Celebrity endorsement – future research & conclusion

With the presented analysis of literature it is proposed that more focus should be placed on the development of better measures of celebrity effectiveness. While most research findings have not supported the continued use of celebrity endorsers, reported practice indicates that celebrity endorsement is an ‘invaluable’ tool in marketing when well managed Creswell (2008). This then implies a gap between research and practice and calls for evaluation of why such is the case. To better the use of evidence based practices in marketing, it is thus proposed that future research should factor in other aspects such as measures that ensure “the multidimensional nature of the celebrity source effects [are] addressed more efficiently” (Amos, et al., 2008). Research use other measures of effectiveness could also validate or invalidate the current knowledge on whether firms should continue or discontinue the use of celebrities.

Conclusion

Entities must continually develop innovative ways of communicating their brands to prospective customers. One way through which firms have traditionally established and conveyed their brand image is the use of celebrities to endorse their products. By doing this the entities’ aim is to convert the celebrities image meanings into their brand meanings that customers can readily identify with thus improve their sales. This paper thus intended to evaluate whether use of celebrity endorsement is a prudent marketing strategy by reviewing literature on the topic. Literature on effectiveness of celebrity endorsers and mechanisms of transfer of celebrity endorsement effects were considered.

From the literature review two main measures of effectiveness were identified. The first of these was in regard to relative effectiveness in comparison with other types of endorsers whereas the second was effectiveness as a measure of value creation. On the first measure most of the literature reviewed has not supported the continued use of celebrity endorsers with findings that non-celebrity users could be just as effective as celebrities. Since celebrities’ use prove a costly venture and the non-celebrities are advanced to be more manageable it would be more economical to use the non-celebrities. The second measure of effectiveness however reveals celebrities to play a role in the marketing strategy as a means of value creation for the entity.

Secondly literature was reviewed on how celebrity effects are conveyed to the product. Accordingly source effects model, match-up model and meanings transfer model were identified. In the source effects category perceived endorser credibility was noted to influence consumers’ attitudes towards the advertisement and the brand and their intentions to purchase the product. Perceived credibility was noted to be further influenced by trustworthiness, perceived expertise and attractiveness; factors that could also influence effectiveness independently rather than through their contribution to credibility. Finally a source effect with regard to endorser’s performance was also noted to affect effectiveness though to a lesser extent than the other factors.

Unrelated to source effects, two other models of how endorsements work were evaluated. First the match-up theory where the degree of ‘fit’ between the celebrity and the product being endorsed directly affect effectiveness was evaluated. Secondly a meanings transfer model where innate meanings are transferred from the celebrity to the product then to the consumers was considered.

Weaknesses in the first two models and the gap established between research findings and current practice after the analysis of literature conducted informed the proposals for future research. It has been advanced that to better the applicability of research to practice far more aspects should be incorporated into the measures of effectiveness.

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