Benefits and Disadvantages of Celebrity Endorsement

From the perspectives already presented it is notable that though celebrity endorsements bear some benefits to the entity’s marketing strategy, they are also associated with a number of costs and potential pitfalls. First, the benefits using celebrity endorsers are evaluated. Use of celebrities could at the foremost make advertisements in which they appear to stand out amongst other advertisements (Erdogan, 1999). In this regard, it is noted that celebrity endorsements bear more potential to increase the advertisement ratings and the associated product trials than third party organization’s endorsements (Dean and Biswas, 2001). Supporting this view Menon, Boone and Rogers (2001) find out that consumers generally view celebrities to be “more attractive than non-celebrities”, a factor that is argued to initially draw the audience’s attention to the advertisement (P. 8). Thus By using celebrities the firms are postulated to promote the viewership of their adverts hence enhancing the communicative process – an aspect that could find application for instance when the entity’s image is tarnished (Erdogan, 1999).

Secondly, by designing a product around a chosen celebrity an instant personality and appeal for the product can be developed (Dickenson, 1996; Creswell, 2008). This could at times prove successful by giving a new product “immediate fame and borrowed interest” (Dickenson, 1996). For existing products whose initial positioning strategy did not work well; celebrity endorsement could be used to develop new positioning (Erdogan, 1999). Creswell (2008) gives an example of such a situation involving a Cincinnati based umbrella manufacturer – Totes Isotoner. Despite having halted their celebrity endorsement strategy after a sour experience; the company was forced to partner with Rihanna – the umbrella hit song artist – for products that bore the artist’s personality features (Creswell, 2008). Though the economic benefit from the relationship was never quantified the entity noted the partnership with the singer to have been “invaluable” (Creswell, 2008).

Thirdly; celebrity endorsements is arguably a powerful strategy with which to penetrate foreign markets (Erdogan, 1999). In a world where cultural diversity has been argued to influence business outcomes (Ghemawat, 2007), celebrities who enjoy global popularity are argued to mitigate the effect of cultural barriers (Erdogan, 1999). Erdogan (1999) for instance contends that Pizza Hut International global marketing strategy was far much aided by its use of worldwide-recognized celebrities. In an earlier study however; it had been proposed that cultural meanings rather that attractiveness of the endorser were a better predictor of celebrity effectiveness (McCracken, 1989).

On the drawback side, use of celebrity endorsers also features on a number of counts. First among these arises where the celebrity image changes dramatically such as when negative information is unearthed (Erdogan, 1999). While examining the effect of negative information; Till and Shimp (1998) contend that such does not only adversely affect the celebrity’s reputation amongst the consumers, but also influences the audience’s perception of the brand being endorsed. Amos, Homes and Strutton (2008) find negative information to have the largest influence on the effectiveness of use of celebrities in advertising. Erdogan (1999) further notes that in some cases when the celebrity endorser is embroiled in controversy s/he might disappear from the media coverage thus curtailing the endorsement campaign before the contractual term is seen through.

A second shortcoming with the celebrity endorsement marketing strategy is a concern raised by Rossiter and Fercy (1987) in their book “Advertising and promotion management.” It is argued that consumers could focus more on the celebrity attributes and fail to notice the brand being endorsed (Rossiter & Fercy 1987). In one study in India it was for instance noted that more than 80 percent of those surveyed recalled the celebrity but not the brand being endorsed (Khatri, 2006, p. 29). When such is the case then the endorsement would fail to generate the associated benefits such as purchase intentions (Erdogan, 1999).

Thirdly, a concern arises with celebrity’s use in multiple products or brands. Tripp, Jensen and Carlson (1994) for instance noted that “as the number of products endorsed increases consumers’ perceptions of celebrity credibility, celebrity likability and attitude toward the ad become less favorable” (p. 535). Such indicates that when a celebrity endorses many products the perception of the product’s attributes may be curtailed with the view that the endorsement has more to do with compensation than product qualities (Tripp, et al., 1994). The overall effect of multiple product endorsement by the same celebrity thus could be minimizing the distinctive association of a celebrity with a specific brand hence disadvantageous (Mowen & Brown, 1981, as cited in Erdogan, 1999). Despite such varied indications that celebrity endorsement could be disadvantageous a lot of research has focussed on how celebrity endorsements lead to the associated consumer behaviour. Go to part 5 here.

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