Celebrity endorsement – literature review

Use of celebrities to endorse firms’ products has been a marketing practice that has been used for many years. In the late nineteenth century for instance Queen Victoria was used to familiarize Cadbury’s Cocoa to potential customers (Sherman, 1985, as cited in Erdogan, 1999). With the advent of cinemas, radio advertising in the 1930s and TV advertising in the 1950s the use of celebrity endorsement as a marketing strategy increased (McDonough, 1995, as cited in Gaied & Rached, 2010). Though initially the supply of stars for endorsement was limited for fear of wrecking their images with endorsements, eventually – in the 1970s – this supply increased due to a fading perception of shame in commercial exploitation (Erdogan, 1999).

As marketers moved to capitalise on the celebrity appeal, the use of celebrities to promote products became well rooted. It is for instance advanced that celebrity endorsement rose from an estimate slightly above 15 percent in 1979 to approximately 25 percent of all advertisement by the year 1997 (Gaied & Rached, 2010; Phang & de Run, 2007; Erdogan, 1999). While in the U.S it was estimated that celebrity endorsers accounted for 25 percent of all commercials by the year 2000 (Shrimp, 2000 as cited in Phang & de Run, 2007); it appears that Japan had surpassed these levels earlier with the 1998 estimates of 70 percent demonstrating the widespread use of the strategy (Kilburn, 1998, as cited in Hsu & McDonald, 2002). Currently use of celebrities in advertisement has turned to a wide range of products with media such as the Internet furthering the practice (Creswell, 2008). Further the practice has advanced from the use of one celebrity to the use of multiple celebrities for a single brand (Hsu & McDonald, 2002); with the enormous amounts being spent on the practice suggesting that firms might not do without the input of some celebrity endorsers (Khatri, 2006). Go to part 3 here.

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