Celebrity Endorsement and Congruence: An Experimental Study

By Michela Cortini, Antonella Vicenti and Riccardo Giorgio Zuffo.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Celebrity endorsement is a more and more used tool within the domain of psychology of marketing and advertising.
Beside the fact of showing famous and, generally, beautiful people, it is not at all clear if such a marketing device works and, if so, under which conditions.
The present study aims at verifying at which level the power of influence of celebrity endorsement works. In particular, we hypothesize that celebrity endorsement effect is stronger when the star promotes something which can be seen by the audience as belonging to the world of the star him/herself, what is known in literature as congruence. In other words, we hypothesize that a sport star, for example, will be more effective when promoting some product related to the sport world, like, for example, sport equipment, rather than when promoting something which does not make direct reference to her/his world, like food, in this case.
In the preliminary study we have tested the supposed over-use of celebrity endorsement by an analysis of 1801 tv ads and, in addition, we have recorded which type of products celebrities are used to promote.
In the core study we have tested the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement in relation to the congruence between endorser and product.
According to our manipulation checks, we have prepared 4 different printed advertisements; 2 of them involving, as celebrity, ex-Miss Italy, Martina Colombari, who now is a popular Italian actress and 2 of them involving a common person. For each of the above mentioned conditions (celebrity vs non-celebrity) we have prepared 2 different advertisements, one promotes a perfume and the other one a tomato-sauce, which is the way by which we have operazionalized the variable “congruence”.
The paper presents the main results according to which celebrity endorsement is very effective, without significant differences in terms of product type.

Keywords: Product Goodwill, Advertisement, Celebrity Endorsement

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 8, pp.325-336. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 742.548KB).

Prof. Michela Cortini

Senior Research in Work and Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti, Chieti - Pescara, Pescara, Italy

Michela Cortini, Ph.D, is Assistant Professor in Work and Organizational Psychology, University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti Pescara (Italy). She is a charter member and councilor of the Organizational Psychology Chapter of the Italian Association of Psychology. Her main research interests are in organizational communication, crisis management, organizational well-being and mixed methods for Industrial and Organizational psychology.

Dr. Antonella Vicenti

University of Bari, Italy

Dr. Antonella Vicenti received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology (curriculum of work and organizational psychology) from the University of Bari Aldo Moro in 2009. Her research interests include advertising research and organizational culture.

Prof. Riccardo Giorgio Zuffo

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Psychology, University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti, Pescara, Italy


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