Endorsement and Promoting Sport and Physical Activity to Young People: Exploring Gender and the Career Status of Athlete Endorsers
Rationale/Purpose: We investigated the role of gender (both endorser and audience) and career status on young people’s attitude, participation intention and perception of fit in the context of a social marketing campaign promoting sport and physical activity participation.
Design/Methodology/Approach: In a 2 × 2 × 2 experiment, the eight conditions were based on endorser gender (female and male), endorser career status (current and former) and participant gender (female and male). Participants were aged between 16 and 24 years.
Findings: Endorser’s gender, career status and participants’ gender had no significant effect on attitude and intention related to the social marketing campaign. However, endorser gender significantly influenced participants’ perceptions of gender fit, and perceptions of career status fit. Either a current or former female athlete was perceived as a better fit than a male athlete endorser. Furthermore, the career status of an endorser significantly impacted perception of career status fit, but only for participants who were highly involved in sport and physical activity.
Practical Implications: Using former athletes is a more-than-viable strategy, and both male and female endorsers are equally likely to facilitate behaviour change in young adults.
Research Contribution: Social marketing campaigns promoting promote sport and physical activity can leverage the celebrity capital of retired athletes.