Understanding Consumer Responses to Endorser Failures
White, Lauren Allyn
Celebrity endorsements are a widely used marketing strategy, through which a popular celebrity is paired with the brand in order to enhance brand meaning in the eyes of consumers. However, endorsement strategies are not without risk, as evidenced by popular media revealing celebrities’ negative behavior. While much research has addressed factors enhancing endorsement effectiveness, limited research exists that examines the effects of negative celebrity information on consumer responses to the endorser and brand. The current research seeks to understand the potential differentiating effects of failure type (functional vs. nonfunctional) on related consumer attitudes and intentions. Three experiments (between subjects factorial design) were conducted to examine the phenomenon of interest. Contrary to expectations, results of the first two experiments suggest an absence of significant differentiating effects of failure type, overall, although various exceptions surfaced. These experiments represent a unique research attempt to disentangle the effects of functional and nonfunctional information on consumer responses to endorsement strategies. In addition, it contributes to the growing research interest in understanding the important effects of negative information on consumer attitudes and intentions.