Celebrity Status Takes A Hit


According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, Inc., appealing to the human emotions has a more positive affect on a buyer’s choice than celebrity endorsement—good news for brand managers on a budget. The key factor is brand identification, which is, in many cases, more effectively accomplished through emotion rather than celebrity.

This is a shift in the paradigm of brand identity. Where celebrities were once looked up to and admired, now, researchers Nicole Verrochi Coleman and Patti Williams—from the University of Pittsburgh and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania respectively— say, a celebrity’s personal issues can and have proven to adversely affect the brand they represent. (That may not be a surprise to most of us, but now it’s documented proof.)

In the study, Coleman and Williams stated, “Consumers tend to choose products that bolster emotions associated with [their own] particular identity.” In other words, consumers connect better with advertisements and brands that share their feelings and opinions on a given topic more than who’s endorsing the product or service. This means, that by incorporating emotions related to the brand’s identity, companies not only increase the number of brand loyalists, but they can also by-pass potential celebrity costs and risks.

An example of this tactic was used by MasterCard in its “priceless campaign”. According to MasterCard, their marketing goal was to emphasize that MasterCard was the best way to pay for ‘everything that matters.'” Its use of emotional appeal with the slogan “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.” enables MasterCard to build and maintain strong brand value and trust among consumers.

Source: Nicole Verrochi Coleman and Patti Williams. “Feeling Like My Self: Emotion Profiles and Social Identity.” Journal of Consumer Research:August 2013. For more information, visit http://ejcr.org/.

About Chris Hornsby

Chris’ brand design expertise, helps lead clients into new frontiers. He understands the power of branding. He and his team answer each challenge with creative solutions that not only achieve results, but break the ground of conventionalism. This 2013 AAF (American Advertising Federation) Hall of Fame inductee has garnered more than 100 local and international awards for his creative/strategic solutions, along with being published in several prestigious design annuals. This UGA grad has cultivated his years of design and brand leadership experience in numerous agencies in Atlanta and Knoxville and in several in-house, international firms such as Philips/Maganavox and Peavey Electronics.
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