How do celebrity endorsements impact the brand image?

By Priya Chetty on July 1, 2014

People love to watch the celebrities, get to read about them, imitate them and this attitude is what has been the motivating factor for advertisers to rely on celebrity endorsements. Celebrities can be classified on the basis of their work area– musicians, sportsperson, actors, models, economists, businessmen, politicians (Banytė, J et all 2011). Celebrity endorsement has become a staple in today’s market.  Celebrity endorsements have been a common advertising tool for decades now. Products varying from cosmetics to automobiles is endorsed by celebrities. The endorsements done by celebrities often lead to an increase in sales of the product. Approximately 20 percent of advertisements feature an endorsement and in some countries, this number can reach as high as 45 percent (Bowman 2010). They draw attention towards advertising messages and also help the customers to retain the message (Banytė, J et all 2011).

Endorsing celebrities in the advertisements means attracting a huge number of eyeballs and further resulting into a hike in the number of sales unit of the product. One more solid reason for using the celebrities in advertising is the possibility to eliminate or reduce the effects of cultural interference in international or global markets (Banytė, J et all 2011).

Credibility & trustworthiness are the influencing factors

‘Credibility is the extent to which the recipient sees the source as having relevant knowledge, skills or experience and trusts the source to give unbiased and objective information’ (Belch & Belch, 1994).

Celebrities are considered as trustworthy sources of information (Goldsmith et al, 2000) and ‘the credibility of a celebrity is described as the total amount of positive features that create and increase the acceptation of the message‘ (Erdogan, 1999). It is the credibility of the celebrities that leads them to endorse products. The customers trust the celebrities they see and admire the most. They feel connected to the celebrity and try to become like the celebrities and they become their role-model. Credibility is majorly needed when people have a negative picture of the brand and the company wants to change that perception with a powerful statement or a powerful celebrity to endorse the product.

There are many popular examples of celebrity endorsements and most of them turned out to be a great success (Mukherjee, D, 2009). Versace, the Italian luxury brand used Madonna (the music icon), Demi Moore (Hollywood Actor) and Halle Berry (Hollywood Actor) in its print advertisements in 2005-2006 (Mukherjee, D , 2009). The football star; Sir David Beckham endorses products for Adidas, Pepsi, H&M and Samsung (Pepsico, official website, Forbes, june 2013, website). These celebrities are the most widely admired celebrities and accelerate sales.

Do celebrity endorsements actually enhance the brand image?

In order to conceptualize a successful blueprint of the brand endorsement, many research suggest to understand the connection among the brands, customers and celebrities (Mukherjee, D, 2009). This would help the company to understand which celebrity to use for which product.

Endorsing multiple brands can either be a bane or a boon. If a celebrity endorses numerous  brands, the effect of the message through the advertisements soon wears off as its weight-age in the mind of the customer decreases (McCracken, 1989). The customer might end up thinking that the celebrity doesn’t like the brand or the product and is doing so only to add to his bank account (Belch & Belch, 2001).

Another way of looking at the endorsements can be on the basis of the change in the image of the celebrity. Tiger Woods, one of the most popular sportsperson got into a scandal in 2009, which ruined his public image. He used to endorse Nike, one of the prime sportswear company.  The company decided not to abandon Woods after the scandal. This decision had a foul impact on its sales. Nike’s sales went down by $1.7 million and it also lost almost 105,000 customers (CBS news, Official website).

It is believed that an organization must go through brainstorming sessions before it settles for a celebrity to endorse their product. This is because the customers remember the brand through the celebrity who endorses it. This furthermore explains that a company must be consistent and have a long term commitment with the celebrities.


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