Exploring the relationship between celebrity endorser effects and advertising effectiveness: A quantitative synthesis of effect size. International Journal of Advertising

The reading discusses the various points of celebrity endorsements, the good and negative things that it brings to endorsed products. Companies get celebrities to add value to their company, brand or product.

Meaning transfer model

Consumers purchase the product hoping to claim some of the transferred meanings for their lives. For example, people buy endorsed clothes and hope to be able to look “cool” “pretty” like the celebrity.

Research has also shown that these points affect endorsements:

1. Celebrity performance

  • This refers to the level of achievement a celebrity attains.
  • It can refer to their athletic performance, acting/musical success.
  • If a celebrity fails to perform acceptably, the effectiveness of the endorsement tends to decline

 2. Negative celebrity information

  • Consumers tend to link the brand to celebrity and vice versa, after repeated endorsements.
  • Negative information on the celebrity may negatively impact the endorsed brand.
  • However I think that for F&B, celebrity news will not really affect them, especially big brands. Consumers already like the food, therefore they will not actually think that the food is bad if the endorser “turned bad”. On the other hand, if food has bad image such as chemical or poisonous details, celebrity will be affected.

 3. Celebrity credibility

Consumers generally view the celebrities as credible sources of information about the product/company they endorse.

a. Source credibility model

  • Looks at the factors that affect the perceived credibility of the endorser.
  • The effectiveness of the message depends on the expertise and trustworthiness of the endorser

b. Source attractiveness model

  • Looks at the attractiveness of the endorser which includes – similarity, familiarity and likability
  • When consumers see the endorser as “similar” to them, familiar with and like the celebrity, they will tend to view the endorser as attractive.

 4. Celebrity expertise

  • Consumers look to see if the endorser has the skills and qualifications to endorse the product.
  • For example, sports brands hire athletes to endorse their products. Or, chefs endorse for cookery products. And not singers endorsing for cookery products.
  • Consumers will be able to react better to the endorser’s recommendation compared to those endorsers with low expertise.

 Celebrity trustworthiness

  • The degree of confidence that consumers have on the endorser.

                           i.      Favorable disposition

                           ii.      Acceptance

                          iii.      Psychological safety

                          iv.      Perceived supportive climate

  • Research has shown that opinionated message from a highly trustworthy endorser produces an effective attitude change among consumers.  

5. Celebrity attractiveness

  • Physical attractiveness, Personality, Athletic ability
  • Attractive endorsers have more positive impact on the products than less attractive endorsers.

 6. Celebrity fit

  • Harmony of the match between endorser and product.


This raises the question on celebrities who portray “bad” image and their effectiveness. The image that they portray may appeal or alienate consumers. I feel that different literature studies will be needed to study this part of endorsements.

What other points of endorsements can you point out?


Amos, C., Holmes, G. & Strutton, D. (2008). Exploring the relationship  between celebrity endorser effects and advertising effectiveness: A quantitative synthesis of effect size. International Journal of Advertising, 27, 209-­‐234.



5 comments so far

  1. uwa20908686 on

    With reference to Weiting’s post, I’d like to give my two cents’ worth.

    The Meaning Transfer Model implies that people make purchases in hope of inheriting certain traits of the celebrity. What came to mind immediately upon reading Weiting’s post was Brad Pitt, Chanel No. 5. I am sure most of you have taken notice of the company’s latest black-and-white commercial.

    Now, Brad Pitt’s sex appeal has won him various accolades for being the Sexiest Man Alive, making him one of the most powerful and influential celebrity in history. And where fragrance greatly dominates an individual’s sexuality, the actor’s physical sensuality appears to be an ideal fit to luxury perfumes. There is a celebrity-product congruence here.

    But why did a women’s fragrance like Chanel pick Brad Pitt as endorser? That said, I point out a lesser-known point of endorsement – celebrity and audience gender. Does the gender of a celebrity endorser impact consumer evaluations of the promoted product and their purchase intentions? I feel it is an aspect that provokes thought.

    The company aims to boost awareness for the popular women’s fragrance among men. Chanel No. 5 is something women know about, and men don’t. Banking on Brad Pitt’s masculinity and awkward dialogue (famous for its ambiguity), they plan to inspire male purchases through “capturing the memories, thoughts and dreams of a man being seduced by Chanel No. 5”. Chanel went ahead with the bold move despite knowing that their audience gender consists of mainly women. In my opinion, Brad Pitt was commissioned (out of so many other male celebrities) so as to include women still, while reaching out to a new target consumer group. The brand recognizes his star appeal as essence enough to counter their switch from a female celebrity endorser.

    The effectiveness of this campaign is subjective. A man selling women’s fragrance is an obvious deviance. But for an ad to go viral, to be talked about again, again, and over again (good or bad) – that to me is applaudable. Chanel chose a celebrity powerful enough to hype up the context of the commercial.

    If you turn a google on ‘brad pitt chanel no.5″, the top results are links to popular U.S. television show SNL’s spoof version of the ad… and critics mocking it as ‘the smell of disaster’. The commercial is criticized a lot for gimmicky dialogue that only tries to be profound but fails in any logical meaning. I don’t believe this ad would even surface from the commercial clutter had the endorser been lesser-known.

    Because Brad Pitt is featured, the audience delves in every nitty gritty detail from his shaggy-haired appearance to his blank facial expression to his muttering dialogue and the flickering backdrop of lights. Only because it is Brad Pitt do we take impression or offence.

    Also, with reference to Weiting’s notes of celebrity performance:
    If a celebrity fails to perform acceptably, the effectiveness of the endorsement tends to decline.

    I take interest in the fact that there is a prominent correlation.

    “He was doing so well to shake off his reputation as barely sentient eye candy. But there he is, shaggy-haired with a David Brent beard, desperately trying to inject hammy profundity into lines such as, “The world turns and we turn with it.”… all that good work undone in a stroke.”

    We see that if a widely-publicised commerical fails to deliver, it directly affects the reputation and image of the endorser. Brad Pitt’s part in the Chanel No. 5 advertisement has raised countless of eyebrows to the artistic judgement of both the brand and the man himself.

    In conclusion, I think that the Chanel No. 5 ad is a good place to start in exploring the relationship between celebrity endorser effects and advertising effectiveness from a unique perspective of gender audience.

  2. tarrycher on

    Referring to the meaning transfer model, there is an interesting example that I can think of. Show Luo, who is a very popular singer/idol in Taiwan well known for his good look and dancing skills, is selected to endorse sanitary pads. According to Watsons Taiwan, they had selected Show Luo as their ambassador is because they felt that “women feel that he can be a great pal to them, someone they can depend on.” From my point of view is that due to the huge popularity of Show Luo especially among his fanbase which is largely made up of female fans, he is very appealing to the female, therefore it might still works for the endorsement even if there is no fit between him and the brand/product.

    • travelrene on

      I do agree that meaning transfer model is valid, whereby consumers who purchase the product will hope to claim some “meanings” or “benefits” from the products to their lives. Take SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence as an example. This is one of the most successful products from SK-II, which was launched in Japan in 1980. Some of the famous endorsers for SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence include winner of Golden Globe Awards – Cate Blanchett, Japanese famous actress – Koyuki and Hong Kong famous model – Qiqi. Consumers who purchase the SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence will hope to have moisture and smooth skins, and stay pretty as shown by the endorsers who use it.

      Besides, SK-II has smartly chosen the celebrities who used the product themselves, as their endorsers for SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence. Cate Blanchett, has been using the SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence for 7 years, Koyuki 11 years and Qiqi 14 years. These celebrities and endorsers, who have been using the product for a long period, serves as credible role models to bring out the message that SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence is an effective product which helps people to maintain crystal clear, flawless skin and healthy radiant complexion, as how they appear. They are the best spoke persons who provide the relevant information about the product that they endorse. This becomes even more persuasive whereby they have been using it for a long period, and continue using it up till now. People believe that there must be something special about this product, if there’s one brand a person uses and loves for such a long period, and that person isn’t just anybody, she is Cate Blanchett, Koyuki and Qiqi.

      In addition, celebrity attractiveness does affect endorsements. Attractive endorsers will have more positive impact on the products than less attractive endorsers. For example, with her physical attractiveness and strong personality or character, Cate Blanchett, has been selected as the endorser for SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence, whereby SK-II believes that she will be able to attract greater consumption.

    • snowkinz on

      Quite an interesting point you brought up here. Sanitary pads are almost 99.9999% advertised by women. but that endorsement by SHow Luo, is able to give off a different vibe to consumers. Fans of Show will buy the product to support, and also it changes the perception of how women will view him at the same time too. Women will feel that ‘He’ understands the female problems.

      on the other hand, i think that the male endorser on intimate women products will not work well if it was endorsed by an unknown male celebrity.
      The results of Show’s endorsement is great is primarily because of his current female fanbase

  3. agneslpy on

    I think that the question on celebrities who portray “bad” image can be actually from how the individual views the ad. If a person dislikes that particular endorser, no matter how effective or good the ad/product is, a negative feeling towards the product would still arise.
    In selecting an endorser for the product, most companies have a stringent selection process which meets the criteria in the meaning transfer model that you have listed out in your post. Not only do they have to be credible, trustworthy but also have the expertise in that area and be attractive and ‘fits’ the brand image as well.

    Celebrity endorsers might sometime have to wear/use/eat, the particular product or food that they endorsed for when they are in public or events. Their image has to be carefully maintained so as to not affect the brand image as well. The meaning transfer model, affects both the endorser and the brand in both ways but I would agree with you that for big brands in F&B, it is kind of leaning towards the brand affecting the celebrity’s image rather than the other way round.

    In endorsements, we can also spot that some brands uses the same endorser throughout the advertisements. In this case, people recognises the celebrity as the brand’s ‘face’ and people would feel familiar and have a sense of ‘closeness’ rather than using a new endorser every time the brand launches a new advertisement. In the above comment mentioned by ‘tarrycher’, I would also agree that using celebrities that does not ‘fit’ with the product would also generate unexpected response and results. I think this would depend on other factors like the target audience and the endorser’s fan base and etc as well.

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