The Why and How of Celebrity Endorsements!

Matching a product with a suitable celebrity endorser is a cumbersome task as a large number of associations related to personal and professional spheres of life are attached to a celebrity. 

The existing research provides guidance for matching a product category with a celebrity but the present match-up studies have a limitation of covering only a limited number of associations and product categories.
Nevertheless, there are additional celebrity associations which have not been explored earlier in the context of match-up hypothesis. Thus, there is a need to move beyond the frequently probed associations and develop a framework that matches a complete range of celebrity associations with various product categories in order to extend the implications of the endorsement process. 

How do celebrity endorsements work?

McCracken’s (1989) meaning transfer model states that the celebrities stand for a variety of meanings to the consumers. The symbolic meanings associated with a celebrity are transferred onto the brand that the celebrities endorse through advertising and marketing communications. Further, these meanings are then transferred from the celebrities to the consumers when they select brands that communicate their self-concept, ultimately forming a self-brand connection.

Erdogan (1999) confers that the match between the celebrity image and the product attributes increases the effectiveness of the endorser and the advertisement.

What goes on in the minds of consumers? 

Consumers accumulate knowledge about celebrities over time, related to their skills, achievements, profession, physical appearance, public image etc., and put it into their celebrity relevant schema.

If they find the celebrity–product link to be congruent with the existing schemas, it leads to reinforcement of existing information and better results of endorsement in terms of advertising effectiveness and brand attitude (Lien, Chou, & Chang, 2012; Lynch & Schuler, 1994; McCormick, 2016). 

On the other hand, if there is a perceived mismatch then it may lead to negative consumer evaluation of the product and weaken consumer purchase intentions.

Take-away from the research—

The implications of the study can benefit Indian companies as well as the international companies that want to target India or other similar emerging markets. As suggested by the match-up hypothesis, the marketers should match the celebrity associations with the product category. Further, this study would help the celebrities find suitable products for their endorsements and hence, avoid a mismatch that may dilute the celebrity’s image. 

—Taken from The Match-up Between Celebrity Associations and Product Type in Journal of Creative Communications.


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