Source Attractiveness

A source characteristic frequently used by advertisers is attractiveness, which encompasses similarity, familiarity, and likability.17 Similarity is a supposed resemblance between the source and the receiver of the message, while familiarity refers to knowledge of the source through exposure. Likability is an affection for the source as a result of physical appearance, behavior, or other personal traits. Even when the sources are not athletes or movie stars, consumers often admire their physical appearance, talent, and/or personality.

Source attractiveness leads to persuasion through a process of identification, whereby the receiver is motivated to seek some type of relationship with the source and thus adopts similar beliefs, attitudes, preferences, or behavior. Maintaining this position depends on the source's continued support for the position as well as the receiver's continued identification with the source. If the source changes position, the receiver may also change. Unlike internalization, identification does not usually integrate information from an attractive source into the receiver's belief system. The receiver may maintain the attitudinal position or behavior only as long as it is supported by the source or the source remains attractive.

Marketers recognize that receivers of persuasive communications are more likely to attend to and identify with people they find likable or similar to themselves. Similarity and likability are the two source characteristics marketers seek when choosing a communicator.

Applying Similarity Marketers recognize that people are more likely to be influenced by a message coming from someone with whom they feel a sense of similarity.18 If the communicator and receiver have similar needs, goals, interests, and lifestyles, the position advocated by the source is better understood and received. Similarity is used in various ways in marketing communications. Companies select salespeople whose characteristics match well with their customers'. A sales position for a particular region may be staffed by someone local who has background and interests in common with the customers. Global marketers often hire foreign nationals as salespeople so customers can relate more easily to them.

Companies may also try to recruit former athletes to sell sporting goods or beer, since their customers usually have a strong interest in sports. Several studies have shown that customers who perceive a salesperson as similar to themselves are more likely to be influenced by his or her message.19

Similarity is also used to create a situation where the consumer feels empathy for the person shown in the commercial. In a slice-of-life commercial, the advertiser usually starts by presenting a predicament with the hope of getting the consumer to think, "I can see myself in that situation." This can help establish a bond of similarity between the communicator and the receiver, increasing the source's level of persuasiveness. Many companies feel that the best way to connect with consumers is by using regular-looking, everyday people with whom the average person can easily identify. For example, some of the most popular commercials in recent years have been those from the "Whassup?" campaign for Budweiser beer. In these ads the agency cast a group of real-life friends from Philadelphia, rather than actors, who greet each other with an exaggerated "Whassup?" when they speak with one another or get together to watch a game and enjoy a Bud. IMC Perspective 6-2 discusses how an unknown, aspiring actor with an easygoing manner that appeals to consumers became a very popular spokesperson for Dell Computer.

Applying Likability: Using Celebrities Advertisers recognize the value of using spokespeople who are admired: TV and movie stars, athletes, musicians, and other popular public figures. It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of all TV commercials feature celebrities, and advertisers pay hundreds of millions of dollars for their services. The top celebrity endorser is golfer Tiger Woods, who makes more than $60 million a year from endorsement contracts with Nike, Disney, American Express, General Mills, and Buick (Exhibit 6-4). Michael Jordan is also among the highest-paid and most sought-after celebrity endorsers, along with singer Brittany Spears and cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Why do companies spend huge sums to have celebrities appear in their ads and endorse their products? They think celebrities have stopping power. That is, they draw attention to advertising messages in a very cluttered media environment. Marketers think a popular celebrity will favorably influence consumers' feelings, attitudes, and purchase behavior. And they believe celebrities can enhance the target audience's perceptions of the product in terms of image and/or performance. For example, a well-known athlete may convince potential buyers that the product will enhance their own performance.

A number of factors must be considered when a company decides to use a celebrity spokesperson, including the dangers of overshadowing the product and being overexposed, the target audience's receptivity, and risks to the advertiser.

Overshadowing the Product How will the celebrity affect the target audience's processing of the advertising message? Consumers may focus their attention on the celebrity and fail to notice the brand. Advertisers should select a celebrity spokesperson who will attract attention and enhance the sales message, yet not overshadow the brand. For example, actress Lindsay Wagner served as the spokesperson for Ford Motor Co. dealers in Southern California for a number of years and was very popular and effective. She brought a star power and presence to the advertising that attracted attention and made it memorable, yet she never overshadowed the Ford vehicles she was promoting.20

Overexposure Consumers are often skeptical of endorsements because they know the celebrities are being paid.21 This problem is particularly pronounced when a celebrity endorses too many products or companies and becomes overexposed. For example, cyclist Lance Armstrong has endorsement contracts with nearly 20 different companies, including the U.S. Postal Service, Nike, PowerBar, General Mills, Oakley, and many others, and has recently limited his endorsements so he does not become overexposed.22 Advertisers can protect themselves against overexposure with an exclusivity clause limiting the number of products a celebrity can endorse. However, such clauses are usually expensive, and most celebrities agree not to endorse similar products anyway. Many celebrities, knowing their fame is fleeting, try to earn as much endorsement money as possible, yet they must be careful not to damage their credibility by endorsing too many products. For example, singer/actress Cher damaged her credibility as an advertising spokesperson by appearing in too many infomercials. When she realized that appearing in so many infomercials was devastating to her acting career as well, she ceased doing them.23

Target Audiences' Receptivity One of the most important considerations in choosing a celebrity endorser is how well the individual matches with and is received by the advertiser's target audience.

Exhibit 6-4 Tiger Woods has endorsement contracts with a number of companies, including Buick

Exhibit 6-4 Tiger Woods has endorsement contracts with a number of companies, including Buick

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  • Einojuhani
    What is source attractiveness in marketing?
    7 years ago
  • Isengar
    What is source attractiveness commercials?
    5 years ago
  • calan
    What helps in source attractiveness and identification?
    5 years ago
  • Luukas
    What is the important of source Attractiveness in communication?
    4 years ago
  • jolanda rossi
    What is source characteristics in marketing communications?
    3 years ago
  • james
    What is source attractiveness model?
    2 years ago
  • Kaarlo
    How do toyota company encompass similarity, familiarity and likability in it's advertising?
    8 months ago
  • benilde
    What are source factor in marketing?
    1 month ago
  • vera
    Which of the following is not a component of source attractiveness?
    21 days ago

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