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

Hunter, Erik J. (2010) Celebrity entrepreneurship and celebrity endorsement : similarities, differences and the effect of deeper engagement. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


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 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.

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ID Code: 38902
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Davidsson, Per
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
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2010 03:02
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2013 06:32

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