Celebrity Endorsement as a Marketing Strategy

Abstract

To better their brand image and establish it among the consumers, companies are involved in various market communication activities. One such activity is the use of celebrities to endorse the entity’s products. This paper intended to assess whether use of celebrity endorsement is a prudent marketing strategy by reviewing literature on the topic. Literature on effectiveness of celebrity endorsers and how celebrity endorser-effects are transmitted to the customers was reviewed. From the analysis of literature the paper proposes that future research should incorporate more dimensions effectiveness to bridge the gap between research and practice.

Keywords: Celebrity, Endorsement, Branding, Market Communications

Introduction

One challenge that a firm’s marketing strategy strives to overcome is how to effectively communicate its brand to the customers. To better their marketing communication strategy firms have historically used and continue to use celebrities to endorse their products. Through endorsements the firm’s intentions are to associate their brands and the corporation with the attractive and likeable qualities of the celebrities (Erdogan, 1999). Apart from such association; celebrities’ fame serves as one of the ways through which the entity’s products are constantly brought to the attention of the consumers thus helping in the product recall when making purchasing decisions (Erdogan, 1999). Being such a useful marketing tool celebrities from sports personalities, through artists to recognized media personalities have been employed to market a diverse range of products (Creswell, 2008).

Despite such positive effects of celebrity endorsement; potential hazards exists with its use as a brand communication strategy. Pegging the success of the strategy on a single celebrity could for instance prove disastrous when the celebrity misdemeanour is exposed (Erdogan, 1999). Just as the fame of the celebrity helps maintain constant attention to the product; so would the negative publicity be widespread and damaging when a celebrity’s behaviour contrary to that expected is brought to the attention of the media. Recently cases (Tiger woods, John Terry, Kobe Bryant) have shown that relying on a celebrity to market ones brand could at times prove fatal. Such and other risks associated with celebrity endorsements have elicited inquiry into whether use of celebrity to promote a product or brand is a prudent marketing strategy.

Overall however, celebrity endorsement is a practice that continues to be used by many firms in their marketing strategy. This paper thus aims to assess whether use of celebrity endorsement is a prudent marketing strategy by reviewing literature on the topic. Effectiveness of celebrity advertisement, the benefits and disadvantages of such endorsements, and mechanisms via which celebrity endorsement is thought to drive its effects are considered. Following the literature review an analysis is made to evaluate how the literature presented best informs on the use or non-use of celebrity endorsers with the deficiencies in literature being identified as possible topics for future research. Finally in the conclusion; a summary of the factors discussed on whether the use of celebrity endorsement is a prudent marketing strategy is presented. Go to part 2 here.

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