Dissertation Proposal “Celebrity Culture and Mass Marketing” A proposed study on the effects of celebrity culture on consumer perception and behaviour; and how this is affecting the marketing techniques being used by UK businesses Contents Background5 My Proposal5 Literature review5 Methodology8 Limitations9 Application10 References12 Appendix13 Appendix A- Performa13 Background Celebrity culture has been around for many years, however throughout the last ten years, due to varying circumstance, it has become much more prominent on the marketing scene.
As a young female, I myself can recognise certain situations in which I have fallen victim to celebrity advertising. It was found that in 2007 25% of all television advertisement released in the US featured a celebrity figure (Shimp 2007), I feel this number is only growing, and the influence these figures have is getting stronger. As a business and marketing student I am intrigued as to how this idea of celebrity influence has altered the way in which UK businesses market their product or service, and also how it is continuing to change the methods adopted. The study of celebrity is, I feel, very relevant to my programme of study.
The influence celebrities have had, and do have over us as consumers in huge, understanding how businesses can manipulate and take advantage of this influence, and also how consumers currently feel about the influence celebrity advertising currently has over them. My Proposal From the background I have developed a broad research question which I feel covers all basis of the research I wish to conduct “To what extent does the use of celebrity culture in advertising affect consumer perceptions and behaviours, and how does this affect the marketing tools used by UK businesses? ” * Objectives- 1.
Does the use of celebrity culture in ad campaigns alter consumer perception of brands? 2. Does the use of celebrity culture in marketing campaigns influence consumer behaviour towards products and/or services? 3. Does the influence celebrities have on consumer perceptions and behaviour differ amongst different genders? 4. How does the influence celebrities have on consumer behaviour differ amongst industries? I propose a two-tailed hypothesis for my study, in that I do believe the use of celebrities in marketing has increased in recent years and that it does have an effect on the way consumers perceive and act towards a brand.
Literature review There have been a small number of studies carried out on celebrity culture and consumer behaviour; however the body of data for this area is still fairly limited. One of the initial studies was that of Fraser and William (2002) on celebrity identification with Elvis Presley. This study sought to show how both fans and impersonators of Elvis Presley began modelling themselves on his mediated image, and they present some formative ideas on how this led to them creating celebrity identification for Presley.
The study also researched, in-depth, the implications of celebrity identification and they do provide some areas of suggestion in which they feel further research could be conducted. One statement made in this article really spurred my interest in this area of research; “The way in which people acquire social values and behaviour from media personae is a relevant concern of mass media scholars and practitioners. During the past several decades celebrities have had a growing influence through mass media” (Fraser & Brown 2002).
Although fairly old, this article has some very relevant findings, in that a large portion of their sample group did model themselves on the public image of Elvis Presley, and were found to have altered past behaviours in alliance with how they feel Presley would have acted. The results of this study gave foundation in our understanding of just how influential celebrity image can be. These findings have made way for a host of further study into understanding the meaning of celebrity image and the components on which an image is founded.
Image is defined as “the concept of someone or something that is held or projected by the public” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language352). Further research into the understanding celebrity image and its components led me to a study conducted by Choi and Rifon (2007) developed a study limiting the use of ‘image’ to that of celebrity. The purpose of the research reported in their paper was two-fold: first, the study identified image components of celebrities and developed a scale for measuring them and second, the study explores the relationship between the image dimensions and credibility perceptions of the general public.
The results revealed only one significant relationship from Factor I, “Genuineness” to the trustworthiness dimension. All other relationships examined in this study were found to be non-significant; no further attempt was made to rectify the theory, as this was not a theory based study. Choi and Refin do analyse the limitations of their study, and also provide suggestion into future research. It is of their opinion that qualitative data on celebrity image dimensions would build the strength of their quantitative findings.
These past studies have provided a platform for further studies, in which more applicable results can be found. The use of celebrity endorsers by businesses, have a very clear aim, in that they want to increase the appeal their brand has. Underlying the use of celebrities is the belief that the profile and attributes of the celebrity draw attention to the messages they deliver and, through a rub-off effect, transfer the image values into the communication messages (O’Mahony ;amp; Meenaghan, 1998) and, thus, influence consumers.
A study carried out by Spears et al (2013) used an exploratory approach to examine the relationship between hero and celebrity by reviewing key dimensions of the celebrity/hero debate: shallowness, flawed celebrity/hero, and narrowness of appeal. The collective findings of two studies suggested that attitudes toward celebrities in ads are most strongly influenced by attitude toward advertising in general and least by flawed celebrity/hero. The findings also indicate that the more shallow celebrities are perceived to be and the more narrow their appeal, the more negative response consumers had their presence in ads.
A study carried out by Tantiseneepong (2012) utilised the use of projective techniques as a method of observing and understanding consumers’ reactions to celebrity-endorsed perfumes. The findings of the study suggested that celebrity endorsers may have a significant impact on the perceived target market for a product, highlighting their potential role in repositioning a brand. However it was also found that the role of personal liking is critical and it was highlighted in the study that this is ignored in current celebrity endorser models.
In order to gain a wider breadth of knowledge on this topic, I also looked a study taken from a different perspective. Ding et al (2011) conducted a study to research the value of celebrity endorsements from a stock market perspective. The findings of this study were consistent with the notion that the incremental benefits from celebrity endorsements closely match the incremental costs. They also found that endorsements of technology industry products coincide with significant positive abnormal returns, however weak support for the match-up hypothesis between celebrities and endorsed products was found.
A later study carried out by Thwaites et al (2012) investigated the impact of negative publicity for a celebrity endorser and the extent to which it influences attitudes toward a celebrity; what degree this influences consumers of high–low involvement and image-related products. The findings suggest that the statements had a negative effect on the overall attitudes toward the celebrities but showed variations for different product categories. Interestingly, there were no significant differences based on the source of negative information. Several implications are discussed and directions for future research suggested.
The results of this study are supported by the previous findings from Amos et al (2008), whose quantitative study on celebrity endorsers suggested negative celebrity information could be extremely detrimental to an advertising campaign. The source credibility model composed of celebrity trustworthiness, celebrity expertise, and celebrity attractiveness appeared to capture the three most influential Source effects on purchase intentions, brand attitudes and attitudes towards the advertisement. A different study carried out by Hsu and McDonald (2002) reviewed the implications and results of using multiple celebrity endorsers in an ad campaign.
The research discusses the advantages and potential concerns of multi-celebrity endorsement advertising and documents the use of multiple celebrity endorsers in the milk mustache campaign in the USA. The study involved the analysis of the content of the 50 milk mustache ads appearing on the web (http://www. whymilk. com) in relation to a list of celebrity and product-related dimensions. It was found that the milk mustache ads matched their celebrities’ gender, age and type of milk attributes in appealing to their female/male, teen/adult consumers.
The results support that fit between the endorsed product and various celebrities is a key factor for using multiple celebrity endorsers in advertising, and that this approach proved to be a successful one. However the results of Saleem (2008) suggested that there was no significant difference in the influence held by ads with a single celebrity presence, and one with multiple celebrity presence. As well as these findings Saleem studied the differences between genders and age and found no significant differences between either. This study evokes debate amongst other findings and, in my mind, warrens further research in the area.
Keel and Natarajaan (2012) also conducted research into the area of celebrity endorsement. Their paper examined the current forms of celebrity marketing, and provided many suggestions as to where further research should take place. The most highly suggested was the area of vulnerable groups. They suggest that more research into the typologies that are more susceptible to celebrity marketing would be a highly beneficial addition to our body of knowledge. In a more recent study further implications have been founded, including the use of celebrity endorsement, not just for business, but also for non-profit organisations.
Del Mar et al (2013) carried out a survey using a fictitious ad campaign involving a celebrity on 329 adults. The findings suggest that if the celerity doing the endorsement is seen as ‘fit for purpose’ for that particular charity then a positive influence is established, with regards to both the participant attitude and behaviour to the cause. “The academic literature in advertising provides ample evidence of the positive effects of using celebrities on both ad and brand evaluations” (Ohanian, 1991) however, there are also numerous studies to suggest the negative impact celebrity endorsement may have.
Because the body of work in and around this area is fairly limited, I aim to strengthen existing evidence through a quantitative study looking into 4 main objectives relating to celebrity culture and its’ effect on marketing. Methodology For this study, it is my proposal that quantitative methods of research are used. I will use a sample f around 50 participants, with equal numbers of male and female. I will show all participants three tv adverts, along with their supporting, corresponding paper ads i. e. magazine ads.
Each ad campaign will have varying level of celebrity. One of the ads will have no celebrity presence, and two will have a celebrity presence. The advert given with no celebrity presence will vary between three among participants, as I will select one of the advert to show, in alliance with what I believe appeals to the current participant. The two adverts with celebrity presence will remain consistent; one will be taken from a retail industry (perfume/aftershave advert) and one will be taken from a service provider industry (virgin on demand).
After a set time period of exposure to the ads, I will dispense a questionnaire, consisting of questions relating to feeling s and attitudes to the three brands shown. Answers will be provided mainly through the use of a Likert scale, however some qualitative answers may be asked for, to allow deeper insight and better understanding and interpretation of the findings. I will design the questionnaire, and there will be number of different questions relating to both logical thoughts and emotion towards the brands shown.
I feel keeping the majority of the questionnaire answered via Likert scale will allow a more accurate analysis of data. As aforementioned, I intend to use a sample consisting of 50 participants. I intend to use varying ages amongst my sample group and will keep the ratio of males to female to equal. I will use opportunity sampling to gather my participants mainly for efficiency and timing reasons. I intend to pilot my study prior to the full study on a smaller sample of around 16 participants (8 male, 8 female). I will conduct a pilot experiment to ensure the procedures I plan to use are appropriate and plausible.
Once the study is complete, in both the pilot and the actual study, participants will be fully debriefed and given the chance to withdraw their results from the study. To analyse the results of my study I will code the scales used in the questionnaire, and carry out full statistical analysis using SPSS technology. Using this method will hopefully allow me to establish and significant findings amongst the data. I will not include any qualitative answers in my statistical analysis, but will evaluate them separately to allow a deeper understanding of the results. Limitations One limitation of this study will be the sample.
The sample size is fairly small I comparison to other studies using quantitative methods, however I feel by ensuring my sample is representative of the population I wish to study I can overcome ay negative impact this may have had on my results. By carefully selecting participants to allow both male and female, varying age’s ad varying backgrounds, I feel I can achieve a representative sample with limited numbers. Another limitation I may encounter may be response bias. If my participants give the answers they feel I want in the questionnaire then my results will be invalid.
In order to try and overcome I will utilise the act of deception on my participants. Whilst gaining full consent to expose to them to the materials I will be using, their participation in the questionnaire and the use of their results, I will not disclose the true nature of the study and its true purpose. By doing this I hope to avoid the issue of response bias. As well as this, questionnaire based studies are also limited by the possible misinterpretation or misunderstanding of questions. Because all questionnaires are standardised, it is not possible to explain any points in the question that participants misinterpret.
To overcome this I will carry out a pilot of my study on a small sample, I hope to eradicate, as much as possible, any chance of misunderstanding occurring. In addition to this because my study is looking at perception, it would be very easy to create a survey using multiple open-ended questions, these types of question can generate large amounts of data that can be very hard to process. In order to overcome this issue I plan to use mainly closed answer questions using Likert scales. I will include some open ended questions, however I will limit the space participants have to write and answer to ensure clear results.
I feel the addition of some open ended questions will add depth to my results. One last limitation of the study is protection of participants. To overcome this I will be ensuring all ethical guidelines are adhered to. To do this I will ensure that full consent is attained from each participant before the start of the study, prior to the study I will not disclose the true nature of the study until the post-study debrief. Once participants are aware of the full aim of the study they will have the opportunity to withdraw their results from the body of work.
I will ensure that all participants are fully aware that their details will remain anonymous, and the only attributes we will be looking are age, gender and the results of their questionnaire. Application Currently the body of work and breadth of knowledge in the area of celebrity and advertising is relatively small. Celebrity culture is fairly new phenomenon however it is one that is taking the economy by storm. Understanding the level of influence celebrities have over consumers will be highly beneficial to businesses as it will allow a true understanding of the real effects celebrity endorsements have.
Means of marketing have increased dramatically over the last decade, and as such we are always bombarded with different ad campaigns. As such it is getting increasingly harder for companies to get their message to stand out and really reach their consumers. Celebrity endorsement is an ever growing method being used by companies, but it comes with a nominal fee. Companies everywhere are allocating large amounts of their budgets to celebrity endorsement, but given the lack of empirical evidence, we cannot say conclusively that it is worthwhile!
Understanding how these methods affect the way our consumers think, and therefore behave, will allow businesses to manipulate the findings to their advantage. Whether the results show that celebrity campaigns play a huge role in altering perceptions or not, wither way the results will be highly useful to marketers. Developing greater evidence of human behaviour will not only help in the marketing side of business but will also impact upon the managerial work of companies, as well as this, the results of this study will add to the growing body of knowledge we have on the psychology of consumers.
Understanding how we perceive and how we think, and measuring the influence of exterior variables (in this case celebrity) is vital when understanding the human mind, implications of this study could help other academic areas such as social sciences. References Amos, C. et al. (2008) Exploring the relationship between celebrity endorser effects and advertising effectiveness – A quantitative synthesis of effect size. International Journal of Advertising, 27 (2), p. 209-234. Choi, S. and Refin, N. (2007) Who Is the Celebrity in Advertising? Understanding Dimensions of Celebrity Images. Journal of Popular Culture, 40 (2), p. 04-324. Chung-kue Hsu, Daniella McDonald, (2002) “An examination on multiple celebrity endorsers in advertising”, Journal of Product ;amp; Brand Management, Vol. 11 Iss: 1, pp. 19 – 29 Del Mar, G. et al. (2013) Communication using celebrities in the non-profit sector Determinants of its effectiveness. International Journal of Advertising, 32 (1), p. 101-119 Ding, H. et al. (2011) The value of celebrity endorsements: A stock market perspective. Marketing Letters, 22 (2), p. 147-163 Fraser, B. and Brown , W. (2002) Media, Celebrities and Social Influence; Identification with Elvis Presley.
Mass Communication and Society, 5 (2), p. 183-206 IBM Corp. Released 2012. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 21. 0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp. Keel, A. and Nataraajan, R. (2012) Celebrity Endorsements and Beyond: New Avenues for Celebrity Branding. Psychology and Marketing, 29 (9), p. 690–703. Likert, Rensis (1932). “A Technique for the Measurement of Attitudes”. Archives of Psychology 140: 1–55. Ohanian, R (1991) “The impact of celebrity spokespersons’ perceived image on customers ‘intention to purchase”, Journal of Advertising Research,31(1): 46-54. O’Mahony, S. nd Meenaghan, T. 1998. The impact of celebrity endorsements on consumers. Irish Marketing Review, 10(2): 15–24. Saleem, F. (2008) Review of Business Research . International Academy of Business and Economics, 8 (3). Shimp, T. (2007) Advertising, Promotion, and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications. 8th ed. Ohio: South Western Cengage Learning, p. 79-92 Spears, N. et al. (2013) Are Celebrity-Heroes Effective Endorsers? Exploring the Link between Hero, Celebrity, and Advertising Response. Journal of Promotion Management, 19 (1), p. 17-37 Tantiseneepong, N et al. 2012) “Evaluating responses to celebrity endorsements using projective techniques”, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 15 (1), p. 57 – 69 Unknown. (2011) American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. Boston: Boston Publishing, p. 352 Appendix Appendix A- Performa Business School A PROFORMA FOR STAFF AND STUDENTS BEGINNING A RESEARCH PROJECT This proforma should be completed by all staff and research students undertaking any research project and by taught students undertaking a research project as part of a taught module. Part A (compulsory)
Research Proposer(s): Samantha Whittles………………………………. Student number (if applicable): 201104830………………………………. University of Hull email address:):. s. j. [email protected] hull. ac. uk…………………………….. Programme of Study…Business and Marketing………………………………………. Research (Working Dissertation/Thesis) Title: “A proposed study on the effects of celebrity culture on consumer perception and behaviour; and how this is affecting the marketing techniques being used by UK businesses”……………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Research (brief): A Surveyed study using quantitative data collection in the form of questionnaires, studying the level of influence celebrity presence in adverts has over consumers perceptions of a brand, and whether this perception is witnessed in their behaviour. ……………………………………………………………………………….. Proforma Completion Date: 11/04/2013…………………………………………………………………… Tick and sign by one of the following statements: 1) I confirm that human participants are not involved in my research and in addition no other ethical considerations are envisaged. Signature of researcher………………………………………………… ) Human participants are involved in my research and/or there are other ethical considerations in my research. Signature of researcher………………………………………………… If statement 1 is ticked and signed, there is no need to proceed further with this proforma, and research may proceed now. If statement 2 is ticked and signed the researcher should complete part B of this proforma. Part B This proforma should be read in conjunction with the Ethical Principles for Researchers and the HUBS flow chart of research ethics procedures. It should be completed by the researchers.
It should be sent on completion, together with a brief (maximum one page) summary of the issues/problems in the research (and how they are proposed to be dealt with), for approval to the Chair of the HUBS Research Ethics Committee (or nominated Committee member) or in the case of research being completed as part of a taught module to the student’s supervisor or module leader prior to the beginning of any research. NOTE If this research has a research population of those under 18 years of age it requires specific authorisation, including that from authorities outside the University.
It should not proceed until such authorisation has been obtained in writing. 1. Will you obtain written informed consent from the participants? Y/N If yes, please include a copy of the information letter requesting consent. In the case of electronic surveys it is acceptable to advise participants that completion of the survey constitutes consent. Please provide a printout of the survey template. If no, the research should not proceed unless you can specifically satisfy the Research Ethics Committee with the measures you will take to deal with this matter. 2. Has there been any withholding of disclosure of information regarding he research/teaching to the participants? Y/N If yes, please describe the measures you have taken to deal with this. 3. Issues for participants. Please answer the following and state how you will manage perceived risks if any answer is YES: a)Do any aspects of the study pose a possible risk to participants’ physical well-being (e. g. use of substances such as alcohol or extreme situations such as sleep deprivation)? | YES| NO| b)Are there any aspects of the study that participants might find humiliating, embarrassing, ego-threatening, in conflict with their values, or be otherwise emotionally upsetting? | YES| NO| c)Are there any aspects of the study that might threaten participants’ privacy (e. g. questions of a very personal nature; observation of individuals in situations which are not obviously ‘public’)? *| YES| NO| d)Does the study require access to confidential sources of information (e. g. medical records)? | YES| NO| eCould the intended participants for the study be expected to be more than usually emotionally vulnerable (e. g. medical patients, bereaved individuals)? | YES| NO| fWill the study take place in a setting other than the University campus or residential buildings? YES| NO| gWill the intended participants of the study be individuals who are not members of the University community? | YES| NO| *Note: if the intended participants are of a different social, racial, cultural, age or sex group to the researcher(s) and there is any doubt about the possible impact of the planned procedures, then opinion should be sought from members of the relevant group. 4. Might conducting the study expose the researcher to any risks (e. g. collecting data in potentially dangerous environments)? Explain your method of dealing with this. YES| NO| 5. Is the research being conducted on a group culturally different from the researcher/student/supervisors? Y/N If yes, are sensitivities and problems likely to arise? Y/N? If yes, please describe how you have addressed/will address them. 6. Does the research conflict with any of the HUBS’s research ethics principles? Y/N If YES do not proceed Describe for the Research Ethics Committee what action you have taken to address this? 7. If the research requires the consent of any organisation, have you obtained it?
Y/N If NO do not proceed Describe for the Research Ethics Committee what action you have taken to overcome this problem. 8. Did you have to discuss the likelihood of ethical problems with this research with an informed colleague? Y/N If yes, please name the colleague and provide the date and results of the discussion. Thank you for completing this proforma. If you are a research student/member of staff this form must be signed by you, your supervisor/colleague and the HUBS Research Ethics Committee representative for your area.
In the case of students undertaking research as part of a taught module, it must be signed by you and your supervisor or module leader. Once signed, staff and research students should send copies of this form, and the proposal must be sent to the Secretary of the Research Ethics Committee, Hull University Business School (see flow chart), including where possible examples of letters describing the purposes and implications of the research, and any Consent Forms (see appendices). Name of Researcher/Student ………………………………………………………………
Signature ……………………………………………… Date ……………………………… Name of Supervisor/Colleague/Module leader …………………………………………… Signature ……………………………………………… Date ……………………………… For proformas completed by staff and research students only: Name of Research Ethics Committee member …………………………………………… Signature ……………………………………………… Date ……………………………… For proformas relating to research funded by grants, please complete the following: pFact no: …………………………………………… RAR no: …………………………………………… Funder/sponsor………………………………………