The Impact of Celebrity Endorsement in Advertising

Celebrity endorsement
Celebrity endorsement


In an information overloaded society, one of the biggest challenges of advertising is to catch the attention of the consumers. Celebrity endorsement is one of the ways by which the attention of the consumer is drawn. Most of the consumers are fascinated by the public behavior and the way of being of celebrities and therefore, they are attentive to their behavior. Both the practical experience and also researches in the field of consumer behavior show us that celebrity endorsement in advertising can increase the attention of the consumer, it can influence their attitude towards the advertised product and therefore determine the consumers’ purchase intention. This increased attention towards the celebrity in advertising, may also have a negative effect, in the sense that the consumers pay too much attention to the celebrity and neglect hereby the advertised product. In our article we present the results of an eye-tracking experiment about the attention of the consumers to different elements in an advertising with endorsed celebrities. The results of our research show that the female film industry celebrity gains most the attention of the consumers. She is preferred in comparison to the male sports celebrity and to the advertised product. Both celebrities gain more the attention of the consumers in opposition to the advertised product hold by them.


JEL Classification: M37


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Problem Statement

3. Research Questions

4. Research Methods

5. Findings

6. Conclusions

7. Acknowledgment


1. Introduction

Nowadays, in the age of intense competition, where all companies aim to stay in the consumer’s mind and encourage them to buy, celebrity endorsement is a real opportunity.

The celebrities can be a catalyst for a brand and increase their sales. Celebrities as brands” is a challenge in the sales area.

The current concept of celebrity management is far from ideal.

Now, this phenomenon is only seen as a business instrument that brings benefits to a brand.

The marketers have to be careful, so that the testimonials fit together with the by them promoted products.

The presence of celebrity in an advertisement should be contextual and not random.

Different researches show that celebrity endorsement in advertising has positive influence on consumer attitudes and purchase intentions (McCormick, 2016) and consequently in the sales of a brand.

In order to obtain an efficient celebrity endorsement, several studies show that there should be a relation between the endorser credibility, the brand attitude and credibility (Wang et al., 2017).

Especially for the young generation, there can be observed a stronger connection to the brand (Popa, Pelau, 2016) and also a need for a match between the celebrity endorser and the advertised brand (McCormick, 2016).

A congruent match can be determined both by the preference of celebrity and brand for each other (Zamudio, 2016).

In opposition to this, there are also researches, who state that the celebrities have a negative effect on the attention of consumer, because of overshadowing (Erfgen, et al., 2015).

In this article there are presented the results of an eye-tracking experiment, having two advertisements with endorsed celebrity as object of analysis.

The main focus of the analysis is to emphasize the attractiveness of the elements of the advertising, more precisely to compare in how far the consumers have watched the endorsed celebrity or the advertised product.


2. Problem Statement

In the last years a new, strategic communication direction has been developed, referring to the endorsements of celebrity brand ambassadors for the promotion of certain products.

This new tool refers to the developing of an advertising strategy, where a public figures or celebrity promotes different products and brands.

The advertisings endorsing celebrities have an influence on the consumers and on their buying decision by attracting more the attention of the consumers.

Different researches have shown that the influence of the advertising endorsing celebrities is higher, if the social norms of the consumers correspond to those of the celebrity and if there is an identification of the attitudes of the two (Albert et al., 2017).

For instance, the question is if the consumers in Romania will drink more, a certain brand of mineral water just because this product is promoted by a beloved Romanian tennis player.

The phenomenon goes beyond the borders of our country and we can as well ask if women around the world will buy a certain brand of mascara just because it is recommended by a famous actress or will the consumer buy more a certain drink just because some football players appear in the advertising for this drink with a bottle of it in their hands (Lazar, 2017).

The effect of the celebrities on consumers is determined by the identification of consumers with the famous people (Albert et al., 2017).

People around the world consume the same products as the celebrities in the commercials, as they believe that by this, they will ultimately be closer to them, they will be as beautiful, famous and charismatic as these.

All these questions are very interesting and set the basis for a new phenomenon called Celebrity Endorsement.

A celebrity is a famous person who enjoys a special recognition from the public. For this reason, using famous advertisers in international advertisements is very successful as they attract consumers’ attention through their name and image (McCracken, 1989).

With a few characteristics like attractiveness, charisma or an exceptional lifestyle, the celebrities enjoy a high recognition and are different from the normal people.

A celebrity endorser is known by the public for his or her achievements in certain areas. Compared to other endorsers, the famous people always manage to touch a higher level of attention, recognition and loyalty from the side of the costumers.

The question that arises is, if indeed consumers have today so much faith in public figures, like athletes, singers, or actors, so that they truly believe that the product they recommend satisfies their needs or is it just way to gain social value and impress their social circle (Lazar, 2017).

Celebrity endorsement is also valid as money-spending. This happens because today the consumers pay a lot of attention to their social position.

They always want to wear the right clothes, drink the right drink, and buy the right perfume. If a person sees two different advertisements for two different products, one with a celebrity and the other one without a celebrity, than this person think that the product promoted by the celebrity is better, that this has a higher value.

This fact has an influence on his purchasing decision (Puja, 2007).

The stars also serve as a signaling strategy for the companies. They have the ability to increase market acceptance and sales by media exposure (Mitrut et al., 2015), so making advertising more efficient.

Add to this the fact that the celebrities bring their own experience, which leads to a closer and more familial relationship between them and consumers (Hoffstäte, 2007, pg. 8).


3. Research Questions

The objective of the research is to determine the effect of the presence of a celebrity on the attention of the consumers.

The aim is to determine if the celebrities are really a catalyst in advertising or not, if they really attract the attention of individuals and encourage them to buy different products and services.

We want to test whether the celebrities with their reputation, beauty, charisma, popularity are beneficial in the promotion of a brand or not.

It is interesting to analyze if an advertisement with familiar personalities stay easier and longer in the minds of consumers.

In our nowadays competitive society, the consumers are daily being in contact with all kinds of commercials, which can lead on a long run to an attention deficit.

Consequently, it is important for an advertisement or commercial to attract peoples attention.

They should be impressed by what they see in the advertising material, so that the product should remain in their minds for a long term.


4. Research Methods

In order to analyze the attention of the consumer, we have organized an eye-tracking experiment, having two commercials from a renowned champagne producer as object of analysis.

Both advertisings contained a celebrity: a woman from the film industry holding the advertised bottle of champagne in her hands and a male sportsman also holding the bottle of champagne in his hands.

The sample of the experiment contained 25 participants (16 female participants, 9 male participants, with ages between 20-30 years) who have watched the two advertisement for 10 seconds on the same screen, while the eye tracking data have been registered by the eye tracking tool.

In order to analyze the results of the analysis we have defined the following areas from the print as presented in table 1.

The defined areas are the following: the product with the name of the brand in the hands of the female celebrity (AOI 001), the face of the male sports celebrity (AOI 002), the product with the name of the brand in the hand of the male celebrity (AOI 003) and the face of the female celebrity from the film industry (AOI 004).

 For each of the four defined area, the key performance indicators have been calculated and analyzed.

Figure 1

Eye Tracking is an instrument and a tool that helps researchers to analyze and understand the visual attention of an individual.

With the help of this method one can determine, where a user of the device on an advertisement looks, how long he keeps his eye on a certain point and also it can follow the path of his eyes (Rosca, 2017; Pelau, 2009).

With the help of such a research, we can understand the whole experience of a user, while viewing an advertising, we also notice what the user cannot describe, because it is unconscious for him.

Several key performance indicators have been used for the measurement of the impact of the celebrity endorsement in advertising.


5. Findings

In order to measure the impact of the advertising with endorsed celebrities on the consumer, we have calculated with the help of the eye-tracking system several key performance indicators as it can be observed in table 2.

The sequence shows the moment in which the consumer watches a certain element in the advertising.

It is calculated based on the average entry times in milliseconds (ms) of all participants, from the moment the advertisement is seen by the consumer.

As it can be observed in table 2 the most attractive element in the two advertisements is the face of the female film industry celebrity, having an average entry time of 499.4 ms.

The second most attractive element in the two images is the product in the hands of the female celebrity, with an entry time of 1666.6 ms.

The male sports celebrity was less attractive by having an average entry time of 1712.8 ms and also the product in his hands (having an average entry time of 1859.1 ms) was less attractive than in the hands of the female film industry celebrity.

The total average time for the first fixation has had the longest value for the face of the female celebrity (382.6 ms) followed by the product in her hands (334.6 ms).

For the average time of the fixation the male celebrity has been also less successful, by having an average first fixation time of 329.3 ms and 228.0 ms for the product in his hands.

The total average fixation time includes both the times for the first fixation and the time for the revisits. In this case the attractiveness of the elements in the advertising have changed.

The face of the female celebrity continues to be the most attractive one, with an average fixation time of 517.7 ms followed by the face of the male sport celebrity with an average fixation of 432.3 ms.

The consumers have watched the product and the name of the brand for a shorter time.

The product in the hands of the female celebrity has been watched for 379.3 ms and for 272.1 ms in the hand of the male celebrity.

Figura 2


The dwell time represents the total time in which the eyes of the consumers have passed over a certain element of the advertisements. We can observe that again the female celebrity was the most attractive one, having a dwell time of 27% (2733.3 ms).

It was followed by the product in her hands with 17% of the time (1798.8 ms) and the product in the hands of the male celebrity with a dwell time of 1598.3 ms (16.8%).

The shortest dwell time has been for the male celebrity with 13.4% of the time (1342.5 ms).

The number of participants, who have watched the analyzed elements in the advertisements and the number of revisits is other important indicators for the analysis.

It can be observed in table 2, that the female celebrity has been watched by all participants, having a hit ratio of 100%. Out of the 25 first time visitors, 21 of them have re-watched the female celebrity.

For the two products the hit ratio has been of 96% for the product in the hands of the female celebrity and 92% for the product in the hands of the male celebrity. Both products have had 20 re- visitors.

The male sports celebrity had a hit ratio of 88% and 16 re-visits, having by this the lowest hit ratio score.


6. Conclusions

The key performance indicators calculated in the eye tracking system can give us valuable insights in the unconscious reaction of the consumer.

They show us not only the attractive elements the consumer’s watches, but also for how long or how often he/she watches them.

By knowing this, there can be determines which are the eye-catcher of advertising and increase the efficiency of the creation of advertising.

In opposition to classical research methods, such as surveys, the eye-tracking system allow us to know some of the unconscious reactions of the consumers.

The results of this eye-tracking experiment show us the fact that the film industry female celebrity has the highest attraction in the analyzed advertising.

Moreover, the product hold in her hand surpasses, for all analyzed indicators, the attention for the product hold by the male sports celebrity.

Consequently, it is interesting to research for the future what exactly makes the female celebrity so attractive.

Our future research will focus on analyzing if the attractiveness is given only by gender (female vs. male), by the industry in which the celebrity activates and the popularity of that industry (film industry versus sports field) or is it only the charm of each of the celebrities endorsed in the advertising.

Another important observation is the fact that for most of the indicators, the celebrities in the advertising attract more the consumers’ attention than the advertised product. Both celebrities have the first fixation prior to the fixation of the advertised product in their hands and both celebrities have a longer first-time fixation.

Based on these results, it is interesting to analyze the efficiency of endorsing celebrities in advertising.

On one hand, they attract the consumers’ attention towards the advertising, but on the other hand they distract the attention from the advertised product.

Consequently, in the future research it is important to analyze with the help of the eye-tracking tools the efficiency of the design of an advertising.


7. Acknowledgment

We thank you to the Constantin Florescu” Marketing Laboratory from the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, for supporting us in the use of the Eye-Tracking tools and in organizing the experiment.


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