Celebrity Endorser: The good, the bad, and the ugly

June 14, 2012

June 15, 2012                                    Margaret Campbell

 

They endorse anything from cars to shoes to cosmetics. Celebrity endorsers are a big-time marketing tool but are they worth it?  A study by CU-Boulder’s Leed’s School of Business cautions marketers about the downside of using celebrities to promote their products. Margaret Campbell, co-author of the study, says negative associations with celebrities can outweigh whatever positive associations they might bring to the product brand they are endorsing.

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Celebrity Endorser: The good, the bad, and the ugly

June 15, 2012                                    Margaret Campbell

They endorse anything from cars to shoes to cosmetics. Celebrity endorsers are a big-time marketing tool but are they worth it?  A study by CU-Boulder’s Leed’s School of Business cautions marketers about the downside of using celebrities to promote their products. Margaret Campbell, co-author of the study, says negative associations with celebrities can outweigh whatever positive associations they might bring to the product brand they are endorsing.

CUT 1 “The goal of celebrity endorsers for marketers is to get consumers one: to pay more attention, which is why they use a celebrity that they know. But two: to transfer their concepts of the celebrity to the brand. This doesn’t always occur. (:16) We see that sometimes, for whatever reason, even though the celebrity is paid to endorse the brand, aspects of the environment or the situation limits the extent to which the positives transfer.” (;29)

For example, Campbell says a negative association can simply happen just because the consumer doesn’t think that the celebrity is a good match for a particular brand.

CUT 2  “The overall message to marketers is be careful. What you see is that the way marketers choose celebrities is by looking at the positives. Looking at the esteem that the celebrities are held in to by consumers. But they don’t tend to think about, well, what’s the negative in terms of negative associations with the celebrity.

(:23) So if you have a reality star who is very sexy but she’s also thought of as a little unintelligent or ditsy, you need to be very careful with that as a marketer.  (:35)

Furthermore Campbell says negative perceptions are more easily transferred to product brand then positive associations.

CUT 3 “I think the most significant part of these findings is that the negatives actually transferred more easily and more consistently than the positives did. (:10)

This whole power of the negative is really an interesting phenomenon. It is so consistent that it’s actually called the negativity bias and we see this again and again. “ (:20)

Campbell is an associate professor of marketing. Her co-author of the study is Caleb Warren, an assistant professor at Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy.

-CU-

 

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