic literature in order to determine whether data was consistent or presented gaps within the literature. After the analysis and discussion of the findings the author believes that sports celebrities do influence the consumers’ decision to purchase to some extent.

Introduction 83

This chapter will conclude and evaluate the findings of secondary and primary research. Both sets of data will be analysed and examined to provide a conclusion on the influences sports celebrity endorsement have on consumer’s motivation to purchase, the research question of this investigation. The author will explore key themes highlighted by academic literature together with results of primary research in order to answer the research question. Finally, limitations of the study will also be considered, whilst suggesting future research on the topic.

Celebrities Influence on Consumer Buyer Behaviour 504

Past theories indicate that celebrities are an effective form of advertising when attempting to influence consumers’ motivation to purchase. With the popularity of celebrity endorsement increasing, more organisations are utilising them as a form of brand communication (Erdogan et al, 2001)

It is apparent from primary and secondary data gathered that celebrities have the ability to attract and attain more attention when featured in an advertisement (Erdogan, 1999). Primary data concerning whether a celebrity appearing in an advert would motivate the respondents decision to purchase, supported to findings of Gardner and Shuman (1986) that fifty-three percent of respondents reported that sponsorship (endorsements) increases the likelihood of brand purchase. However it was stated that some respondents would purchase a celebrity endorsed product if they liked the product, although the endorser had no impact on their decision to purchase.

After conducting primary research, one crucial gap in the literature was the discovered; the age of the consumer. It was brought up in the focus group that children where the most easily influenced by celebrity endorsements. O’Guinn et al (2008) argued that consumers ’emulate or imitate the celebrities in which they admire’ however it does not indicate what age the consumer is. Participants think that it is children who want to be like their idols, and one respondent could only give examples of products they had bought because of a sport celebrity endorsement when they were a child. Age is an essential aspect when analysing consumers’ motivation to purchase.

A further theme developed from the research was that credibility was an important attribute when determining the effectiveness of an advert, a majority of respondents stated that an advert is more believable if the celebrity is an expert in that field. These findings tend to agree with the argument of Goldsmith et al (2000) that ‘a credible endorser has a positive effect on consumers’ attitude toward the advert as well as a positive attitude toward the brand.’ In addition to this participants supported Kamins (1990) view that source attractiveness also have a pivotal role in determining effectiveness, however a participant in the focus group stated that although Wayne Rooney is an ‘ugly’ celebrity it comes down to ‘what he’s good at’ this links back in with the credibility of the celebrity.

Negative information about celebrities had a variation of views, it was found out by the focus group that ‘if I liked the product, I would buy the product regardless of who was endorsing it, and what they have done’ however an equal amount of respondents stated negative information would affect them, so negative information would affect the brand to some degree.

Overall, sports celebrity endorsements in advertising are an effective method at influencing consumers’ purchasing behaviour, as primary and secondary research demonstrates this.

On the whole, celebrity endorsements in advertising are effective at influencing consumers into purchasing products, as secondary data and primary data obtained illustrates this, although primary data demonstrated that children are mostly influenced although with the distinct lack of literature on this topic it was difficult to verify the extent on motivation to purchase.

Limitations 231

Some of the main limitations involved in this study are discussed. One key restraint experience in this investigation was the lack of time and resource needed to ensure that the study was more effective, by using a wider range of sources and bigger sample size in order to gain a broader overview of celebrity endorsements and the motivation behind purchasing behaviour this would also enable results to be generalised.

Another concern for the author, was some of the literature was relatively dated, therefore it needs to be taken into consideration that attitudes and beliefs may have changed considerably since the work has been published. Another limitation surrounding academic perspectives on consumer buyer behaviour, is that age is not something that is focused on, this could be due to the fact that it is a sensitive area, although this is something important when considering the impact of celebrity endorsements

Finally, when conducting the focus group, it was evident that the researcher did not have the necessary skills to gather the appropriate data, and often the group lacked focus. Also as the primary research was all researcher administered, it must be taken into consideration that there is a chance of ‘response bias’ where the respondent answers the question in a way they think the researcher wants them to answers rather than their true beliefs, this could have affected the reliability of the results.

Future Research Recommendations 58

It is apparent that age has an important role when examining consumers’ motivation to purchase, so future research into the area of celebrity endorsement should explore in greater detail the effects age has on motivation to purchase. Also if the researcher had more time it would have been interesting to see comparisons of other celebrities against sports celebrities.

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