Saturday, September 29, 2012

Select Celebrity Endorsers Who Fit

This month’s issue of the professional journal Psychology & Marketing is wholly devoted to research about celebrity endorsements. Here are tips for retailers based on the findings reported in the articles, along with my fine-tuning of the tips based on other research:
  • Researchers at Michigan State University and Korea University say that the closer the match between the celebrity image and the shopper’s ideal self-image, the more effective is the endorsement. In many cases, the ability of the celebrity to violate expectations is what shoppers consider to be attractive. The shopper’s ideal self would do that. This argues for using edgy celebrities and for featuring that edginess in ads. 
  • A match between the nature of the product or service and the acknowledged expertise of the celebrity is helpful. Researchers at University of Cergy-Pontoise, BEM Bordeaux Management School, and market research firm CSA, all in France, say the degree of this match is as important as the degree of likeability of the celebrity in influencing consumer behavior. Good business judgment suggests that you don’t want your celebrity endorser also pitching your competition’s items. But from the standpoint of believability, it doesn’t hurt, and if the celebrity endorser stops touting the competition and starts praising you, that equates to bonus points. 
  • University of Leeds, University of Kent, and University of Sheffield researchers explored what happens to the power of a celebrity endorsement when the celebrity misbehaves. An extramarital affair, a DUI, a lapse in “professional integrity.” Reports of each of these were presented to a sample of Millennials. As you’d expect, there was indeed a deterioration in the celebrity’s endorsement credibility. It didn’t make much difference if the news of the transgression came in the form of the celebrity confessing, a journalist’s report on the matter, or news of unconfirmed rumors. A couple of years ago, marketing agency Zeta Interactive said that the amount of positive internet buzz about both bicyclist Lance Armstrong and Radio Shack simultaneously dropped dramatically. RadioShack had retained Mr. Armstrong as a celebrity endorser. Zeta Interactive attributed the drop to suspicions Mr. Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during races. 
  • Researchers at Augusta State University in Georgia and Murdoch University, Curtin University, and La Trobe University, in Australia, note how reality TV shows have elevated unknowns to celebrity status. This creates a pool of people who might fit more nicely into a retailer’s marketing budget than bigger name talents. 
Click below for more: 
Expect Non-Compete Endorsements 
Sweep Millennial Women Off Their Feet 
Select Celebrity Endorsers Who Have Credibility 
Update Keeping Up with the Joneses

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