Effect of Celebrity Endorsement on Consumer Behaviour

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2298 , Published on 20 February 2015
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The buying process which any consumer goes through before making a purchase can be broadly classified into two categories- thought situations and feel situations. Whereas in the first case, consumers process information and arrive at outcomes using facts and logic, in the second case, he tends to reach a decision based on his subjective likes or dislikes. As per the Elaboration Likelihood model, for the first scenario, marketers follow the central route to persuasion and the buying process is said to be a high involvement one. For the second scenario, peripheral routes of persuasion are used and the process is characterized as a low involvement one.


According to the FCB Grid developed by Richard Vaughn in 1980, for high involvement purchases, a consumer typically feels/ learns about the product first and then buys it. While for low involvement items, the ‘do’ portion precedes the learning/ feeling.



Motivation for the study

The variation in the hierarchies of effects for these two categories has a lot of relevance for a marketer since it gives him direction on how to best portray his offering to the consumer so that he purchases it. Using an endorser to promote the product has been a tried and tested formula for many companies. Through a number of studies it has been established that endorsers in an advertisement influence the buying behaviour of a consumer. (Biswas, Biswas and Das, 2006) Many studies have also been conducted to demonstrate the influence of endorsers on various marketing variables such as attitude towards product, purchase intention etc. (Petty, Cacioppo, & Schumann, 1983; Block & Atkin, 1983)


The aim of this paper would be to analyze and compare the effect of celebrity and expert endorsers on high and low involvement products to see whether it is different for the two product classes.


Experimental Methodology

For a high involvement purchase, a mobile phone was taken as the experimental product, while a biscuit packet was taken as a low involvement purchase. For each of these two products, two print ads of a fictional brand was designed, one endorsed by a celebrity and the other by an expert, were shown to two sets of 30 respondents each. Care was taken to ensure that the two groups were heterogeneous within but homogeneous across. Both the ads had the same celebrity endorsing the product, mobile in one, biscuit in the other. The 120 respondents rated the ads on the parameter of Claim Believability, the scale for which was adapted from Beltramini and Evans (1985). It is a 10 item 7 point Likert scale. The scale item is listed below.

Believable

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Unbelievable

Trustworthy

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Untrustworthy

Not Convincing

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Convincing

Credible

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Not Credible

Unreasonable

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Reasonable

Dishonest

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Honest

Honest

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Questionable

Inconclusive

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Conclusive

Authentic

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Not Authentic

Likely

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Unlikely

The parameters in red were reverse coded to ensure that respondents do not blindly mark all the questions.


Initial Hypothesis

Obermiller and Spangenberg (2005) examined the relationship between ad skepticism and informational versus emotional appeal. Their studies showed that high skeptics are less responsive to emotional appeals. This result was consistent with Friestad and Wright (1994) who proposed that emotional appeals are developed by marketers specifically to circumvent consumers’ skeptical resistance to informational arguments. In a related study, Lord and Putrevu (2009) concluded that for products appealing to informational motivations, (high involvement) credibility was influenced by the expertise of the endorser while for products appealing to transformational motivations, attractiveness of the endorser has maximum impact on credibility.


Based on these studies, the following hypothesis was developed.


H1: Celebrity endorsement has a more positive effect on Claim believability of a low involvement product compared to a high involvement one.

H2: Expert endorsement has a more positive effect on Claim believability of a high involvement product compared to a low involvement one.


The posters of the four advertisements shown to the students are given below. The 1st one was for a High Involvement product- Smart Phone while the other was for a Low involvement one- glucose biscuit. Both ads had the exact same layout and colour scheme, with only the content differing in each. The celebrity chosen was also same for both the sets. This was done to remove any bias created due to the quality of the ad. For the brands, fictional names were chosen so as to eliminate pre-conceived notions in the minds of the respondents.


  

Expected Outcome

Since it is theorized that celebrities appeal more to the emotional senses, it is expected that the claim believability of consumers will be more for the low involvement product. For a high involvement product, a consumer is typically expected to gather further information before deciding to buy.


Experiment Results

The responses to the questionnaire were tabulated.. The mean scores for each of the parameters were calculated to arrive at the final rating given by the respondents to the ad. Refer to the excel sheet attached for further details.


It was observed that the mean score for the High Involvement product, mobile phone was 5.64 while that for the low involvement (biscuit) was 3.53. This showed that contrary to our initial hypothesis, claim believability of consumers was more for the mobile than the biscuit.


Statistical Analysis

H1: Celebrity endorsement has a more positive effect on Claim believability of a low involvement product compared to a high involvement one.


The ANOVA test for the dependent variable ‘Endorser’ with respect to the independent variable ‘Claim Believability’ for Celebrities showed the following result.

Product

Mean

Std. Deviation

F

Significance

Mobile

5.64

.64

9.804

0.000

Biscuit

3.53

.71



Total

4.58

.63




Given that the mean of claim believability for the consumers who were shown the print ad of the high involvement product, mobile, is considerably higher, and the difference in means is statistically significant, celebrity endorsement considerably increase the believability for the high involvement product


H2: Expert endorsement has a more positive effect on Claim believability of a high involvement product compared to a low involvement one.


The ANOVA test for the dependent variable ‘Endorser’ with respect to the independent variable ‘Claim Believability’ for Experts showed the following result.

Product

Mean

Std. Deviation

F

Significance

Mobile

5.03

1.37

13.85

0.001

Biscuit

3.41

0.66



Total

4.22

1.06




Given that the mean of claim believability for the consumers who were shown the print ad of the low involvement product, biscuit, is considerably higher, and the difference in means is statistically significant, expert endorsement considerably increase the believability for the low involvement product.

Experts bring in more confidence and make ad look more convincing. A case in point is that of Colgate which has driven sales through certifications from the Indian Dental Association.


Conclusion

This research experiment showed that experts have the highest influence in brand promotions of low involvement products. As the consumers have not invested their time to research about the product, expert opinion reinforces the consumer belief in the product and brand leading to higher claim believability.


However in case of high involvement products, celebrity endorsers are highly valued. Their impact on the brand promotions is more because consumers have invested sufficient time and have taken opinion from experts already. Celebrity endorsers help them achieve the aspirational value of owning that product. Thus the claim believability is more.


This article has been authored by Pooja Punjabi from IIM Kozhikode


References

1. Ahmed, Azmat, & Farooq. (2012). Effect of celebrity endorsement on customer's buying behavior; A perspective from Pakistan. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 4(5), 584-592.

2. Biswas, Biswas, & Das. (2006). The differential effects of celebrity and expert endorsements on consumer risk perceptions. Journal of Adveritsing, 35(2), 17-31.

3. Block, & Atkin. (1983). Effectiveness of Celebrity Endorsers. Journal of Advertising Research, 23(1), 57-61

4. Petty, Cacioppo, & Schumann. (1983). Central and Peripheral Routes to Advertising Effectiveness: The Moderating Role of Involvement. Journal of Consumer Research, 10(2), 135-146.



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