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Exhibit 6-6 Cyclist Lance Armstrong helps position PowerBar as a product that provides energy to athletes

Exhibit 6-6 Cyclist Lance Armstrong helps position PowerBar as a product that provides energy to athletes

personality and lifestyle. In explaining stage 1 of the meaning transfer process, McCracken notes:

Celebrities draw these powerful meanings from the roles they assume in their television, movie, military, athletic, and other careers. Each new dramatic role brings the celebrity into contact with a range of objects, persons, and contexts. Out of these objects, persons, and contexts are transferred meanings that then reside in the celebrity.32

Examples of celebrities who have acquired meanings include actor Bill Cosby as the perfect father (from his role on The Cosby Show) and actor Jerry Seinfeld as the quirky comedian (from his role on the sitcom Seinfeld). Cyclist Lance Armstrong has developed a very favorable image as a fierce competitor and an All-American superhero by winning the grueling Tour de France cycling race four times after overcoming a life-threatening form of testicular cancer.

McCracken suggests celebrity endorsers bring their meanings and image into the ad and transfer them to the product they are endorsing (stage 2 of the model in Figure 6-3). For example, PowerBar, the leading brand of energy performance bars, takes advantage of Armstrong's image as a competitor and champion with great determination in ads such as the one shown in Exhibit 6-6. He is also an effective endorser for the product since he competes in a very grueling and demanding sport where the benefits of sustained energy are very important.

In the final stage of McCracken's model, the meanings the celebrity has given to the product are transferred to the consumer. By using Armstrong in its ads, PowerBar hopes to enhance its image as a product that can provide extra energy to athletes and enhance their performance. McCracken notes that this final stage is complicated and difficult to achieve. The way consumers take possession of the meaning the celebrity has transferred to a product is probably the least understood part of the process.

The meaning transfer model has some important implications for companies using celebrity endorsers. Marketers must first decide on the image or symbolic meanings important to the target audience for the particular product, service, or company. They must then determine which celebrity best represents the meaning or image to be projected. An advertising campaign must be designed that captures that meaning in the product and moves it to the consumer. Marketing and advertising personnel often rely on intuition in choosing celebrity endorsers for their companies or products, but some companies conduct research studies to determine consumers' perceptions of celebrities' meaning.

Marketers may also pretest ads to determine whether they transfer the proper meaning to the product. When celebrity endorsers are used, the marketer should track the campaign's effectiveness. Does the celebrity continue to be effective in communicating the proper meaning to the target audience? Celebrities who are no longer in the limelight may lose their ability to transfer any significant meanings to the product.

As we have seen, marketers must consider many factors when choosing a celebrity to serve as an advertising spokesperson for the company or a particular brand. Studies have shown that advertising and marketing managers take these various factors into account when choosing a celebrity endorser.33 Among the most important factors are the celebrity's match with the target audience and the product/service or brand, the overall image of the celebrity, the cost of acquiring the celebrity, trustworthiness, the risk of controversy, and the celebrity's familiarity and likability among the target audience. IMC Perspective 6-3 discusses how marketers and advertising agencies use research data and other types of information in choosing celebrity endorsers.

Applying Likability: Decorative Models Advertisers often draw attention to their ads by featuring a physically attractive person who serves as a passive or decorative model rather than as an active communicator. Research suggests that physically attractive communicators generally have a positive impact and generate more favorable evaluations of both ads and products than less attractive models.34 The gender appropriateness of the model for the product being advertised and his or her relevance to the product are also important considerations.35 Products such as cosmetics or fashionable clothing are likely to benefit from the use of an attractive model, since physical appearance is very relevant in marketing these items. For example, Revlon has used supermodel Cindy Crawford in advertising for various cosmetics products such as its Fire & Ice fragrance (Exhibit 6-7).

Some models draw attention to the ad but not to the product or message. Studies show that an attractive model facilitates recognition of the ad but does not enhance copy readership or message recall. Thus, advertisers must ensure that the consumer's attention will go beyond the model to the product and advertising message.36 Marketers must also consider whether the use of highly attractive models might negatively impact advertising effectiveness. Several recent studies have shown that some women experience negative feelings when comparing themselves with beautiful models used in ads and the images of physical perfection they represent.37

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