Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Consumer Behaviour

Chapter 2


2.1 Introduction

As stated earlier, this chapter will provide an overview of the consumer behaviour and specifically, it will focus on the celebrity endorsement approach. It will be examined, how celebrities connect to consumer behaviour, and beauty products in order to identify the gaps in the previous studies that were conducted. Therefore, this study will be discussed, the relationship between celebrities, consumer behaviour and beauty products, so many literatures on each these topics will be provided. Moreover, chapter 2 will be divided into three sections where the following topics will be examined: (1) Factors which affect Consumer Behaviour, (2) Celebrity endorsement and the role of celebrities in advertising and (3) Celebrity influence in beauty products.

2.2 Consumer Behaviour

Consumer behaviour is very important, and has been examined by many marketing scholars. It is also essential for marketers to understand how consumers behave and think, in order to identify consumers’ demands and satisfy their needs (Hoyer, 2014). Therefore, the field of consumer behaviour is “the study of individuals, organisations or groups and the processes they use to select, use and dispose products, services or experiences in order to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society” (Hawkins and Mothersbaugh, 2010:6). As Kotler and Keller (2009:190) appointed, a consumer’s behaviour is affected by three different factors: cultural, personal and social factors. There are many different kinds of factors, under each of these three categories. Throughout this study, I will examine the trends and factors that shape the consumer behaviour and how they influence consumers’ decisions.

According to Solomon et al. (2006), culture is “a mixture of meanings, norms, rituals and traditions shared by an organisation or a society”. As Blackwell et al. (2006) mentioned, culture has a profound effect on how and why people, purchase and consume services and products. Culture has an impact on how people buy, as well as, influences the structure of consumption and the individual decision making process (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). Therefore, as Kotler and Keller (2009) stated, culture and specifically subculture, is one of the factors which has an impact on how consumers search for information. Also, culture affect how consumers make purchase decisions, during the need stage and the alternatives stage in the decision making process (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013). Subculture is also a part of culture, which influences the way, people act as consumers. A subculture is a culture within a broader culture, which has its own separate beliefs and values (Kotler and Keller, 2009). Moreover, L’Oréal, which is one of the worlds’ largest cosmetic companies, is tailored their products regarding to consumers’ culture (Noel, 2009:49). As Solomon et al. (2014) reported, another factor which is involved in the cultural factors, is the social class. Social class, affect the purchase decision and consumer behaviour, because different products and services are appropriate for certain social classes. Consumers can make their decisions, regarding to their social class, which is influenced by the culture of each individual (Blackwell et al., 2006).

Lifestyle, age, occupation, income, personality and self-concept are all located in the personal factors category. As Mowen and Minor (1998) stated, lifestyle denotes how people live, how they allocate their time and how they spend their money. Personality refers to the internal characteristics of a person and therefore through that characteristics, consumer make their consumption choices. Also, personality consists of distinctive patterns of behaviours that make one individual different from another (Hoyer and MacInnis, 2008). According to Hawkins and Mothersbaugh (2010), there are many theories of personality but the most useful is the Trait Theory. Therefore, Trait Theory examines personality as an individual difference. As people have different personalities, they have as well as different consumption choices. Age and occupation are another factors which play a major role on the consumer behaviour, because each age has different preferences and also for people who have different occupations, they have different consumption decisions. The income of each person has an impact on what they buy and from which shop. The income is a major factor in the consumer behaviour, because regarding to the income people choose their products or brands (Hoyer and MacInnis, 2008). Finally, the last personal factor that it will be discussed is the self-concept. As Hoyer and MacInnis (2008) added, self-concept is how people view others people and how people view themselves. When people buy something, it says something about themselves and about their identity. As a result, through the purchase decision, consumers influence by the self-concept.

Belonging to groups and trying to “fit in”, it is assumed that affect every stage of the consumer decision making process (Blackwell et al., 2006). As Park and Lewsig (1977) noted, the behaviours, values and attitudes of the group are perceived to have relevance upon the behaviours, evaluations and aspirations of another individual and as a result, reference group has a significant impact on consumers’ behaviour. Reference group is defined as “any person or group of people who influences an individual’s behaviour (Blackwell et al., 2006).Therefore, reference groups can be individuals, such as athletes, political leaders or celebrities. Hoyer (2014) pointed that, other people’s opinions will affect consumer’s decision making by becoming judgment standards.Such groups, affect people by creating socialisation of individuals, which it is important in developing self-concept and provide a benchmark for comparing each other. Celebrities grab attention, communicate effectively with consumers and as a result, they create awareness (Blackwell et al., 2006). Consumers may emulate with celebrities, by using the endorsed products and this, has a huge impact on their consumption decisions. Another personal factor, is the role of the family and how family affect the buying decisions. Finally, as Kotler and Keller (2009) demonstrated, status in the society is another factor. For instance, consumer behaviour is influenced by each person’s social class and by the concept of a taste culture. In understanding the consumption choices among the social class, it is important to take into consideration the concept of a taste culture which differentiate people in terms of their aesthetic and preferences (Solomon et al., 2014).

While, this study is presented the factors that affect consumer behaviour, in the following section it will be discussed the phenomenon of celebrities and how they influence consumers about their consumption choices. Therefore, it will be noted the role of celebrities and how companies select the celebrity who wish to endorse their brand or their product.

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2.3 Celebrity Endorsement

Competition today is a fierce. In today’s competitive world, marketers need to do their products more memorable and more appealing. In order to achieve this, they use celebrity representative. Through the product diversity and the rivalry of services and products, celebrity representative become more and more popular in today’s modern marketing (McCracken, 1989). Researchers have noted that, companies spend huge amount of money in paying celebrities to endorse their products and brands (Erdogan 1999; Agrawal and Wagner 1995; Gabor et al. 1987; Mathur et al. 1997; Kaikati 1987). Using celebrities in advertising was originated since mid- nineteenth century. Dates back to the mid nineteenth century, Cadbury received their first Royal Warrant on 1854 as “manufacturers of cocoa and chocolate to Queen Victoria”. During the year 1854, Queen Victoria agreed to lend her face to one of the print advertisements of Cadbury (Erdogan, 1999). Erdogan (1999), published a table which shows the percentage change in the number of advertisements that use endorsers over the last thirty years.

Figure 1: Estimates the utilising celebrity endorsers in all commercials

The figure 1 below, was taken from the academic article of Erdogan (1999: 291).

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In 1979, Erdogan claimed that the usage of celebrity endorsers was estimated as one in every six advertisements. In 1988, was estimated as one in every five advertisements and by 1997, advertisements used some form of endorsers had risen to 25% (Erdogan, 1999). As Shimp (1997) reported, 25% of US advertisements had celebrity endorsers. Therefore, between two and three billion dollars were spent on celebrity advertising in 2006 in USA only (White et al., 2009). Over the years, the usage of celebrity endorsers has dramatically increased. As McCracken (1989) mentioned, a celebrity endorser is defined as “any individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement”. Although, this definition was defined in 1989, it is still relevant today and it has been used by many researches. Nowadays, the majority of companies are using celebrity endorsement as form of marketing communication, in order to add some value to the promoted products and influence consumers to make a purchase. Recent research findings have shown, that 8 out of 10 TV commercials scoring the highest recall are those with celebrities’ appearances (Mukherjee, 2009).

Celebrity endorsers may be entertainers such as, actors, actress, models, singers or even athletes, business people and politicians (Hsu and McDonald, 2002). Therefore, the selection of a celebrity endorser is a really significant decision (Ohanian, 1990). Previous studies on celebrity endorsement have examined the relationship between the endorser and the credibility. For a celebrity to be attractive, consumers need to trustworthy and believe what the celebrity say something about the product. An attractive celebrity will be more credible and attractive by the audience (Miciak and Shanklin, 1994). As Miciak and Shanklin (1994) examined, a celebrity should meet five characteristics. She or he needs to be trustworthy, recognisable by the target audience, affordable, at little risk for negative publicity and match with the audience. Therefore, credibility is the primary reason, for choosing a spokesperson. The most important dimensions of credibility, are expertise of the product, or trustworthiness. If a celebrity is credible, then the consumers may intend to mimic a celebrity’s appearance, and buy the product endorsed (Miciak and Shanklin, 1994: 54). Experts claimed, that a celebrity’s values, appearance and image, must be relevant with the product endorsed. For example, L’Oréal uses Beyoncé Knowles to endorse the beauty line of the company, because she is such, a suitable and influential person for promoting beauty products. She has many positive characteristics, which gives to the products a good taste. Moreover, Beyoncé, such an extremely positive endorser, has a womanly shape body and a beautiful face, which influence consumers effectively. All these physical characteristics, connected to create the need in consumers’ mind and buy a beauty product, in order to be attractive and sexy like Beyoncé (Miciak and Shanklin, 1994). Celebrities play a vital role in the mind of consumers, and they are influential people who can persuade consumers, to buy products through their characteristics. In the following paragraph, the role of celebrity endorsement will be presented.

According to Kanungo and Pharg (1973), the usage of people in advertising gives a more meaningful social context for the product and also, provokes more emotional reactions from the consumer, towards the product. People who are good looking, attractive and appealing used as endorsers by advertisers and celebrities will be in this particular group. As Audi et al. (2015) mentioned, celebrity endorsement research has revolved around five themes: celebrity meaning transfer (McCracken, 1989), celebrity attractiveness, celebrity credibility, celebrity impact on consumers and brands (Ohanian, 1991) and the Match-up hypothesis (Kamins, 1990).

Figure 2:  Meaning Movement and the Endorsement Process

Source: McCracken 1989 – The figure 2 was taken from Erdogan (1999: 306).

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McCracken (1989) demonstrates a “Meaning Transfer Model” which is made out of three stages. Moreover, it is one of the most important theories which is used to explain and describe the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement. Celebrity endorsers bring their own symbolic meanings to the endorsement process and that meaning is associated with the celebrity and it is initially transferred from the endorser to the brand.  This process starts with the formation of celebrity image, continues with the transfer of meaning from the celebrity to the product and then finally, it ends with the transfer meaning from product to consumers (McCracken, 1989). As McCracken (1989) claimed, advertising is the best way of moving meanings from culture, to consumers and to goods. Therefore, the second component of celebrity endorsement is the celebrity attractiveness. Through the attractiveness of celebrities, Atkin and Block (1983), mentioned that attractiveness, is one of the reasons why famous endorsers are influential. While physical attractiveness is a characteristic of celebrities, they are considered as credible people, when they are endorsed a beauty product. Their role is to transfer the good taste, to consumers and persuade them to buy it. According to Mukherjee (2009) and Ahmed et al. (2015), attractive celebrities are more influential than people who are not attractive. Physical attractiveness is really important in cosmetics industries. For example, physical attractiveness might be useful when selling a beauty product but not when selling a computer (Silvera and Austad, 2004). Furthermore, Patzer (1983) states that “an attractive endorser can make consumers have better purchase intention, and preference and that credible endorser can influence the brand image, brand equity and buying intention”. Finally, celebrities can increase the profit of a company and as well as the product sales (Elberse and Verleun, 2012).

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Celebrity credibility is the third aspect that a celebrity need to possess. Credibility is about two different components, which are expertise and trustworthiness (Ohanian, 1991). According to Silvera and Austad (2004), trustworthiness is defined, as “the general believability of the endorser and the believed willingness of the spokesperson to make those claims”. Moreover, Friedman et al. (1979) mentioned that “trustworthiness is the major important aspect of credibility, because trust is in correlation with the credibility of endorser”. The second component of celebrity credibility, is the expertise. Expertise, relates to the product knowledge of the endorser, and also the validity of her or his claims, regarding to the product (Silvera and Austad, 2004). Ohanian (1991), found that the expertise of a celebrity increases the need for consumers, to buy the product or brand so, it is a main element for a celebrity to be expert on the particular product. Celebrities, may be credible, when they are endorsing a product relating to their expertise. For instance, a beautiful model endorsing cosmetics or other type of beauty product.

Moreover, the usage and the role of celebrity endorsement is really remarkable. Audi et al. (2015), state that, celebrities through their big names, may help the advertisements emerge from the huge number of advertisements, and also enhance their ability to communicate. Furthermore, celebrities can create public relations, base for the brands and under the right circumstances, they legitimize the high expenses of promotions (Audi et al., 2015). Celebrities’ role is to persuade to buy a product even if consumers worried about the social acceptance or others’ opinions. The role of a celebrity, is to persuade consumers, that the product is useful and through their expertise, influence them to try it. As Anjum et al. (2012) claimed, celebrities are people who are knowledgeable, influential and also reliable.

As Ohanian (1990) noted, a celebrity endorser need to have a deep professional experience and knowledge, in order to endorse a product effectively. Through the knowledge and by providing consumers with information about the product, consumers are influenced by celebrities. Therefore, celebrities are influential, and they are the best way of persuading consumers, due to their high profiles, high lifestyle and fame. When celebrities endorse brands or products, they create brand loyalty, by enhancing the brand name and product quality (Hollis, 2008). As Kamins (1990) suggested, celebrities need to fit with the product being endorsed. It has examined that, celebrity endorsement is more effective, when the characteristics of the celebrity, are well fitted with the endorsed product (Kamins 1990; Kahle and Homer 1985). Moreover, as an example, it is claimed to be more influential when a famous and beautiful model endorse a beauty product than a computer. Celebrities have their own characteristics and based to their characteristics, they are suitable to endorse specific products. For instance, in the beauty industry, advertisers have frequently selected celebrities regarding to their physical attractiveness, in order to express their beauty towards the products and have an impact on consumer decision making process. An attractive and knowledgeable celebrity, will be informed the consumers about the product effectively, and gain the attention of consumers.

In addition, Kamins (1990) mentioned, that the “match-up” hypothesis need to be positive, in order to achieve a successful advertisement. Advertisers need to find a positive endorser in order to avoid such conflicts. As Amos et al. (2008) stated, negative information about a celebrity had a huge impact on the effectiveness of an advertisement. Having an example, Kate Moss who has endorsed many brands as a famous and successful model. She is a well-known model for endorsing Rimmel and as well as, other cosmetic brands. Kate Moss, was found to be a drug user, and many cosmetic companies stop their contracts with the model. Chanel decided not to renew her contract, which was £750000 for a year, in order to no longer be the face of their perfume. They stopped her contract through the bad image that Kate Moss has (Matthews, 2005). It is really important, that the celebrity endorser have a positive and good name in society, otherwise the brand image will be damaged, as consumers will connected to their face and personality that they have done with the brand.

2.4 Celebrity Endorsement and Beauty Products

In cosmetic industry, advertising with famous models and spokesperson is often used to allure people to purchase different products. Advertising is useful in building brand equity, and spokespeople might become associated with a brand in memory (Keller, 1993). Solomon et al. (2006:186), states that the French cosmetic company L’Oréal persuades many women to purchase their products by promising them the feeling of Parisian chick and associating their products with sexy spokeswomen. L’Oréal as a cosmetic company try to sell a brand to consumers and as well as an image which is associated with some qualities or characteristics. In other words, L’Oréal in order to achieve this, the company uses celebrities as spokespeople to present their cosmetic brand. Celebrity endorsement, is highly used in cosmetics advertisements, which the company intends to transfer the perfection, beauty and elegance the celebrity presents to the consumer (Audi et al., 2015).

As Choi et al (2005) noted, that celebrities enjoy high profile and glamorous images in the eyes of the public through the mass media which saturated with information and images about celebrities.

Celebrity figures draw consumer attention, create and differentiate product images and generate high recall rates. As a result, celebrity endorsement it has been proven from many researchers that it is a valuable strategy (Erdogan 1999; Agrawal and Kamakura 1995; Marhur et al. 1997; Gabor et al. 1987; Rangan 1997). As Ahmed et al. (2015) and Mukherjee (2009) claimed, celebrity endorsed advertisements are more attractive than the non-celebrity endorsed. They highlighted that celebrity endorsement has an impact on buying and attitude intention. It is also considered, that consumers prefer to buy the products which are endorsed by celebrities and that celebrity endorsement advertisements boost the sales of a product (Ahmed et al. 2015; Mukherjee, 2009).

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Rimmel and L’Oréal are both used celebrity endorsement in order to maintain their popularity and image. Both beauty industries, used many different female celebrities from Cheryl Cole to Beyoncé Knowles and Rimmel is best known for using Kate Moss to endorse their products.  As Cashmore (2014) stated, L’Oréal spent over $1.7 billion a year for its advertisements. By using celebrities in the advertisements, create the need to consumers and make them buy the product because will make them like the celebrity who endorse it. For instance, take an example of mascaras. Each company sold mascara but pretty much the same, with only difference be the brush which give to lashes volume or make them appear longer.  Penelope Cruz who is endorsing Lancôme’s mascaras, she may not use that particular mascara but consumers buy it because they believe that it must be good if such a high profile celebrity is seen to be using it. If it was endorsed by a non-celebrity then maybe consumers think that it is not a good mascara (Cashmore, 2014).

Klaus and Bailey (2008) described that men and women respond differently to advertising and that women are more sensitive and responsive than men. They also found that women are willing to believe the claims of advertisers more easily than men (Klaus and Bailey, 2008).

This study is focused on females, and on beauty products, and as it is stated above, women are more willing to believe what an advertisement claim. Therefore, the majority of women when they see advertisements with unrealistic images of beauty, they feel low self-confidence, low self-esteem and also anxiety. Furthermore, women feel unhappy with their appearance and with their body and in order to, handle their appearance they use cosmetics, or different forms of beauty, such as hair care products, skin care products and perfumes.

There are many advertisements that show the intangible beautiful image to women of all shapes, sizes and age. Technology is a key element, in the world today, and it plays a major role in almost everything. Due to the technological advantages today, photo-shopped, computer enhanced models in advertisements, societal expectations, and standards of beauty has changed. Society has built up impossible standards of beauty, and as a result, women feel unhappy and disappointed with their appearance. From a young age, girls want to improve their appearance and their attractiveness by using beauty products. Cosmetics are an easy way to improve and solve temporarily some beauty problems. Furthermore, Cash and Cash (1982), conducted a research which was about “Women’s Use of Cosmetics” and they found that, self- consciousness is positively related with using cosmetics. Another study was conducted by Beausoleil (1992), was about the cosmetics and that nowadays cosmetics and beauty products in general, become an easy way of measuring the standards of beauty.

Well-known sociologist, Jean Kilbourne (2000) argues, that women feel pressure by the beauty standard. Cosmetics advertisements encourage women to buy beauty products, in order to give them the chance to achieve the beauty standard.  In order to achieve this, beauty industries use celebrities, and famous models and especially attractive people, to endorse their product or their brand. Cosmetics advertisements, make women feel unhappy and unsatisfied with their body and appearance. After watching advertisements, women feel more dissatisfaction and unhappy with their appearance. Advertisements, work more effectively when they are trying to sell a beauty product which can make women look better. Moreover, cosmetics companies may cause women the feeling of insecure and as a result, offer them that particular product so they have a solution to their problem. Cosmetics advertisements use retouch images in order to make models appear more “perfect” than they are in the reality. Kilbourne claims that women are more likely to purchase a product when they see an advertisement for the product. For instance, a woman who sees an advertisement about a mascara, but would still be more likely to buy a mascara.

Previous researches have shown, that celebrity endorsement influence females to buy beauty products (Ingavale 2016; Vidhya and Tamizhyothi, 2014). Ingavale (2016), was conducted a research, on the perceptions of young consumers, towards celebrity endorsement and how they are influenced by them. The study was conducted only for cosmetics, and she found that, celebrity endorsers create an impact on how consumer choose what cosmetics to buy. She claimed that, 70% of her respondents were agreed, that celebrity endorsed advertisements are more attractive than non-celebrity endorsed advertisements. Through her research, she found that, television media is defined as the most effective media for celebrity endorsed advertisements by 78.6%. She also presented, that the preference of consumers for the cosmetics endorsed by celebrities is influenced by the sense of similarity between celebrity and customer, familiarity, trustworthiness and relevance of celebrity to the product (Ingavale, 2016). Therefore, in Vidhya and Tamizhyothi’s (2014) research, was found that, consumer attitude was influenced, by many factors in order to select their cosmetics. For instance, they stated that, when consumers feel stressful, they buy a cosmetic or a beauty product or even when they feel financially comfortable. According to Vidhya and Tamizhyothi (2014), packaging causes consumers to buy cosmetics products. Finally, some consumers claim, that they purchase cosmetics products at discounted rates or when they like them at first sight (Vidhya and Tamizhyothi, 2014).

2.5 Conclusion

To summarise, the aim of this research project is to explore how celebrity endorsement affects young female consumers, between 18-34 years old to purchase beauty products. To guide my analysis, my research questions are as follows:

  1. What factors affect young female consumers’ decision making on choosing beauty products?
  2. To what extent celebrity endorsement on beauty products affects young female consumers’ preferences?
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