Celebrity Endorsement. Why do consumers like celebrity endorsers?

Bachelor Thesis, 2008

90 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents




1.1 Definition of Celebrity Endorser
1.2 Background of Celebrity Endorsement
1.3 Q-Score
1.4 Heidi Klum
1.4.1 Heidi Klum’s Career
1.5 Outline

2.1 Luxury Lifestyle
2.2 Personal Life
2.3 Personality
2.4 Attractiveness
2.5 Successful Career
2.6 Credibility

3.1 Perception Process
3.2 Self-Concept

4.1 Research Question and Objectives
4.2 Research Philosophy
4.3 Research Approach
4.4 Research Strategy
4.4.1 Time Horizon
4.4.2 Research Method
4.4.3 Data Collection Techniques
4.4.4 Questionnaire Design
4.4.5 Piloting
4.5 Sampling Definition
4.5.1 Sampling Techniques
4.5.2 Sampling Selection
4.6 Ethics, Non-Response and Response Bias
4.7 Research Limitations

5.1 Perception of HK’s Luxury Lifestyle
5.2 Perception of HK’s Personal Life
5.3 Perception of HK’s Personality
5.4 Perception of HK’s Attractiveness
5.5 Perception of HK’s Successful Career
5.6 Perception of HK’s Credibility


7.1 Questionnaire
7.2 Overall Ranking of Likeability Factors



I would like to express my gratitude to all those who gave me the opportunity to complete this project.

During the preparation I have been encouraged and stimulated by conversation with friends and my family. I must acknowledge my gratitude to my friend Christine Embach for her continued collegiality, critical emotional support and patience.

I also would like to extend extra special thanks to my supervisor Alex Muresan from London Metropolitan University, whose help, stimulating suggestions and encouragement helped me at all times of writing the project. This study would not have been written without her devotion, guidance and support.

Finally, I would like to thank Sameera Yasir for correcting the spelling of this project.


Figure 1: Selection of celebrity endorser

Figure 2: Likeability model

Figure 3: Perception process

Figure 4: Types of research studies

Figure 5: Research philosophy

Figure 6: Research approach

Figure 7: Research strategy

Figure 8: Time horizon

Figure 9: Research method

Figure 10: Data collection techniques

Figure 11: Electronic questionnaire

Figure 12: Questionnaire part A

Figure 13: Questionnaire part A

Figure 14: Questionnaire part B

Figure 15: Questionnaire part B

Figure 16: Questionnaire part C

Figure 17: Questionnaire part C

Figure 18: Questionnaire part D

Figure 19: Questionnaire part E

Figure 20: Questionnaire part E

Figure 21: Questionnaire part F

Figure 22: Questionnaire part F

Figure 23: Questionnaire part G

Figure 24: Sampling techniques

Figure 25: Types probability

Figure 26: Types non-probability

Figure 27: Sampling selection

Figure 28: Error

Figure 29: Likeable due to luxury lifestyle

Figure 30: Luxury lifestyle

Figure 31: Why women like Heidi Klum due to her luxury lifestyle

Figure 32: Why men like Heidi Klum due to her luxury lifestyle

Figure 33: Likeable due to her personal life

Figure 34: Likeable because of her personal life

Figure 35: Why women like her due to her personal life

Figure 36: Why men like her due to her personal life

Figure 37: Gender differences

Figure 38: Likeable because of her personality traits

Figure 39: Gender differences: Likeable because of her personality

Figure 40: Personality traits

Figure 41: Why respondents like her due to her physical appearance

Figure 42: Would you sometimes wish to be like her?

Figure 43: Likeable due to her successful career

Figure 44: Gender differences

Figure 45: Successful career: cross-tabulation

Figure 46: Whether Heidi Klum believes in the products/brands she endorses

Figure 47: Are you convinced that she uses the products herself?

Figure 48: Likeable because of her credibility

Figure 49: Gender differences

Figure 50: Frequencies of likeability factors


The main aims of this study were to identify the primary reasons why consumers like celebrity endorsers, and whether or not the two genders express differences in their perceptions of celebrity endorsers. The chosen celebrity was Heidi Klum. A large number of specialist literature sources suggested six outstanding likeability factors, namely: a celebrity’s luxury lifestyle, personal life, personality, attractiveness, successful career and credibility. These likeability factors were investigated by means of 60 electronic questionnaires targeting Heidi Klum’s online social networking groups. The results of this study largely conform with the previously published findings. Some minor variations in perceptions between men and women have been identified as part of the research investigation. The study has revealed that all the above-mentioned factors are important in terms of liking a celebrity endorser. Among them, “attractiveness” has been classed as the main reason why both women and men like a celebrity endorser.


1.1 Definition of Celebrity Endorser

There are two widely recognised definitions of celebrity endorsement. McCracken (1989, p. 310) defines it 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”. Friedman and Friedman (1979, p. 63) state that “a celebrity endorser is an individual who is known to the public (…) for his or her achievements in areas other than that of the product class endorsed”.

1.2 Background of Celebrity Endorsement

Expressing the phenomenon of celebrity endorsement, it can be said that today’s culture is celebrity obsessed (Seckler, 2006, p. 14). Celebrity reputation attracts attention, as well as consumer perception stimulation and because of this there is a high impact of celebrities as brand endorsers. Celebrities as brand endorsers are based on the idea that consumers see celebrities as entertainers and as trustworthy people due to the “apparent lack of self-interest” (Kamen et al, 1975; cited in Atkin and Block, 1983, p. 57). According to Belch and Belch (2001), more than 20% of all TV commercials worldwide feature celebrities. Hence endorsers are used in all broadcast media, be it television, radio, print media, digital media, and even on outdoor billboards advertising. The involvement of celebrities as spokespeople covers many industries (Elliott, 1991, cited in Tripp and Jensen, 1994). Since many of the contracts with celebrities nowadays are so lucrative, it is not only the companies who concentrate on this advertising communication but also the celebrities themselves. For instance, athletes or actors direct their careers to the purpose (Belch and Belch, 2001).

A ranking by AceShowBiz (2007) illustrates the obsession of celebrity endorsement.

Catherine Zeta-Jones earns € 16.2 million for selling her image to T-Mobile, which makes her the highest-paid celebrity for products in 2006. Second on the list is Angelina Jolie endorsing St John and Nicole Kidman endorsing Chanel No.5, with earnings of € 9.7 million. Furthermore, celebrities such as Jessica Simpson and Gwyneth Paltrow, whose names and images are worth at least € 3.2 million. Any product effectively endorsed through association, is sure to be monetarily rewarded due to the constant interest the public has in these celebrities.

Therefore companies invest millions of dollars annually in contracts with celebrities (Elliott, 1991, cited in Tripp and Jensen, 1994) while the success of such advertising is repeatedly reviewed (Redenbach, 1999).

1.3 Q-Score

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1 is based on Forbes (2008).

A “Q-score” is a means of measurement of likeability, familiarity and appeal of a celebrity, every famous celebrity is matched against a “Q-score”. This “Q-score” likeability measurement criterion can aid the identification of an appropriate celebrity for advertising campaigns that may be pertinent to serve the purpose of the advertising campaign (Celebrity Genius, 2006).

Heidi Klum a 34 year old German Model from Bergisch, Germany is an internationally acclaimed and likeable celebrity, who’s endorsed brands dominate the market, possessing strong brand personality association. With an appropriate “Q-Score” as set down by Forbes, Heidi Klum deemed to be the most appropriate celebrity to base a study on. Although celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Gisele Bündchen have performed better on average in the rankings (Forbes, 2008, c) Heidi Klum was the best option to base a research on due to her unique endorsements, world wide popularity, successful career and her ability to be a young mother that made her profoundly suitable. Heidi Klum has been ranked amongst the 100 most likeable personality in the fashion models sector. Her overall likeability is determined by her celebrity pay rank: 89, web rank: 33, press rank: 68 and TV/radio rank: 68 (Forbes, 2008, c).

Since this project intends to measure the perception of likeability sources with regard to celebrity endorsers, there was a need to select a celebrity such; who fulfils this characteristic. In order to ensure the reliability of the information, most of the data was taken from Heidi Klum’s website.

1.4 Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum being of German origin has become a world-famous style icon of the 21th century representing a modern lifestyle. She is measured as by many people as an ideal personality (Heidi Klum, 2008, c, d). Heidi Klum embodies an attractive, selfconfident and down to earth personality. She is successful both in her career and family life, thus perfectly combining these lifestyles. Consumers can thus, identify with Heidi Klum, first with a celebrity and consequently with a brand.

In addition to the image described above, she is also known as a tough business woman, a credible celebrity endorser for many advertising campaigns. These attributes give her an excellent image, which in turn prompts many companies to hire the top model for various purposes with the intention to launch, boost or change a certain brand or company image. All the above elements make her a most credible candidate for likeability. She is an icon who the majority of consumers like and probably admire. Hence her various characteristics and target groups enable companies to use her for a wide range of brands, in order to transfer a certain meaning to a multitude of consumers (Heidi Klum, 2008, a, b).

1.4.1 Heidi Klum’s Career

Heidi Klum has many titles attributed to her name, that is to say; she is one of the highest paid super models in the fashion industry earning as much as $14 million a year (Forbes, 2008, d). She has been able to produce multi-million advertising contracts to her name and image.

In 1992 at 18 years of age she participated and won in the German model contest “The face of the year 1992”. In 1998 she appeared as the first German cover girl in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was her “big international breakthrough” (Heidi Klum, 2008, a).

2004 onwards she performed the role of a show host and executive producer for the U.S. reality show “Project Runway”, aired on the U.S. television channel Bravo. In the subsequent year she became the host of Germany's Next Top Model, the German version of America's Next Top Model, which is now in its third season both in U.S. and Germany (Heidi Klum, 2008, b).

During the timeline of her career she has been featured on the cover pages of top fashion magazines including English, German, French Vogue, Cosmopolitan , Glamour , GQ and In Style amongst others (Heidi Klum, 2008, b). Furthermore, she appeared in music videos for Jamiroquai as well as in guest roles on television (e.g. “Sex and the City”, “CSI: Miami” and “The Larry Sanders Show”) (Heidi Klum, 2008, b). Her international advertising campaign portfolio consist of famous brands such as Victoria’s Secret, McDonald’s, Douglas, Katjes Yogurt Gums, Otto, Lancaster, Gerry Weber, Accessorize, H&M and finally she has also established her own brand called “Heidi Klum”. The brand consists of fashion lines for Otto, various perfumes, jewellery designs for the prestigious company Mouawad and the German shoe collection called Birkenstock. Therefore, making Heidi Klum GmbH a famous trade mark (Heidi Klum, 2008, b). Her latest ventures consist of: an advertising spot for Victoria’s Secret, collaboration with Jordache for the brand’s new jeans campaign (USA Today, 2008) and the endorsement of the Tiguan by Volkswagen, mutually with her husband Seal (Deutschland Magazin, 2007) (cf. Appendix 7.1).

All the above is only a brief summary of Heidi Klum’s projects that illustrates her career which can be seen to have taken various directions. Her multisided career, abilities and traits allow her to target an assortment of groups such as teenagers, students, professionals, housewives, husbands, mothers and male and female admirers are due too.

However, the study concentrates on her main audience, who are students and young professionals. Thus Heidi is mainly targeted towards ages ranging from the ages of 20-30 (Heidi Klum, 2008, a, b), a relevant target group for advertising and assumed to be mainly influenced by celebrity endorsement (Newsaktuell, 2008).

1.5 Outline

Researches on celebrity endorsement have typically focused on theories explaining the effectiveness and the impact of celebrity endorsement. Consequently, studies were conducted from a company’s perspective. However fewer researches have been carried out to investigate why consumers like a celebrity endorser. Therefore the objective is to discover reasons for likeability and find out which likeability elements are perceived to be the most important ones. The following chapter deals with the main theories applying to the field of likeability and celebrity endorsement illustrated in the following figure. The figure is based on the literature from various authors dealing with celebrity endorsement and similar topics (e.g. Erdogan et al, 2001; Ohanian, 1990; Schiffmann and Kanuk, 2007; Belch and Belch, 2001; Till and Busler, 2000; Biel and Bridgwater, 1990; Neimark, 1995; Aaker and Stayman, 1990).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2 likeability model


Since the project aims to investigate the reasons as to why consumers are inclined towards celebrity endorsers, the project concentrates on source likeability and consumer perception. Attributes such as credibility and attractiveness are mostly covered by the literature when examining the effectiveness, impact and suitability of the choice of celebrity endorser (Erdogan et al, 2001; Ohanian, 1990; Schiffmann and Kanuk, 2007; Belch and Belch, 2001; Till and Busler, 2000).

Some journal articles surveyed likeability in respect of brand likeability and advertising campaigns or television commercials (Walker and Dubitsky, 1994; Smit et al, 2006; Biel and Bridgwater, 1990). This further prompts an analysis into source likeability with reference to celebrity endorsement. The mark celebrities leave on consumers, are based on their personal life, luxury lifestyle, physical appearance, credibility, career achievements and personality.

Derived from brand liking (Biel, 1990 cited in Gordon, 2006), one can assume that consumers associate the likeability of a certain celebrity endorser with the endorsed brand. Additionally, Biel (1990 cited in Gordon, 2006 ) has revealed that consumers liking a brand are more tolerant concerning weaknesses. This also applies to celebrity endorsers. Consumers who like the endorser are likely to forgive any inappropriate behaviour.

Generally, likeability is a source model that is drawn from social psychology research (McCracken, 1989). It implies the affection for a source based on the physical appearance, personality or behaviour of the celebrity (McCracken, 1989), is associated with admiration or at least high levels of awareness (Belch and Belch, 2001).

Hence, it is a source characteristic which makes an endorser appealing to a message receptor. The main intention of the mentioned attribute is to form a close relationship between the consumer and the celebrity. The consumer can then adopt similar beliefs, attitudes, preferences or behaviours, such as those of the endorser (Belch and Belch, 2001).

In broader terms, numerous studies have evidenced that “liking” is a significant aspect for consumers and consequently, effective advertising communication. For instance research by Lutz (1985), Moore and Hutchinson (1985), and Thorson (1991, cited in Walker and Dubitsky, 1994, p. 9) revealed “that ad liking is one of the most important predictors of brand liking”. Till and Busler (2000) narrow this statement to the specific topic of endorsement process, by mentioning that admired and likeable celebrities cause a stronger purchase intention than unlikeable endorsers.

Consumers react positively to communicators whose personality, image, behaviour or views matches both the brand image and the target audience. Hence, the power of likeability depends on two dimensions. On the one hand, the literature mentions the “rational response of the advertising message” (Walker and Dubitsky, 1994, p. 9). This implies the relationship between a likeable source and the consumer’s attention, which subsequently leads to a positive consumer response, whereas on the other hand, likeability includes the conveyance of affects also known as “emotional response” (Walker and Dubitsky, 1994, p. 10). In this case, the level of experiences and association is of vital importance, since the consumer attaches positive feelings he or she has experienced toward the advertising of the celebrity, thus associating the emotions with the brand. (Smit et al, 2006; Walker & Dubitsky, 1994).

Campbell and Aaker (1996) underline the theory by referring to the “match-up hypothesis”. The more the personality or image of a celebrity is consistent the more likely particular feelings may be pointed out. The two mentioned theories are simple conditioning processes which Walker and Dubitsky (1994, p. 10) depict as the “chicken-and-egg relationship” since cause (e.g. like the ad or celebrity) and effect (e.g. buy the brand) in the majority of cases are strongly adjoined.

To summarise the findings of the secondary data, it is revealed that messages delivered by likeable celebrities such as Heidi Klum receive a high degree of attention and response from many consumers. Aaker and Stayman (1990) strengthen the findings by stating that likeability is not only a strong criterion aligned to persuasion, but also closely related to purchase intention.

2.1 Luxury Lifestyle

One obvious reason for liking celebrity endorsers is quite simple, their extravagant lifestyles reflect their interests, attitudes, behaviour and values. This involves their public as well as their private lives. Both of these are different to the unspectacular lives of ordinary people. This creates a social distance, mainly due to the high profile and remarkably high income of the endorsers (Bild.de, 2006; Fashion Worlds, 2004). The following criteria, to name a few, describe the extreme luxury lives of famous celebrity endorsers such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Heidi Klum, and Kate Moss:

- Expensive penthouses and dream houses in different places all over the world.
- Journeys at premium prices.
- Unique luxury cars.
- Wearing most prestigious brands of clothes, jewelleries, shoes etc.
- Personal trainers and full-time assistants.
- Invitations to gala events and VIP parties.

Also adding, many celebrities encourage corporate responsible programmes by supporting different charities, e.g. Aid for AIDS, UNICEF, UNHCR, (Myrlia Associates Ltd, 2008) as their lifestyles and affluence allow them to give higher-than-average donations.

In conclusion, the lifestyle of a celebrity leaves nothing to be desired because the rich stars have no money troubles and their vast fortunes allow them to afford any luxury goods or service. Celebrities are seen to engage in extravagant and enviable lifestyles which seem idealistic and at the same time unrealistic this may in turn prompt consumers to like them (Neimark, 1995).

2.2 Personal Life

The opposite of luxury life is the supposition that “celebrities are just like us” (Neimark, 1995). Every day the media underlines this statement by announcing positive information such as new weddings (People, 2008) or pregnancies (SheKnows LLC, 2008). On the other hand, there is negative news such as; celebrity relationships, divorce (The Showbuzz, 2008), alcoholism and other problems. Moreover, celebrities are confronted with civilization diseases (BBC, 2008) such as bankruptcy (Ryfle, 2008), and other strokes of fate. Although it is often assumed that celebrities live a perfect life they are not always faultless, they do make mistakes which humanises them. Consequently, consumers are likely to perceive the celebrity as a likeable endorser, because of his/her fallibility or similiarity (Boeing, 2008).

2.3 Personality

Personality traits are behavioural patterns or characteristics of an individual which are established over time (Popkins, 1998). Derived from the findings of Biel and Bridgwater (1990), having covered brand personality, a celebrity such as Heidi Klum can be considered as a brand herself, in addition to her function as an endorser. Resulting from the fact that “the essence of a brand (…) is a name in the memory of consumers” and “a perceptual map of positive and negative association” (Mooij, 2005, p.16) which in turn also applies to a person. With reference to “brand personality”, personality can then be described as the sum of qualities and attributes that characterises a unique person. Attributes are for instance “traits, abilities, motives, and values”, (Mooij, 2005, p.109). Often consumers use a celebrity’s personality as an avenue for self-expression. Based on the findings of Epstein (1977, cited in Aaker, 1997, p. 348) “human and brand personality traits might share a similar conceptualization” which allows the application of some of Aaker’s five core dimensions of brand personality in the investigation of Heidi Klum’s perceived personality.

Some outstanding traits related to the personality of Heidi Klum are down-to-earth, family-orientated, cheerful, ambitious, self-confident and youthful, amongst others (Aaker, 1997, p. 354). Based on the study of Lewandowski (Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2007, a) the perception of a positive personality can lead to likeability. However, the extent to which personality traits are significant, to decide on a celebrity endorser, has to be measured with the aid of primary research.

2.4 Attractiveness

“Beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of introduction” (Aristotle cited in Kahle and Homer, 1985, p. 960). It can be said that a great philosopher such as Aristotle has given evidence of positive perception and impressions of attractive people. Further investigations of physical attractiveness were revealed in many fields and have likewise been applied to the likeability of celebrity endorsers. Whether in the labour market (Mobius and Rosenblat, 2006), in the range of politics (Surawski and Ossoff, 2006) or even subliminal when meeting new people or looking for friends, the attractiveness of a person is vitally important. Mobius and Rosenblat (2006, p. 222) for instance, found that very attractive employees (“above-average”) earn up to 15% more than, less attractive or “below-average beauty”. Similarly the study of Surawski and Ossoff (2006), in which it was illustrated that physically attractive politicians are more liked and hence elected by the public, than unattractive candidates. Other journal articles dealing with celebrities in particular have covered the source attractiveness model with reference to advertising effectiveness (Ohanian, 1990; Belch and Belch, 2001; Patzer cited in Lusch and Dawson, 1986). “The source attractiveness model has its origins in the social psychological research” and is part of the McGuire’s “source valence” model (Ohanian, 1990, p.41).

Referring to the information stated above, Baker’s and Churchill’s (1977, cited in Erdogan, 1999) research results have pointed out that “physically attractive communicators are more successful and effective (…) than their unattractive counterparts,” since consumers are more likely to identify with attractive celebrities and thus with the endorsed brand. Aronson (1972, cited in Reingen and Kernan, 1993; p. 25) confirms this statement by adding that it is human nature that “we like beautiful and handsome people better than homely people” and as a consequence of the likeability of, e.g. a certain celebrity endorser, consumers “attribute all kinds of good characteristics to” him or her. Dion et al (1972, cited in Sangrador and Yela, 2000) characterise the positive formation of attractiveness as the “halo effect”. In terms of celebrity endorsement, such a “halo effect” would evidence that consumers are first held by the attractiveness of the celebrity which then results in liking the person (The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2008).

Further findings have indicated that physical appearance in general is more important to women than to men and that both perceive attractiveness differently, derived from the nature of gender (Springer, 2005; Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2007, b). It can be assumed that women are more likely to be influenced by the attractiveness aspect of a celebrity instead of personality or credibility. The idea derives from the fact that women rather compare their appearance (e.g. face, body) with an idealised beauty image from the daily media (Robins cited in Carlin, 2006). Thus, they are more focused on their own physical attractiveness than men. However, the desire for attractiveness is provoked even more by the media and thus by celebrities, especially women who tend to be jealous of attractive celebrities, rather than impressed by it. The findings from secondary data have revealed that the likeability of a celebrity may well originate from his or her physical attractiveness. To what extent and in what relation to the other facets; have to be measured by primary research. However, while researching the consumers’ perception of likeability based on attractiveness amongst others; this factor has to be considered; not only in terms of a good body and good looks or even sex appeal but also with regard to charisma and natural personality.

2.5 Successful Career

Referring to chapter 1.3, “Q-score” is a means of measurement of likeability, familiarity and appeal of a celebrity, with every famous celebrity matched against a “Q-score” (Celebrity Genius, 2006). According to Forbes (2008, e) e.g. Gisele Bündchen is the highest paid top- model in the world (Forbes, 2008, d) and has also a high “Q-score” (rank = 53). This demonstrates that notoriety and success leads to familiarity, appeal and likeability of a celebrity. Based on the fact that the “Q-score” results from various rankings (e.g. pay rank, web rank) and consumer perceptions, an additional reason for liking a celebrity endorser may be the celebrity’s success story. However, the success and thus “Q-score” of many celebrities depends rarely on just one career achievement. Celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Johnny Depp, Madonna and Tom Cruise earn up to $225 million per year and did not obtain their fame and success purely through talent as being athletes, actors, or musicians (Forbes, 2008, a). Their success was due to possessing multisided ventures and careers. Illustrating this it is best to consider the career of the international football player David Beckham. He started his career playing football for Manchester United, and later on he went on to become a famous model, actor, fashion designer and celebrity endorser for Adidas, PepsiCo, Gillette, and Motorola amongst others (Forbes, 2008, b). Therefore, it might be acceptable that the likeability of a celebrity arises from a celebrity’s career story, because people are more likely to look upon successful people compared to their less successful counterparts. Furthermore celebrity’s multisided ventures and success should be considered in this context as well.

2.6 Credibility

The credibility factor has to be considered in close relationship with the celebrity endorsed brands, since it needs to be measured by means of a tangible brand or service. Due to variation in the literature, it is difficult to give one general definition of credibility. Ohanian (1990, p. 41) suggests, “Source credibility is a term commonly used to imply a communicator’s positive characteristics which affect the receiver’s acceptance of a message.” This induces an idea to investigate whether the honesty of a celebrity whilst endorsing brands and products, may be reason sufficient enough for liking the celebrity.

The credibility model originally followed from the representative study by Hovland, in which he found that expertise and trustworthiness underline the source credibility (Ohanian, 1990, p. 41). According to Schiffmann and Kanuk (2007) a celebrity needs to be trustworthy when it comes to the endorsement process. Belch and Belch (2001) argue that the celebrity must have a high degree of honesty regarding the endorsed brand, which consequently can be seen as credible source, so that the consumer can believe and hence accept it. Ohanian (1990) approves the statement by claiming that a marketing message will be more effective if the target audience find the celebrity trustworthy. It has been proved that companies often select a celebrity depending on his or her experience, knowledge and expertise concerning the product or brand involved. Hence, along with trustworthiness celebrities have to possess expertise to measure up to their function as spokesperson (Belch and Belch, 2001; Pringle, 2004). Since companies choose celebrities to boost their own image and to make profit, companies are likely to act in the required spirit of their audience.

This infers that those celebrities most liked by the consumers will be engaged, in order to bring about positive association with the brand. As findings have shown, the effectiveness of the message depends on the consumers perceived level of expertise and trustworthiness (Ohanian, 1990; Pringle, 2004), it is assumed that the credibility may also be a reason for the likeability of a celebrity endorser. Till and Busler (2000) found that expertise is the most important source characteristic of the endorser when it comes to consumers’ purchase intention. However this does not necessarily mean that it is the most important aspect concerning the likeability of the endorser.


3.1 Perception Process

Different people, especially different genders, formulate and allocate diverse meanings to the same stimuli. For instance, every individual has a different perception of specific celebrity characteristics. Individuals act and react on the basis of their background, expectations, knowledge and experiences and not on the basis of objective reality. Reality is based on personal needs, desires, values and experiences (Mowen and Minor, 1998). Hence perception is defined as “the process by which an individual selects, organizes and interprets stimuli into meaningful and coherent pictures of the world” (Schiffmann and Kanuk, 2007, p. G-8; Assael, 1998; Solomon et al, 2006). Subsequently the figure below has been established, based on Schiffmann and Kanuk (2007), Solomon et al (2006), Mowen and Minor (1998), Mooij (2005), Assael (1998) and Gordon (2006). It illustrates the phases relevant to the study.



Sensory receptors which are the human organs that receive all kinds of messages and stimuli that implies any unit of input to any of the sense.

(For instance a celebrity’s image or message can be a stimulus which the consumer receives by his sensory receptors).

- Main feature at this stage allows consumers to screen out stimuli that are less interesting to perceive, because “human beings are constantly bombarded with stimuli (…) every day” (Schiffmann and Kanuk, 2007, p. 158)
- Consumers may also perceive Heidi Klum’s likeability differently. This is due to the fact that each human being is a unique individual who follows special wants and desires or experiences with different expectations.


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Celebrity Endorsement. Why do consumers like celebrity endorsers?
London Metropolitan University
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Celebrity, Endorsement, Heidi Klum, reasons, consumers, products, market, case study
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BA Marketing Katrin Neubauer (Author), 2008, Celebrity Endorsement. Why do consumers like celebrity endorsers?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/120481


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