Award Date

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sports Education Leadership

First Committee Member

Nancy Lough

Second Committee Member

Doris Watson

Third Committee Member

Kurt Stahura

Fourth Committee Member

Vicki Rosser

Number of Pages

138

Abstract

The use of celebrity athletes as endorsers has become a popular marketing strategy. Celebrity athletes are often used to endorse products because it is believed they positively impact brand attitudes (Friedman & Friedman, 1979; Kamins, et. al., 1989; Till, Stanley, Priluck, 2008) and fostering brand loyalty (Bush, et. al., 2004). In addition, celebrity athletes are used to help a company differentiate their products and build instant name recognition (Henriks, 1996). This dissertation explored factors associated with celebrity endorser effectiveness. The conceptual framework for this study was grounded by the Source Credibility Model (Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1953; Hovland & Weiss, 1951; McGuire, 1968) and the Source Attractiveness Model (McGuire, 1985). The two models consist of the factors: trustworthiness, attractiveness, expertise, similarity, familiarity, and likability. The six factors were analyzed to gain a better understanding of the construct celebrity endorser effectiveness or the ability of an endorser to produce a strong positive impression. The purpose of this study was to create a valid and reliable measuring tool, based on the six factors included in the source credibility and source attractiveness models, to assess celebrity athlete endorser effectiveness. The specific research questions were; 1) What factors (i.e., expertise, trustworthiness, attractiveness, similarity, likability, familiarity) contribute to celebrity athlete endorser effectiveness? 2) Does a respondent's gender affect the perceived effectiveness of a celebrity athlete endorser?

3) Does the celebrity athlete endorser's gender affect his/her perceived effectiveness?

The study was conducted through the use of an online survey. An undergraduate student sample (n= 813) viewed hypothetical advertisements of two celebrity athlete endorsers and answered a 36-item survey with questions pertaining to the factors associated with the Source Credibility and Source Attractiveness Models. An exploratory factor analysis uncovered three factors impacting celebrity athlete endorser effectiveness. Two of the factors were contained previously by the Source Credibility and Source Attractiveness Models, attractiveness and familiarity while a newly forged factor, compatibility was also uncovered. The new factor compatibility, comprised of the factors similarity and expertise, is the strength of the perceived relationship between consumer and the celebrity athlete endorser. The study also resulted in the development of the 11-item Athlete Endorser Effectiveness Scale which will provide a simple and comprehensive evaluation tool for sport marketers and academics to further research on the celebrity athlete endorser phenomenon.

Keywords

Athletes; Brand loyalty; Branding (Marketing); Celebrities; Celebrity; Effectiveness; Endorser; Endorsements in advertising; Indorsements; Marketing; Sports

Disciplines

Advertising and Promotion Management | Marketing | Sports Management

Language

English


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