Profession as a Predictor of the Effectiveness of Multiple Celebrity Endorsement – an Empirical Study
in the Indian Context
Kailasam Tamizhjyothi, Samudhra Rajakumar
Organizations use celebrities from different professions to endorse their brands. They use multiple celebrities with a hope to impress different segments of customers. However, the effectiveness of using different celebrities from different professions is the question to be probed. This study has been performed to analyze the effectiveness of multiple celebrity endorsement by considering profession as the key factor.
A 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design was developed that represents gender of the respondents, celebrities from different professions and gender of the celebrity. The interactions of these variables were studied with respect to consumers’ attitude towards advertisement, attitude towards celebrity and purchase intention.
The result shows that the consumers like advertisements featuring both cinestar and sportspersons and their purchase intention has a positive relationship with the multiple celebrity endorsements.
Keywords: advertising, celebrity, endorsement, purchase intention, multiple celebrity endorsement JEL Classification: M37
Crores of rupees are spent annually on celebrity endorsement contracts on the premise that the source effects play an important role in persuasive communications (Surina, 2006). Over the past decade, the spending power of the consumers increased dramatically and organizations formulate different strategies to win over competitors and attract more consumers. Advertising is a highly visible force and we receive many messages through it. It is a powerful communication force and a vital marketing tool helping to increase awareness and to sell goods, services and ideas. Advertisements aim to sell a product by communicating the right message to the right audience, through the right medium, making use of the right appeal at the right time. It helps to make known the product, its price, its availability, its functions and features to assist the economic process of exchange (Jeffkins, 1999).
Companies use different advertisement strategies to attract the audience and employ human models as endorsers for their product. According to Tellis (1998), an endorser is “a person, character or organization that speaks or appears in an advertisement in support of the advertiser or its claim”. A famous endorser may be influential: as he or she adds more beauty to the advertisement in the cluttered stream of messages. This is perceived as more entertaining, and seen as trustworthy because of the apparent lack of self-interest (Kamen et al., 1975).
Different types of endorsers namely lay endorsers, experts and celebrities are used by organizations for their product/brand (Batra, 1998). Celebrities are individuals or characters that are known to a large portion of the general population, primarily because of the publicity associated with their lives. This study has been performed to understand the influence of these celebrities from different professions on the effectiveness of the advertisements.
Background of the Study
Miciak and Shanklin (1994) suggested that a celebrity should meet five baseline criteria:
trustworthiness, readily recognizable by the audience, affordable, at little risk for negative publicity, and appropriately matched with the intended audience. Friedman and Friedman (1979) define celebrity endorser as “an individual who is known to the public (actor, sports persons, entertainers etc) for his or her achievements in areas other than that of the product class endorsed”.
Kamen et al. (1975) quoted in their research that in US one third of the issues of the Advertising Age contain at least one announcement of marriage between celebrity and a brand. In Keller’s opinion (1998), the use of celebrity endorsements is an advertising strategy that should enhance the marginal value of the advertisement expenditure and create brand equity by means of the secondary association of the celebrity with the brand. According to Surina (2006), in India, approximately 17 per cent of all advertisements had celebrities endorsing the brands.
However, one can witness the recent advertisements shown in the media as more celebrities represent a single brand, which is termed as multiple celebrity endorsement.
Tipp et al. (1994) have done a study on ‘multiple product endorsers’, however the multiple celebrity endorsement is an emerging area that introduces new questions concerning the understanding of how consumers respond to multiple celebrities endorsement. Though, celebrity endorser takes on meaning that carry from ad to ad, does multiple celebrity endorsement affect those assigned meanings (Kaikati, 1987)? Fireworker and Friedman (1977) argued that the consumers’ attitude and perception were enhanced when a celebrity endorses a product. Do the consumers have less favourable attitudes toward ads if more celebrities are involved? Schiffman et al. (1997) speculated that when one celebrity endorses one product, consumers were likely to perceive the product in a highly favorable light and indicate a greater intention to purchase it. In the same way, if more celebrities endorse one product (multiple celebrity endorsements), will it have any effect consumers’ purchase intentions?
Empirical evidence concerning how consumers react to multiple celebrity endorsements is scant, leaving unresolved issues in an important research arena. It is obvious that the act of multiple celebrity endorsements leads to certain impressions about the brand and endorsing celebrities as well. It could be valuable to learn how consumers evaluate the celebrities, advertisements and the brands when several celebrities endorse a single brand.
Although consumers exert different opinions about multiple celebrity endorsement, their judgment may be influenced by an important factor called the ‘profession’ of the endorser. The profession of the celebrities is one of the critical factors in the determination of the effectiveness of celebrity advertisements (Tamizhjyothi and Samudhra Rajakumar, 2005). That is, while some consumers react favourably towards sportspersons, others favour cinestars. However, no researcher has analyzed the combined effects and hence there is a need to study the effectiveness of the advertisements where the celebrities of different professions (sportsperson and cinestar) are used. The reason for using sportspersons and cinestars in the present study is that these celebrities are featured more frequently in the media and people have the chance to see them regularly. In the case of professionals like doctors, engineers, businessmen, politicians etc., people hardly see them in the media. An important note is that such professionals are not
entertainers, whereas sportspersons and cinestars entertain the audience. Against this background, the following objectives are to be framed.
1. To find out the influence of the celebrities’ profession on the effectiveness of multiple celebrity advertising.
2. To study the impact of demographic characteristics on multiple celebrity endorsements.
The consumers’ perception towards multiple celebrity endorsements is measured using four variables namely, attitude towards advertisements (Aad), attitude towards celebrity (Acel), attitude towards product (Apdt) and purchase intention (PI). The attitude towards advertisement is measured by four items, viz. attention, interest, awareness and preference. Five items were used to measure the attitude towards celebrity namely confidence, liking, knowledge, attractiveness and appropriateness. In the case of attitude towards product, it is measured by image, positivity, sales volume and cost. Purchase intention is measured by four items namely, role, inducement to purchase, enquiry and consideration.
The selection of celebrities for the study was done based on the procedure adopted by Ohanian (1990) and Pornpitakpan (2003). Accordingly, to identify an appropriate list of celebrities, 53 respondents were requested to list the names of male and female celebrities from sports and cinema where they are familiar and appeared in advertisements. Later, the celebrity names were ranked based on the frequency of mention. Interestingly, in female sportsperson category the respondents were able to generate/ recollect only four sportspersons, out of which Sania Mirza was mentioned by most of the respondents. The other celebrities most frequently mentioned by respondents were Madhavan and Aiswarya Rai in cine field and Sachin Tendulkar from sports field.
The product chosen for the study is “wrist watches” because it is a unisex product and more suitable for sportspersons and cinestars. By considering different dimensions, a study with 2 (gender of respondent [Gres]) x 2 (type of profession [Cprof]) x 2 (gender of celebrities [Gcel]) repeated factorial design with the last factor nested, was developed.
With the help of an advertising agency, full-page black and white print advertisements with a product and pair of celebrities were prepared. The total number of advertisements was 4 (2 profession of celebrities x 2 gender of celebrities). In the stimuli advertisements, the contents are the same for all the 4 advertisements, in which the picture of the product is shown in the middle of the advertisement; the content or specification of each product has been shown as
“xxxx xxx” to avoid the significance of copy. The company name and logo has been printed at the bottom right corner with name as “xxxx” and logo as lines inscribed in a square to avoid biased opinion. In each ad, the celebrities’ photograph of 7cms x 10cms is printed at the top left corner with the caption on the right side along with the endorser name at the bottom right of the caption.
The experiment was carried out with the final year postgraduate Business Administration students of a reputed University in the State of Tamil nadu. Chennai has been chosen as the sampling area. The data were collected from 150 respondents wherein 80 are male and remaining 70 are female. During a working day, with prior permission, the research study was commenced by giving instruction about the celebrity advertisements. The Ad booklets contain two test ads of different combinations of celebrities with the same product, followed by a
questionnaire in the end. The directions for answering the questions with respect to the advertisement are clearly given on the front page of the Ad booklet.
The results have clearly shown that 76.9 per cent of the respondents have rightly identified the maximum number of cinestars who endorse the products, whereas 50.9 per cent of the respondents rightly identified five sportspersons. Hence, it is observed that the awareness level about cinestars is high among the respondents.
The consumers’ opinion towards the advertisements featuring multiple celebrities belonging to the same profession and multiple celebrities belonging to different professions with respect to their attitude towards advertisement, attitude towards celebrities and purchase intention have been identified by constructing a 2 x 2 x 2 repeated factorial design where the last item is nested with previous item. The results are shown in the following tables.
Attitude towards Advertisement
Table 1 shows the Linear mixed model of 2 x 2 x 2 repeated factorial design (with the last factor nested) as regards the consumers’ attitude towards advertisements.
Table 1. Linear Mixed Model of 2 x 2 x 2 Repeated Factorial Design with last factor is nested (Dependent Variable – Attitude towards Advertisement)
Source F-value Sig.
Gres 2.184 0.069
Cprof 8.963 <0.001**
Gcel(Cprof) 5.282 0.002**
Gres * Cprof 1.334 0.265
Gres * Gcel (Cprof) 1.402 0.242
Sequence 1.552 0.213
**- Significance at 1% level
In order to increase the target audience’s awareness, executives indulge in careful creation and execution of innovative advertisements involving celebrities from different professions. Finding the audience perception towards the advertisements is vital for brand managers. With the aim of finding the consumers’ view towards the advertisements with respect to the profession of the celebrity, gender of celebrity and respondents, a ‘linear mixed model of 2 x 2 x 2 repeated factorial design having the last item nested’ was performed and the results are shown in Table-1.
Based on that it could be noticed that there exists a significant difference among the respondents’ opinion with respect to:
1. type of celebrities (F = 5.282; p<0.001);
2. the gender of different type of celebrities (F=5.282; p=0.002).
Table 2. Mean and Standard Deviation of type of Celebrities
Profession of celebrities Mean SD
Sportsperson 27.77 9.60
Cinestar 29.45 9.62
It could be noticed from the above table (Table 2) that consumers’ opinions towards the advertisements featuring both cinestars and sportspersons are positive. Among them the mean of ads with cinestars is higher (Mean = 29.45; SD = 9.62) compared to sportsperson (Mean = 27.77; SD = 9.60). The rationale behind this may be that familiarity with cinestars among consumers is higher, as compared to sportspersons and hence the viewer’s attention can be easily drawn by cinestars, whereas the familiarity with sportspersons is confined to a particular group of people.
Table 3. Mean and Standard Deviation of the Gender of Different Profession of Celebrities Profession of Celebrities Gender of celebrities Mean SD
Female 28.98 8.43
Male 26.55 10.55
Female 31.90 10.55
Male 27.01 10.12
Table 3 shows the mean score of the gender of different type of celebrities. The results show that the mean score of the gender of each celebrity is positive. That is, respondents like to see the advertisement featuring female cinestars (Mean=31.90; SD=10.55) followed by female sportspersons (Mean=28.98; SD=8.43). However, the mean score of male cinestars and male sportsperson is lower, as compared to their female counterparts.
Attitude towards Celebrities
When the meaning of the celebrity is transferred to the product and then to the customers, the buying decision takes place. The characteristics of celebrities induce the audience to react favourably to their endorsements. The important characteristics of celebrities that influence the buyers are their attractiveness, trustworthiness and expertise. These three factors contribute to the attitudinal change of consumers towards celebrities.
Table 4. Linear Mixed Model of 2 x 2 x 2 Repeated Factorial Design with last Factor is nested (Dependent Variable – Attitude towards Celebrities)
Source F-value Sig.
Gres 0.541 0.462
Cprof 5.023 0.007**
Gcel(Cprof) 0.705 0.549
Gres * Cprof 0.282 0.755
Gres * Gcel (Cprof) 0.054 0.984
Sequence 0.033 0.968
**- Significance at 1% level
To analyze the main interaction effects of the stimuli variables with respect to attitude towards celebrity (Acel), a ‘linear mixed model of 2 x 2 x 2 repeated factorial design with the last factor nested’ was performed. The result in the table shows that there is a significant relationship within the profession of celebrity (F=5.023; p=0.007).
Table 5. Mean scores of the Respondents for different Type of Celebrities
Celebrity type Mean SD
Sportsperson 47.05 15.13
Cine star 45.78 15.74
From the above table it is clear that there is a significant difference among different types of celebrities. The consumers’ attitude towards cinestar is higher (Mean=45.78; SD=15.74), followed by sportspersons (Mean=47.05; SD=15.1361).
Table 6. Linear Mixed Model of 2 x 2 x 2 Repeated Factorial Design with last factor is nested (Dependent Variable – Purchase Intention)
Source F-value Sig.
Gres 5.115 0.024*
Cprof 12.260 0.000**
Gcel(Cprof) 0.136 0.939
Gres * Cprof 0.235 0.791
Gres * Gcel (Cprof) 0.198 0.898
Sequence 0.677 0.509
* - Significance at 5% level; ** - Significance at 1% level
The attitude toward celebrity advertisement, product and celebrity varies from person to person.
The purchase intentions may also change with respect to the respondents. Hence, it is desirable to identify the interaction effect of respondents’ gender, profession of celebrity, and gender of celebrity with respect to the purchase intention of multiple celebrity endorsement.
A ‘linear mixed model of 2 x 2 x 2 repeated factorial design, with the last factor nested’ was developed and the interaction effects of these items were analyzed. Nevertheless, there is a relationship/difference:
1. within the profession of the celebrity (F=4.700; p=0.031) 2. within the gender of the respondents (F=5.115; p=0.024)
Table 7. Mean and Standard Deviation of Product type Profession of the celebrities Mean SD
Sportsperson 21.62 9.54
Cinestars 23.48 11.19
In considering the profession of the celebrity, there is a significant difference among sportsperson and cinestars (F=4.700; p=0.031). Consumers’ attitude towards sportspersons (Mean=21.62; SD=9.54) is less compared to cinestars (Mean=23.48; SD=11.19), which means that the audience have positive intention to purchase the cinestar-endorsed products than sportsperson-endorsed product.
Table 8. Mean and Standard Deviation of Gender of the Respondents
Gender of respondents Mean SD
Female 21.14 10.77
Male 23.45 10.11
In analyzing the gender of respondents, the result shows that there is a significant difference (F=5.11; p=0.024). The attitude of female respondents with respect to purchase intention is low (Mean=21.14; N=168; SD=10.77) when compared to male respondents (Mean=23.45; N=264;
SD=10.11). It could be concluded that male respondents have positive purchase intention than female respondents as far as celebrity advertised product is concerned.
The following table shows the consolidated figures of the interaction effect with respect to all the stimuli variables.
Table 9. Linear Mixed Model of 2 x 2 x 2 Repeated Factorial Design with last factor is nested (consolidated table)
Attitude towards Advertisements
Celebrities Purchase Intention Source
F-value Sig. F-value Sig. F-value Sig.
Gres 2.184 0.069 0.541 0.462 5.115 0.024*
Cprof 8.963 <0.001** 5.023 0.007** 12.260 0.000**
Gcel(Cprof) 5.282 0.002** 0.705 0.549 0.136 0.939
Gres * Cprof 1.334 0.265 0.282 0.755 0.235 0.791
Gres * Gcel (Cprof) 1.402 0.242 0.054 0.984 0.198 0.898
Sequence 1.552 0.213 0.033 0.968 0.677 0.509
Most of the consumers rightly pointed out the film stars and sport celebrities that appeared more often in advertisements. 76.9 per cent of the respondents rightly identified five film stars (out of six) who endorse products, whereas 50.9 per cent of the respondents rightly identified five sportspersons (out of six). Hence, the awareness about cinestars is higher, compared to sportspersons. The majority of the respondents (66.34%) accept that television is the right choice among other media (to gain more information). As far as channel is concerned, respondents like music (34.2%) and entertainment channels (28.2%) when compared to science, news, and sports channels. It is exciting to note that only 5.7 per cent of the respondents watch advertisements on television without switching to other channels.
Related to Multiple Celebrity Endorsements
1. Consumers show positive attitude towards the celebrity advertisements.
2. Multiple celebrity endorsement is also gaining popularity among consumers as they show favourable reactions towards MCE.
3. Purchase intention has positive association with multiple celebrity endorsements.
4. Based on overall attitude, consumers differ significantly with regard to image orientation of multiple celebrity endorsement.
5. With the help of cluster analysis the consumers are grouped into rational buyers, emotional buyers and economic buyers. Rational buyers have positive opinion when one brand is endorsed by a group of celebrities as compared to emotional buyers, whereas economic buyers show negative response to multiple celebrity endorsements.
6. It is found that consumers who have rational and emotional buying habits react positively towards the purchase intention of the celebrity-endorsed product, whereas economic buyers
show negative opinion, which means that persons with emotional and rational buying habits have higher intention to purchase than their counterpart.
7. It is determined that the gender of the different profession of celebrities does not have a significant influence with respect to purchase intention. This result strengthens the findings of Cabellero and Solomon (1984) that the gender of the celebrities or endorsers in the advertising does not affect the purchase behaviour of the consumers.
As the purchase intention has a positive relationship with multiple celebrity endorsements, firms can explore the possibilities of using more than one celebrity in their product advertisement.
Especially the use of celebrity from different professions (sports and cinema) as consumers shows almost equal interest in both sportspersons and cinestars. This result could be applicable for the products like wristwatches as they are used by both sportspersons and cinestars of either gender. While selecting celebrities to endorse a product, corporations should consider the number of celebrities and their stages in Celebrity Popularity Life Cycle (CPLC). The celebrities should have equal popularity so that the domination of one celebrity over other celebrities can be avoided; otherwise, it will lead to confusion and it will irritate the audience or fans.
The judgment towards multiple celebrity advertisement does not differ between male and female respondents. However, the mean value of female respondents is comparatively lower than in the case of male respondents. Hence, firms should develop advertisements that enhance the knowledge level of female respondents about the celebrity-endorsed products.
Before signing an agreement with the celebrity, firms should consider the profession of celebrities and the characteristics of the product and accordingly they can select the celebrity who matches the characteristics of the product in order to obtain better results. Corporations had better opt for cinestars and sportspersons because the combined effect will be better than the individual effect. To target female respondents they must employ advertisements with male cinestars, whereas to target male respondents, they may use both the gender of cinestars.
Implications and Direction for Future Research
Multiple celebrities with different professions can be used for product categories like health care products, insurance etc., where believability is the dominant attribute. This will help the companies to increase the effectiveness of the celebrity advertisement campaigns to extract greater benefits in terms of high memorable value and quicker acceptance. The advertising planners need not include the product category (durable or non-durable) in their consideration while identifying celebrities. Because, the consumers’ evaluation of celebrity endorsed brand(s) are driven by the factors like characteristics of celebrities, congruence between celebrity-brand image and similarity between celebrity and brand personality. Choosing a celebrity whose image is associated with philanthropy (non-controversial, never appeared for any commercial advertisements, highly intellectual) would enhance the value of the campaign and motivate the people to implement or follow the key idea in the campaign. In future, research could be performed with celebrities from different nations and different professions. Apart from cinema and sports, other professions may also be considered in future, which has lot of scope. Studies could be performed on the effect of multiple brand endorsers on multiple celebrity endorsements.
Celebrity Advertising is becoming extremely popular due to its inherent benefits and the success of a celebrity-endorsed advertisement is reflected in the establishment of a point of differentiation from the competitors. This study identified factors like attitude towards celebrity and attitude towards advertisement certainly influence respondent’s interest in buying products endorsed by multiple celebrities from different professions. The survey results lead to the conclusion that multiple celebrity endorsements sometimes lead to confusion but will enhance the image of the brand. Respondent’s support for the suggestion of strict adherence to the code of conduct for celebrities is overwhelming.
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Profesia celebrităŃilor – criteriu anticipativ al eficienŃei reclamelor multiple. Studiu empiric în context indian
OrganizaŃiile folosesc oameni renumiŃi din diferite domenii pentru a face reclamă mărcilor lor. Ei utilizează mai multe celebrităŃi sperând să impresioneze diferite segmente de consumatori. Totuşi, trebuie verificată eficacitatea utilizării mai multor celebrităŃi din domenii diferite. Studiul de faŃă a fost organizat pentru a analiza eficacitatea reclamei bazate pe andosanŃi multipli luând în considerare profesia drept factor cheie. S-a proiectat un sistem factorial 2 x 2 x 2 reprezentând genul respondenŃilor, profesiile celebrităŃilor şi genul celebrităŃilor. Au fost studiate interacŃiunile dintre aceste variabile cu privire la atitudinea consumatorilor faŃă de reclame, atitudinea faŃă de celebritate şi intenŃia de cumpărare.
Rezultatele indică faptul că reclamele produse cu ajutorul actorilor şi a sportivilor sunt pe placul consumatorilor, iar intenŃia lor de cumpărare este influenŃată în mod pozitiv de reclamele cu andosanŃi multipli.