Celebrity Endorsement in the Sharing Accommodation Industry in China: The Impact of Message Appeal
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This study examines the effect of celebrity endorsement in the context of a sharing accommodation brand in China. More specifically, how the degree of congruency between the celebrity endorsers and the endorsed brand can affect customers’ purchase intentions of the brand was tested in this study. This study also investigated the moderating role of message appeal (hard-sell vs. soft-sell) on the impact of endorser-brand congruency on purchase intentions. This study adopted an experimental design method to answer the research questions. Scenario-based online questionnaires were used as the research instrument, and four scenarios were created to test the hypotheses. Data were collected from 216 Chinese customers recruited by the Chinese panel data company, Sojump. The study results showed that customers’ preferences for an online sharing accommodation platform were significantly influenced by the degree of endorser-brand congruency shown in the advertisement. Furthermore, a high degree of endorser-brand congruency was shown to have a positive effect on customers’ purchase intentions, while the advertisement’s type of message appeal was found to moderate the effect of endorser-brand congruency on purchase intentions. The degree of endorser-brand congruency had a stronger effect on customers’ purchase intentions in a hard-sell appeal advertisement than in a soft-sell appeal advertisement. The findings of the study enhance the current understanding of customers’ preferences when choosing a sharing accommodation platform in terms of the moderating role of message appeal in a celebrity-endorsed advertisement in the Chinese context. The implications of the findings are discussed for hospitality researchers and practitioners alike.