Celebrity endorsements and advertising effectiveness: The importance of value congruence
Gurel Atay, Eda, 1980-
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Gurel Atay, Eda, 1980-
Millions of dollars are spent on celebrity contracts each year by assuming that the benefits of using celebrities will exceed the costs. Accordingly, many researchers have studied the impact of celebrity endorsements on advertising effectiveness. One of the theories used frequently by these researchers is the match-up hypothesis. This theory suggests that there should be a good fit between the celebrity and the product; however, it is not clear what constitutes a good fit. Some researchers suggested that attractive celebrities will be more effective if they are used to promote attractiveness-related products. Other researchers claimed that when there is congruence between the product type and the celebrity profession, advertising effectiveness will be enhanced; however, these existing dimensions of the match-up hypothesis fall short of explaining some popular celebrity endorsement campaigns (e.g., Sharpie Pens and David Beckham). The current research contributes to the study of celebrity endorsements by adding another dimension, values, to the match-up hypothesis. Specifically, the congruence between celebrity values (as perceived by consumers) and values represented by products was considered as an alternative to the attractiveness and expertise dimensions. In a series of six experiments, support for the positive impact of celebrity-product value congruence on advertising effectiveness was found. College students exposed to the high value congruence ad spent less time in examining the ad, suggesting that participants were easily and quickly able to match up the celebrities and products. Moreover, participants who were exposed to the high value congruence ad had significantly more favorable attitudes toward ad and brand, had higher intentions to buy the product, and were more likely to recommend the product to other people than were participants who were exposed to the low value congruence ad. The results also suggested that value congruence with unfamiliar celebrities was more effective than value congruence with familiar celebrities for generating more favorable attitudes toward ad and brand and higher behavioral intentions, due probably to the minimized effect of pre-established thoughts or feelings about unfamiliar celebrities. Together these results suggest that the congruence between celebrity and product values plays an important role in advertising effectiveness.