Celebrity endorser Vs Expertise

Celebrity endorser Vs Expertise

Consumer Risk Perceptions


When consumer purchase a product, uncertainty often involved due to the information irregularity between the sellers and the buyers. As a result, consumers' purchase decision is always determined by their perceived risk. (______)

Perceived risk, defined as the perceived uncertainty and the situation faced by consumer when he is going to make any purchase decision (Cox & Rich, 1964; Grewal, Gotlieb & Marmorstein, 1994). It is related to the level of risk that consumer purchase and use the product (Cox, 1967; Dowling & Staelin, 1994). For the higher price and higher involvement product, consumer will perceive a higher level of risk. (____)


In the economics aspect, the performance risk and the financial risk are often discussed and evaluated (Grewal, Gotlieb & Marmorstein, 1994). Performance risk refers to the risk of uncertainties when the product performance cannot meet the expected level, while financial risk refers to the risk of expenses and costs, whether the product worth such monetary value (Grewal, Gotlieb & Marmorstein, 1994).

Endorser Effects and Source Model Theories

In this research, the effects of celebrity endorser, expert endorser and the control condition without endorser will be examined. To evaluate the endorsement effectiveness, the source credibility and the source attractiveness theory are going to apply and they are commonly used in the studies of endorsement effect (Horai & Fatouallah, 1974).

The source credibility and the source attractiveness theory combined into the source model theory. Sternthal & Craig (1973) had proved that the source of credibility and the attractiveness are contributed most to the endorsement effectiveness under the source model theory.

Source model theory (SMT) is a combination of these two theories. According to SMT, endorsements are effective usually because of their source's credibility and attractiveness (Sternthal and Craig 1973).

The Source Credibility Model

The source credibility model was built based a upon the social psychology research (Hovland and Weiss, 1952; Hovland, Janice & Kelley, 1953). McCracken (1989) constructed the model by explaining the reliability and expertise of endorsers are credible and persuasive. This model is often used in the research on the credibility-effectiveness of endorsers (Ohanian, 1991; Atkin and Block, 1983).


attractiveness has been traditionally viewed as having three interrelated aspects—familiarity, similarity, and liking (McGuire 1969).

According to McGuire (1969), source attractiveness included familiarity, similarity and likability. Familiarity is defined as knowledge of the source through Exposure; similarity is the supposed resemblance between the source and receiver of a message; likability is affection for the source as a result of the source's physical attractiveness, behavior, or credentials.

According to McGuire (1969), sources that are known to, liked by, and/or similar to the consumer are considered attractive and persuasive.

The Source Attractiveness Model

According to McCracken's (1989) research on celebrity endorsement, he also built up the source attractiveness model in refers to the social psychology research. Ohanian (1990) further defined the model and claimed that, the familiarity, similarity and likeability as well as the physical attractiveness of source determine the effectiveness of message to the receiver. Salomon (2002) explained that source attractiveness is the physical appearance, the personality, likeability and similarity of endorser to receiver, in which forming the social perceived value.

Scholars like Caballero et al. (1989) and Bower & Landreth (2001) argued that physical attractiveness is having lesser influence in the model than the previous expectation. Bower & Landreth (2001) examined that the highly attractive models are not always useful in promoting products. And sometimes, negative impact might results (Bower, 2001). It proved that the effectiveness of advertisement is not solely created by the physical attractiveness, but also the consumer's perception on the product expertise of endorser.

-Celebrity Endorsement

-Expert Endorsement

-Non-celebrity non-expert endorsement

Product Involvement

Moderating role of product involvement

Although there are many reviews made to explain how the endorser-product match can increase the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement, little attempts have been made to explore the conditions under which such match-up effects become effective. DeSarbo and Harshman (1985) suggested that the characteristics of the audience will affect the impact of a celebrity-product match. However, someone argued that celebrity-product pairs should be relevant to the specific segment of audience involved for celebrity endorsement to succeed. Research on schema-based evaluation suggests that the influence on judgment of information inconsistent with existing schémas will not materialize unless consumers are motivated and willing to spend cognitive resources on resolving schema incongruity (Peracchio and Tybout, 1996). Involvement is one of the consumer variables which have been used to determine consumers' motivation and ability to process information (Andrew, Durvasula, and Akhter, 1990; Petty, Cacioppo, and Schumann, 1983). There is a large empirical research documented as the consumers have greater product involvement, they are more likely to elaborate on advertisements than those with less involvement (Muehling, Laczniak, and Andrews, 1993). Based on the literature about involvement, the consumers with higher product involvement will be predicted to have more pronounced effect of celebrity-product congruence than those with lower product involvement. Also, it is suggested that the consumers will be more likely motivated to elaborate on the content of the advertisement if they are highly involved with a product advertised (Petty, Cacioppo, and Schumann, 1983). Such central processing makes the consumers interpreting the relationship between the product and the endorser with substantial cognitive resources. In this case, the consumers notice the link between the product and endorser and have more inferences about them that it leads to a greater match-up effect. Thus, the following hypothesis is postulated: H2: Product involvement will moderate the impact of celebrity-product congruence. In particular, it is obvious that the consumers with higher product-category involvement will have pronounced effect of celebrity-product congruence than those with lower product-category involvement in terms of (a) attitude toward the advertisement, (b) brand attitude, and (c) purchase Intention.

Utilitarian versus Hedonic Products

Marketing scholars have developed several ways of classifying products and recognized product types having the differential effects on consumer behavior. One distinction, that of utilitarian versus hedonic products, has a long history (Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982; Park, Jaworski, & MacInnis, 1986). Utilitarian products purchased and consumed primarily satisfy the consumers in practical or functional needs like solving consumption-related problems that they encounter. Hedonic products purchased and consumed satisfy the sensory pleasure of consumers or their symbolic needs which are related to their sense of themselves and others' perceptions of them. These distinctions have been found when the consumers evaluate a product that they lead different psychological processes (Holbrook & Moore, 1981; Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982). In evaluation process for utilitarian products, the consumers tend to focus primarily on the objective and tangible attributes of the product. These characteristics of utilitarian information processing are in line with the arguments and their theoretical backgrounds employed earlier to explain how consumers would respond to endorser ethnicity and product COO. That is, attribution theory which should be applicable for utilitarian products is a cognitively based explanation. On the other hand, in evaluation process for hedonic products, they are evaluated primarily based on aesthetics, taste, and sensory experience rather than on tangible features (Grubb & Grathwohl, 1967; Holbrook & Moore, 1981). Therefore, the consumers tend to utilize others' preferences or recommendations to make sense of the subjective and rather ambiguous nature of hedonic products. In this process, they would be more strongly influenced by similar others. In this research, for hedonic products, the congruence between the audience's and endorser's ethnicity (one form of membership- group similarity) should serve as relevant information to the communication because ethnic-group membership should be closely related to shared values and cultural systems (Moschis & Churchill, 1978). That is, consumers will infer that endorsers with similar ethnicity are likely to have similar attitudes, opinions, and preferences, which will result in a stronger impact on their responses. In contrast, when viewing an advertisement featuring a model of different ethnicity endorsing a hedonic product, consumers would employ a dissimilar-disagree heuristic such as “She is not like me so I don't think she knows what I like.”

In an attempt to identify the boundary conditions of the effects of source expertise and similarity, Feick and Higie (1992) first categorized products based on cross-consumer heterogeneity of preferences toward particular products. They found that participants were more strongly influenced by similar sources when evaluating preference-heterogeneous products (e.g., nightclubs), whereas expert sources were more influential for preference-homogeneous products (e.g., car mechanics). Under the assumption that hedonic products are more likely to be preference- heterogeneous, it is expected that the endorsers with similar ethnicity to the audience will exert strong influences on audience responses for hedonic products. In a similar vein, Alden, Steenkamp, and Batra (1999), using content analysis, reported that a local positioning (e.g., using a model of a similar ethnicity) was used most frequently for food products (i.e., hedonic products) in television adverting, whereas a global positioning (e.g., using a model of a different ethnicity) was found most frequently for durable, high-technology products (i.e., utilitarian products).

Thus, in summary, attribution theory should operate for utilitarian products, but for hedonic products, the critical connection will be between the ethnicity of the endorser and the audience.


There are myriad ways to measure consumer behavior; there are countless influences that affect brand consumption, but one of the most intriguing is through the celebrity endorsement process. This relatively new phenomena is a rapidly growing business, that spills into every avenue of the market. For this reason, celebrity endorsements of brand name apparel should be studied more closely. As consumers are inundated with celebrity advertisements in every day life, it would be beneficial to know how they think, feel, and react to this very fashionable trend. So the purpose of this study was to examine how a celebrity adds equity to the product/brand being endorsed, will it help researchers learn how consumers really feel about celebrities in advertising and how that is related to their attitudes toward the advertised product and their intent to purchase the advertised product. Using the variables of 1) physical attractiveness, 2) source credibility (of the endorser), and 3) celebrity/brand congruency (match-up/fit), will help researchers understand what factors consumers look for when forming attitudes towards celebrities.

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