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Celebrity entrepreneurship and celebrity Celebrity entrepreneurship and celebrity endorsement: Similarities, differences and the effect of deeper engagement Erik J. Hunter A.Sc., B.Sc

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  • Celebrity entrepreneurship and celebrity endorsement: Similarities, differences and the effect of deeper engagement

    Erik J. Hunter A.Sc., B.Sc. (magna cum laude), M.B.A.

    School of Management Queensland University of Technology

    Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree Doctor of Philosophy

    2010

  • i

    Keywords

    Celebrity Entrepreneur, Celebrity Endorser, Endorsement, Business Celebrity, Celebrity

    CEO, Attribution Theory, Source Model, Image Transfer, Human Brands, Trustworthiness,

    Expertise, Attractiveness, Engagement, Emotional Involvement, Negative Celebrity

    Information.

    Abstract

    Increasingly, celebrities appear not only as endorsers for products but are apparently engaged in

    entrepreneurial roles as initiators, owners and perhaps even managers in the ventures that

    market the products they promote. Despite being extensively referred to in popular media,

    scholars have been slow to recognise the importance of this new phenomenon.

    This thesis argues theoretically and shows empirically that celebrity entrepreneurs are more

    effective communicators than typical celebrity endorsers because of their increased engagement

    with ventures.

    I theorise that greater engagement increases the celebrity‘s emotional involvement as

    perceived by consumers. This is an endorser quality thus far neglected in the marketing

    communications literature. In turn, emotional involvement, much like the empirically

    established dimensions trustworthiness, expertise and attractiveness, should affect traditional

    outcome variables such as attitude towards the advertisement and brand. On the downside,

    increases in celebrity engagement may lead to relatively stronger and worsening changes in

    attitudes towards the brand if and when negative information about the celebrity is revealed.

    A series of eight experiments was conducted on 781 Swedish and Baltic students and 151

    Swedish retirees. Though there were nuanced differences and additional complexities in each

    experiment, participants‘ reactions to advertisements containing a celebrity portrayed as a typical

    endorser or entrepreneur were recorded.

    The overall results of these experiments suggest that emotional involvement can be

    successfully operationalised as distinct from variables previously known to influence

    communication effectiveness. In addition, emotional involvement has positive effects on

    attitudes toward the advertisement and brand that are as strong as the predictors traditionally

    applied in the marketing communications literature. Moreover, the celebrity entrepreneur

    condition in the experimental manipulation consistently led to an increase in emotional

  • ii

    involvement and to a lesser extent trustworthiness, but not expertise and attractiveness. Finally,

    negative celebrity information led to a change in participants‘ attitudes towards the brand which

    were more strongly negative for celebrity entrepreneurs than celebrity endorsers. In addition, the

    effect of negative celebrity information on a company‘s brand is worse when they support the

    celebrity rather than fire them. However, this effect did not appear to interact with the

    celebrity‘s purported engagement.

  • iii

    Table of Contents

    Keywords ....................................................................................................................................................... i Abstract .......................................................................................................................................................... i Table of Contents ....................................................................................................................................... iii Tables ............................................................................................................................................................ vi Figures ........................................................................................................................................................ viii Statement of Original Authorship ........................................................................................................... ix Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................................... x 1 Celebrity entrepreneurship: A new phenomenon ...................................................... 1

    1.1 Emergence of celebrity entrepreneurship ....................................................................... 2 1.2 Celebrity entrepreneurship: An interesting phenomenon ............................................ 5 1.3 Relation to celebrity endorsement ................................................................................... 7 1.4 Purpose: Investigating consequences of increased celebrity engagement ................. 8 1.5 Research question 1: Engagement and communication effectiveness ..................... 10 1.6 Research question 2: Conceptual development of emotional involvement ............ 11 1.7 Research question 3: Perceived emotional involvement and communication

    effectiveness ..................................................................................................................... 12 1.8 Research question 4: Consequences of negative celebrity information on

    communication effectiveness ........................................................................................ 14 1.9 Research approach ............................................................................................................ 16 1.10 Key findings and contributions ...................................................................................... 16

    1.10.1 General ........................................................................................................................... 16 1.10.2 Theoretical ..................................................................................................................... 17 1.10.3 Practical .......................................................................................................................... 18 1.11 Thesis overview ................................................................................................................. 19

    2 Conceptual framework ............................................................................................. 20 2.1 Definitions ......................................................................................................................... 20

    2.1.1 Celebrity ......................................................................................................................... 20 2.1.2 Celebrity endorser ........................................................................................................ 22 2.1.3 Celebrity entrepreneur ................................................................................................. 23 2.2 Celebrity endorsement effectiveness ............................................................................. 25 2.3 Source of endorser effectiveness: Underlying mechanisms ....................................... 26

    2.3.1 Compliance ................................................................................................................... 26 2.3.2 Identification ................................................................................................................. 27 2.3.3 Internalisation ............................................................................................................... 28 2.4 Source of endorser effectiveness under varied conditions ........................................ 28 2.5 Capturing the effectiveness of a source: the source models ...................................... 30 2.6 Critique of the source models ......................................................................................... 33 2.7 Foundations for source model development ............................................................... 38 2.8 Entrepreneurial engagement ........................................................................................... 38

    2.8.1 Remuneration ............................................................................................................... 39 2.8.2 Position .......................................................................................................................... 40 2.8.3 Initiation ........................................................................................................................ 42 2.8.4 Participation in development ..................................................................................... 42 2.9 Emotional involvement ................................................................................................... 44

    2.9.1 Like and use .................................................................................................................. 44 2.9.2 Passion, enthusiasm, dedication and being thrilled ................................................ 45 2.10 Hypotheses 1-6 development ......................................................................................... 46

    2.10.1 Emotional involvement as a conceptually and empirically distinct dimension .. 46 2.10.2 Celebrity engagement as an antecedent of perceived emotional involvement ... 47