Ainsworth A. Bailey The University of Toledo
Recent research has pointed to the fact that advertisers often spend millions of dollars annually on celebrity endorsers, with the aim of influencing consumers' perceptions and purchase intentions (Tripp, Jensen, & Carlson, 1994). This stream of research has established that, among other things, celebrities make advertisements believable (Kamins, Brand, Hoeke, & Moe, 1989), aid in the recognition of brand names (Petty, Cacioppo, & Schumann, 1983), enhance message recall (Friedman & Friedman, 1979), create a positive attitude towards the brand (Kamins et al., 1989), and create a distinct personality for the endorsed brand (McCracken, 1989). Ultimately, celebrity endorsements are believed to generate a greater likelihood of customers choosing the endorsed brand (Heath, McCarthy, & Mothersbaugh, 1994; Kahle & Homer, 1985; Kamins et al., 1989; Ohanian, 1991), and messages delivered by well-known personalities achieve a high degree of attention and recall for some consumers. Agrawal and Kamakura (1995) concluded that, on average, the impact of the announcements of celebrity endorsement contracts on stock returns is positive and suggested that celebrity endorsement contracts are generally viewed as a worthwhile investment in advertising. Given this information, one can safely argue that celebrity endorsements are here to stay.
The increasing use of celebrity endorsers, however, has spawned another phenomenon, that of using a celebrity in multiple advertising campaigns to endorse multiple products. The quintessential multiple product endorser is Michael Jordan who, according to Lipman and Hinge (1991), has endorsed products for approximately 14 companies. Jordan was named the richest athlete for 1997 by Forbes magazine, with most of his income, $47 million, coming from product endorsements. Tripp et al. (1994) investigated the effects of multiple product endorsements by celebrities on consumers' attitudes and purchase intentions. They found that the number of products a celebrity endorses negatively influences consumers' perceptions of endorser credibility and likability, as well as attitude toward the ad. In addition, the number of exposures to the celebrity has an impact on attitude toward the ad and purchase intentions, although the number of products endorsed by the celebrity and the number of exposures to the celebrity operate independently on consumers' attitudes.
There are, however, a number of issues relating to multiple product endorsements that remain unresolved and warrant attention. Our objective in this study is to build on the research on multiple product endorsements set in motion by Tripp et al. (1994). This is particularly important, given the preponderance of advertisements featuring celebrities, especially from the world of sports; the tarnishing of the image of sports celebrities as a consequence of recent public cases involving well-known sports celebrities (e.g., O. J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, Latrell Sprewell), and the massive advertising budgets that are usually allocated to this enterprise. We begin by presenting a review of the literature on celebrity endorsements and by identifying relevant hypotheses. We then subject our hypotheses to empirical investigation. We present the results and discuss their implications for advertising managers and researchers in advertising and consumer psychology, as well as posit possible future research directions.
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