A cross-cultural look at Celebrity Sports Endorsement

Culbreath, James
Kim, Jungkeun
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

Celebrity endorsers have dominated advertising for many years (Cho, 2010). Their ability to cut through advertising clutter has contributed to their effectiveness as persuasive advertising sources (Kamen, Ahzari, & Kragh, 1975). More recently sports celebrities have been heavily utilized to endorse products and services (Charbonneau, 2006). However, not all celebrity sports endorsement advertising campaigns around the world have been successful. This has raised a number of issues regarding the use of celebrity sports endorsers in advertising.

Theories such as credibility, attractiveness, match and meaning transfer have been offered as explanations for the persuasiveness of celebrity athletes in advertising. However, past study results have been inconclusive (Kahle & Homer, 1985; Kamins, 1989; McCracken, 1989). Therefore, a new perspective combining elements of current theory is proposed in the current research. Specifically, the research looks at situations where consumer perceptions of athlete performance enhancement by an endorsed product affect consumer attitudes toward advertising.

In addition, due to the global use of celebrity sports endorsement cultural values have been recognised to affect consumer persuasion and attitudes. The bulk of marketing literature has focussed on western perspectives (Triandis, 1996). Therefore, persuasion across two dissimilar cultures for celebrity sports endorsement advertising is also explored.

The study examines the responses of 189 survey participants from New Zealand. Participants represented either individualists which were non-Maori, mainly white European New Zealanders (hereafter Pakeha) or collectivists which were Pacific Islanders resident in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand (hereafter Pasifika). The empirical findings of the research show that advertising which features products which appear to have an enhancing effect on sporting performance are evaluated more positively compared to products which do not appear to enhance sporting performance. The research also indicates that cultural values determine differences in persuasion and attitudes for individualist and collectivist consumers.

Marketing , Sports
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