Imapct factor(SJIF): 6.56
A Refereed Monthly International Journal of Management
Dr. Manish Mittal
Professor, Acropolis Faculty of Management & Research, Indore
M-29 Khatiwala Tank
Mittal Niwas, 1st floor
Opp. Sangam apartments
Indore 452001 MP
Attractiveness of Celebrity Endorsed advertisements, Brand Acceptance, Brand Recall and Buying Behavior: An Empirical Study
Celebrity endorsements are the advertisements in which any individual who enjoys public recognition uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing in it. Celebrities like movie actors, sports persons, television stars are widely used by marketers in advertisements to influence brand choice behavior of consumers. They have demographic and psychological connect with the target audience and hence are often employed by advertisers to lend their personality to a product or brand The study investigates whether celebrity endorsements make such advertisements more appealing to the consumers and whether they have positive influence on brand choice & buying behavior. It is based on primary data collected with the help of a self administered, structured closed ended questionnaire from residents of Indore city in central India during November –December, 2016. The data analysis tools included frequency analysis, Descriptive analysis and one sample test of means (t test) and correlation (Pearson’s) analysis. Linear Regression analysis was employed to measure the relationship between advertisement attractiveness, brand acceptance & recall and consumer’s buying behavior. The analysis of data was carried out using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 20.0 for Windows. The results of the study provides evidences that the consumers find celebrity endorsed advertisements as attractive, attention grabbing, effective and have positive influence on brand acceptance & recall. Celebrity endorsements were not found to have a positive influence on buying behavior of the consumers. The present study also indicates that consumers do not find celebrity endorsed advertisements to be believable and trustworthy and they are skeptical about the information provided in them. These findings suggest that there is a need of rethinking on the part of advertisers in the way the celebrities are used and projected in the advertisements to elicit favorable purchase intention responses.
Keywords: Celebrity endorsement, Advertisement, Brand Acceptance, Brand Recall, Buying Behavior.
Attractiveness of Celebrity Endorsed advertisements, Brand Acceptance, Brand Recall and Buying Behavior: An Empirical Study
Celebrities are people who enjoy public recognition by a large share of a certain group of people, have huge fan following and enjoy media attention. Celebrity endorsements are the advertisements in which any individual who enjoys public recognition uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing in it (McCracken, 1989). Celebrities like movie actors, sports persons, television stars are widely used by marketers in advertisements to influence brand choice behavior of consumers (Shimp, 2003). They have demographic and psychological connect with the target audience and hence are often employed by advertisers to lend their personality to a product or brand (Kaikati, 1987). The goal of advertisement strategy is the persuasion of customers to take buying decision in favor of advertised brand or product. Consumers, today, have become extremely sophisticated, selective & educated. Having a good product alone is not enough to sustain & grow in the highly competitive markets. Advertisers use celebrities to attract customers. Marketers worldwide are spending millions of dollars to rope in celebrities to promote their brands to influence consumer’s perceptions, attitudes & intentions (Mishra, Roy & Bailey, 2015).
Celebrity endorsement advertising has been recognized as a “ubiquitous feature of modern day marketing” (McCracken, 1989). Celebrities act as spokespersons in advertising to promote products and services (Kambitsis, Yvonne, Nicholas and Giannis, 2002; Tom, Clark, Elmer, Grech, Masetti & Sandhar, 1992). Advertisers prefer celebrity endorsement because of its greater benefits and immense possible influence. Celebrities endorsed advertisements draw more attention as compared to those of non-celebrity ones. Celebrity endorsements have been found to be effective in changing consumer’s attitude and help the company in re-positioning its product/brand (Atkin & Block, 1983; Petty & Cacioppo, 1983). They have been found to produce more positive responses toward advertising, influencing believability and credibility of advertisement, increasing barnd recall and recognition (Misra & Beatty, 1990) and greater purchase intentions (Amos, Holmes & Strutton, 2008; Erdogan, 1999; Atkin & Block, 1983) than a non-celebrity endorser. On the other side many studies have been critical about the use of celebrity endorsements. Celebrity endorsements are expensive. Endorsement fees are hitting the ceilings consistently. Other disadvantages include overexposure of celebrity, overshadowing the product, public controversy and change of celebrity image, incorrect brand celebrity match etc (Erdogan, 1999).
The objective of the present study is to investigate whether celebrity endorsements make such advertisements more appealing to the consumers and whether they have positive influence on brand choice & buying behavior. The remainder of paper is structured as follows. The next section provides a literature review on celebrity endorsements and their effectiveness. This is followed by a section on the research methodology of the study. The next section provides data analysis & its results. The paper ends with conclusions & discussions.
Use of celebrity to endorse brands and Improving corporate & brand image is a common feature of marketing communications strategy of major firms & corporate houses. Almost one quarter of all advertisements globally use a celebrity to promote a product or brand (Shimp, 1997). However this practice is not new. The first recorded celebrity endorsement was in 19th century when British actress Lille Langtry endorsed Pears soap in 1893 (Skarfstad & Bergstorm, 2004). A survey conducted by Business Week in the United States of America in 1978 found that almost one of every three television commercial used celebrity endorsement. 20% of all television commercials were celebrity endorsed in the United States (Bradley, 1996; Crutchfield, 2010) and 10% of the advertisement expenses were accounted as celebrity endorsement fees (Bradley, 1996). Similarly in Great Britain 20% of all commercial screened were endorsed by one celebrity or another (Erdogan, Baker & Tagg, 2001). The number is still higher in India where celebrities appear in 45% of advertisements (Crutchfield, 2010). According to Financial express more than 50% of the commercials on Indian television today are celebrity endorsed. In India celebrity endorsement industry is worth more than Rs. 2.5 Billion. There is a tremendous growth in celebrity endorsements in India during the last few years. According to AdEx India Celebrity endorsement on TV saw a growth of six times during 2007 over 2003 (Sharma & Rai, 2013). The Indian celebrities have large fan following in the country and they act as role models for majority of Indians (Balakrishnan & Kumar, 2011).
Kaikati (1987) has identified five advantages of celebrity endorsements – drawing attention, crisis management, brand repositioning, global marketing and boosting sales. Celebrity endorsements act as a credible means of spending money for the brands as the consumer easily associate him/her to the brand and differentiates it from the other brands. Marketers try to establish a link between their brands and a desirable image or life style of celebrity (Suegker, 2003). They hire celebrities because they believe that consumers who are fans & followers of celebrities will consume brands associated with them and also because celebrity create and maintain attention and high recall rates of advertisements (Croft, Dean & Kitchen, 1996). The perceived image of celebrity is likely to have positive influence on product choice & buying behavior (Goldsmith, Lafferty and Newell, 2000; Mathur, Mathur & Ranjan, 1997). Using celebrity is likely to produce more positive response towards advertising and create positive consumer’s brand attitude and purchase intentions (Atkin & Block, 1983; Petty & Cacioppo, 1983). Celebrity endorsements enhance audience attentiveness, make advertisements memorable, credible & desirable and add glamour to the product (Spielman, 1981). They increase awareness of company’s products & brands create positive feeling towards them (Solomon, 2002).
Celebrities ensure attention of the consumers by breaking through the clutter and making brand and advertisements more noticeable (Malik & Guptha, 2014). Compared to other type of endorsers, celebrities endorsed advertisements are perceived by consumers as more entertaining, achieve higher degree of attention & improve the level of product recall (Bowman, 2002). The endorsed brand is likely to have higher purchase value. According to Clark & Horstman (2003), if a consumer observes two messages one endorsed by celebrity and the other not, they believe celebrity endorsed product to be of higher value and likely to have more purchases. Similar findings were reported by McCracken (1989) that well known person or celebrity is likely to have greater effect on consumer’s purchase behavior. The underlying belief is that brand Image built through celebrity will have a higher degree of attention & recall for consumers which will lead to higher sales (Rai & Shrama, 2013). Gallup & Robinson Inc. studied 248 celebrity advertisements during 1982-93 showed that celebrity endorsed advertisements had 34% higher level of awareness than non celebrity ones. Awareness was measured in terms of advertisement recall a day after advertisement exposure (Rai & Sharma, 2013). This awareness along with the attractive & likeable quality of celebrity is transferred to the endorsed brand and they create and improve brand image (Mooji, 1994; Dickenson, 1996).
Although positive and advantageous in many ways celebrity endorsements have certain risks and disadvantages as well. Erdogan (1999) has enumerated these disadvantages as overshadowing the brand, public controversy, image change & overexposure and loss of public recognition. Overshadowing of the product/brand occurs when celebrity personality eclipses brand personality. Consumers become so engrossed with celebrity that they fail to focus their attention on the endorsed brand (Erdogan, Baker & Tagg, 2001). The major issue arises out of this problem is that consumers fail to notice the brand being endorsed because they are more focused over the celebrity (Erdogan, 1999). Another drawback of celebrity endorsement is overexposure. Overexposure is a common issue among highly demanded and popular celebrities because every major corporate house wants them to endorse their brand which ultimately leads to making the consumer more confused and unable to recall the brand correctly (Tripp, Jensen & Carlson, 1994). If a celebrity lends his image to various brands by appearing in advertisements it also has less impact on the consumers’ minds as the relationship between the celebrity and the endorsed brand is not distinctive (Mowen & Brown, 1981). Most popular celebrities often endorse too many products for the sake of money. When a celebrity endorses many brands at a time his/her credibility suffers. Solomon, Bamossy & Askegaard, (2002) referred this as the ’hired gun’ problem. Consumers know that celebrities are paid huge amounts as endorsement fees to provide positive information about the endorsed brand and has nothing to do with the product attributes or product being endorsed (Cooper 1984; Tripp, Jensen & Carlson, 1994) and hence are skeptical of information provided by them (Wells & Prensky, 1996). Many researchers have also proposed that negative information about a celebrity not only influences consumers' perception for the celebrity, but also the product endorsed by him (Klebba and Unger, 1982; Till and Shimp, 1995). The role of celebrity endorsed advertisements is to attract consumer’s attention and convince them to buy the product but many times it has been observed that consumer may enjoy the attractive appeal of such advertisements but not necessarily purchase the endorsed product/brand or switch their loyalty upon endorsement (Alsmadi, 2006).
Since the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements in advertisements is not conclusive, the purpose this study is to explore how consumers respond to celebrity endorsements in India. Specifically, the study seeks to answer the following questions:
Accordingly the following hypotheses were formulated:
Figure 1: Hypotheses of the study
The study is based on field work. The survey was carried out in the city of Indore in central India during November –December, 2016. Indore has a population of about 25 lakhs which is generally homogeneous in terms of gender, education & occupation. Because of its central location its inhabitants are people from all parts of India. The survey used convenient sample of 300 respondents out of which 250 filled questionnaires were received. After removing questionnaires which had some missing responses, the final sample size of 212 was considered for further analysis. The response rate was thus 70%.
Primary data collected by communicating with the respondents with the help of a self administered, structured closed ended questionnaire. The questionnaire (scale) used in the study was self designed based on the inputs gathered during literature review. The questionnaire included four sections. The first section had 7 items aimed at measuring attitude towards attractiveness of celebrity endorsed advertisements. The second part was designed to measure the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements in consumer’s brand acceptance and recall behavior. It contained 5 items. The third part included 5 items to assess celebrity endorsement’s influence on consumer’s buying behavior. Through the four part demographic details of the respondents like age, education, occupation etc were collected. A five point Likert scale was used for measurement. The scale consisted of five levels of agreement to the statements included in the questionnaire from strongly disagree to strongly agree (5- Strongly agree; 1- Strongly disagree). The logic used was higher the mean score the more favorable is the attitude. Before undertaking the survey, pilot survey was undertaken with 40 respondents and their views/suggestions were incorporated in the final questionnaire.
Several statistical techniques were used for analysis. To assess the reliability of the scale Cronbach’s Alpha was calculated. Frequency analysis, Descriptive analysis and One sample test of means (t test) was used to test the hypothesis H1, H2 & H3. Correlation (Pearson’s) analysis was carried out to test hypothesis H4 & H5. Linear Regression analysis was employed to measure the relationship between advertisement attractiveness, brand acceptance & recall and consumer’s buying behavior. The analysis of data was carried out using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 20.0 for Windows.
Demographic details of the respondents
Demographic characteristics of the respondents are given in table 1. The sample had 114 males & 98 females. They were all aged between 16 to 35 years with maximum 118 students in the age group of 18-24 years. 96 respondents were graduates and rest post graduates. 127 respondents were students, 36 were salaried, 24 were self employed and 25 were housewives.
Table 1: Demographic details of respondents
Reliability was examined using Cronbach Alpha values (Cronbach, 1951). Table 2 shows Cronbach Alpha value of the scale used in the study. The scale had 17 items as explained in the methodology section The Cronbach’s alpha value was found to be 0.714 which is higher than the threshold level of 0.70 (Walsh, 1995). Hence it can be concluded that the items included in the scale reliably measure the defined constructs.
Table 2: Reliability Analysis
Celebrity Endorsement & Advertisement Attractiveness
Dimension 1 of the study measured attractiveness of celebrity endorsed advertisements among consumers. The research findings, as tabulated in Table 1, suggest that consumers find celebrity endorsed advertisements attractive. The overall attitude mean score which measured the dimension as a whole is 23.623 which is above the scale midpoint (21) with a little deviation around the mean (σ = 2.97963). Further the analysis of agreement shows majority of the respondents agrees that celebrity endorsed advertisements to be attractive overall (50.5%). They find them to be good (64.6%), interesting (61.3%), attention grabbing (72.6%), informative (51.9%) & of better quality (46.2%). All these statements had mean score above the scale midpoint which clearly indicates positive attitudes of consumers regarding the statements. However two items of this dimension – Celebrity endorsements are believable and trustworthy had many of respondents showing their disagreement with (26.4% & 32.1% respectively) and had the mean score less than 3 suggesting that though the consumers find celebrity endorsements to be attractive they do not necessarily find them credible and are skeptical about the information provided in them. The results of one sample t test indicate that mean difference for the dimension as a whole is significant statistically at 1% (t value = 115.48; Sig. 0.000). This means that among Indian consumers the mean score of the respondents who agreed that celebrity endorsed advertisements are attractive as a whole was significantly different from the respondent who disagreed with them. The results support the hypothesis one (H1: Celebrity endorsements have significant impact on attractiveness of advertisements among Indian consumers) of the study and it is accepted. The differences were found to be significant for all the items included in the dimension 1, individually as well.
Table 3: Advertisement Attractiveness: Descriptive Statistics and t- Test
*Differences significant at 1%
Celebrity Endorsement & Brand Acceptance and Recall
The summarized results of the analysis to study the influence of celebrity endorsements on brand acceptance & recall are given in table 2. The findings suggest that celebrity endorsements have positive influence on brand acceptance & recall among Indian consumers with 56.7% of the respondents agreeing to the dimension as a whole. The results in the table also unveil that 72.6% of the respondents were in agreement that celebrity endorsements increase brand awareness, 79.2% agree that they help in remembering brands, 75.5% of the respondents agree that such advertisements help in recalling the brand at the time of purchase. Further, 34% of the respondents agree that celebrity endorsed products are of better quality and 31.2% of the respondents often like the brand because of the celebrity endorsing it. Though the number of people agreeing with the last two items of the dimension are comparatively less they are still higher than the respondents disagreeing with them (26.4% & 14.36% respectively). Further analysis of mean attitude score for all the items included in the dimension shows that all items had mean score values of greater than 3. Brand awareness had a mean value of 3.7358, remembering brand had a mean of 3.9151; brand recall had mean value 3.9434. The mean score value for product quality, brand liking were 3.0943 and 3.0660 respectively. The mean score for the dimension as a whole had a value of 17.754 which exceeds scale midpoint score (15). The results leads us to the conclusion that celebrity endorsements are very effective and have positive influence on brand awareness, brand remembrance & brand recall and are mildly effective in perception of product quality and liking of the brand due to celebrity, which probably indicates the product features and quality of the product are also important apart from celebrity endorsement. However the analysis of one sample t- test that the mean difference for the dimension 2 as a whole were statistically significant (t value = 90.669; Sig. 0.000). This means that the mean of the respondents who agree with items included in this dimension vary significantly with mean of those who disagree. The findings support second hypothesis (H2) of the study which states that ‘Celebrity endorsements have significant influence on brand acceptance & recall behavior of Indian consumers’. Therefore we accept this hypothesis. Similar inferences can be drawn for all the items included in the dimension individually as well since all had sig. value of 0.000. Since all had sig value of less than 0.01(1%) we can infer that the differences in means for all the items and the dimension overall are significant at 1%.
Table 4: Brand Acceptance and Recall: Descriptive Statistics and t- Test
*Differences significant at 1%
Celebrity Endorsement & Buying Behavior
The third dimension included in the study was buying behavior. The results of data analysis point that celebrity endorsements are not effective in influencing buyer behavior. As can be seen in table 4, the overall mean score for the dimension was 14 which is below the scale midpoint (15) with considerable deviation around the mean (σ = 3.78072). Only 17.8% of the respondents were in agreement with the dimension as a whole as compared to 30.54% of the respondents expressing their disagreement with. Except for the statement that celebrity endorsements motivate respondents to buy the product (51.94% of the respondents agreeing with a mean score of 3.3679) all other items included in the dimension had negative responses from the respondents. Majority of the respondents have shown their disagreements with statements like I will buy a celebrity endorsed product even if I don’t need it (56.65% disagree), I often buy celebrity endorsed products (42.4% disagree), I will continue to buy celebrity endorsed brands (46.2% disagree), I will switch to other brand if celebrity stops endorsing it (58.5% disagree). The mean score analysis further reinforce the findings. The mean scores of all the items were less than midpoint score of 3 and their values were 2.5755, 2.7358, 2.7264 and 2.5943 respectively. Results of one sample t test provide further support to our conclusions. The dimension overall had a t value of 53.916 with sig. value of less than 0.01 (0.000) which means that mean score of the respondents who agree with the dimension are significantly different from the respondents who disagree. These findings provide evidence against hypothesis three (H3) of the study which states that Celebrity endorsements significantly influence buying behavior of Indian consumers and we cannot accept the hypothesis. This leads us to the interpretation that celebrity endorsements although motivate consumers to buy the product but this motivation may not result in actual purchase.
Table 5: Buying Behavior: Descriptive Statistics and t- Test
*Differences significant at 1%
Correlation Analysis: Advertisement Attractiveness and Buying Behavior
The results of correlation analysis between different items included in the study for advertisement attractiveness, the dimension as a whole and buying behavior are given in Table 6. Overall advertisement Attractiveness and buying behavior are positively related (r= 0.184). The correlation was found to be significant at 1% (Sig. = 0.007) which indicates that advertisement attractiveness has a positive influence on buying behavior of consumers. Items like advertisement believability (r= 0.199), informative advertisement (r= 0.199), and trustworthy advertisements (r= 0.213) were found to have statistically significant correlation with buying behavior at 1% (Sig. = 0.004, 0.004 & 0.002 respectively) while better quality advertisements (r= 0.135), attention grabbing advertisements (r= 0.146) are having correlation significant at 5% (Sig. = 0.050 & 0.033 respectively). All items were found to have positive and significant correlation (at 1%) with advertisement attractiveness.
Table 6: Correlation Analysis: Advertisement Attractiveness and Buying Behavior
Correlation Analysis: Brand acceptance & Recall and Buying Behavior
The results of correlation analysis between various items of brand acceptance & recall dimension, the dimension as a whole and buying behavior suggest that as a whole brand acceptance and recall dimension is positively correlated with buying behavior (r= 0.272) and the correlation is significant at 1% (Sig. = 0.000) (Table 7). All items included in brand acceptance & recall dimension were found to be positively correlated with the overall dimension (all correlations significant at 1%) and buying behavior. Items like celebrity endorsed products are of better quality (r=0.356) and I like brand because of celebrity endorsing it (r= 0.168) were found to be significantly correlated with buying behavior at 1% (Sig.= 0.000) and 5% (Sig.= 0.014). This indicates that if consumers perceive the product quality to be good and they like a brand it is going to have a positive influence on the buying behavior of the consumers.
Table 7: Correlation Analysis: Brand acceptance & Recall and Buying Behavior
Regression analysis is a statistical process for estimating the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. It helps in understanding how the value of the dependent variable changes when any one of the independent variables is varied, while the other independent variables are held fixed. Of the many techniques of regression analysis linear regression analysis is most common and widely used. Linear regression analysis was carried taking buying Behavior as dependent variable and advertisement attractiveness and brand acceptance & recall as independent variable. Table 8 shows results of regression analysis. The result reveals brand acceptance & recall is more effective in influencing consumer’s buying behavior The beta value of estimator of the variable brand acceptance and recall is 0.535 which means a change of 1 unit change in the variable has a positive effect of 0.535 units in the dependent variable (buying behavior). Sig. value is 0.000 (<0.01) which indicates the variable is statistically significant at 1%. Advertisement attractiveness has a beta value of 0.095 which means that 1 unit variation in advertisement effectiveness has a positive effect of 0.095 units in buying behavior. Lower value of Beta and higher Sig. value (0.251) suggest that advertisement attractiveness is not very effective and significant in influencing Buying Behavior. The coefficient of determination (R2) value of 0.306 means that the two variables together explain 30.6% of variations in buying behavior. Based on the results of analysis (as given in Table 8) the linear regression equation can be written as:
Buying Behavior = 2.260 + 0.535 (Brand Acceptance & Recall) + 0.095 (Advertisement Attractiveness).
Table 8: Results of Regression Analysis
**Significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
The study provides useful insights to the phenomenon of celebrity endorsed advertisements in India and how consumers perceive them. It is evident from the results of the study that the consumers find celebrity endorsed advertisements as attractive and attention grabbing. They are impressed by the visual attractiveness of the advertising message which uses a celebrity to appeal to them. The results of the study were consistent with many other studies one in the past (Pornpitakpan, 2003; Pringle and Binet, 2005; Roy, 2006; Alsmadi, 2006). The study also demonstrates that celebrity endorsements are very effective and have positive influence on brand acceptance & recall as many other research have indicated (Bowman, 2002; Misra & Beatty, 1990). However the study concludes that celebrity endorsements do not have a positive influence on buying behavior of the consumers. The evidences were inconsistent with the results of past studies which have provided evidences that celebrity endorsements have influence on buying behavior & purchase intention of the consumers and in a positive way (for example Shimp, 2003; Goldsmith, Lafferty and Newell, 2000; Mathur, Mathur & Ranjan, 1997; Ohanian, 1990) but consistent with many other studies which found that celebrity endorsements are not very effective when it comes to actual buying planning plans of the consumers (Solman & Brown, 2004; Rameez ul Hassan & Jamil, 2014). Attractiveness of celebrity endorsed advertisements and brand acceptance & recall were found to exhibit positive correlation with buying behavior. Brand acceptance & recall has more positive influence on buying behavior than advertisement attractiveness which indicates that although consumer may like the advertisements but that do not necessarily result in actual buying or increasing sales. Many arguments can be put forward to explain this phenomenon. The study reveals that product features and quality of the product are also important apart from celebrity endorsement. Celebrity endorsed advertisements do motivate consumers to buy the product but they are irrelevant if the product/brand lacks quality, reliability & ease of use (Han & Yazdanifard, 2015). Another possible explanation to this phenomenon can be the way advertising message are designed (Alsmadi, 2006). In India celebrities are generally used to add glamour to the advertisements and are not convincing enough to influence their purchase decision. The present study also provides evidence that consumers do not find celebrity endorsed advertisements to be believable and trustworthy and they are skeptical about the information provided in them. The study by Bowman (2002) also supported this observation and showed that advertising problem in Asia is not so much the celebrities but the lack of imagination in the way they are used. Alternatively the choice of celebrity may not meet consumer’s expectations. Studies have found that credibility of celebrity is more effective in changing the buying behavior of consumers than their attractiveness (Rameez ul Hassan & Jamil, 2014). These findings suggest that there is a need of rethinking on the part of advertisers in the way the celebrities are used and projected in the advertisements to elicit favorable purchase intention responses. For a successful celebrity endorsement it is critical that advertisers not only choose the right celebrity but also choose the right message presented using creative imagination in such a way that it creates lasting impression in the minds of consumers and they find the message believable & trustworthy.
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