Davidoff endorsed their new men’s fragrance by cashing in on celebrity Ewan McGregors highly publicised break from acting to travel around the world on his motorbike. This proved successful for a number of reasons. Firstly the advert is aimed at men who aspire to be as adventurous as Ewan. They want to be tough, resilient and fearless, like Ewan travelling around the traitorous terrain in the background.
Secondly the advert is made personally relevant through the use of ‘ready made’ friendships that exist between fans and celebrities, these are known as parasocial relationships (Giles, 2002). Parasocial relationships are a one sided relationship where one person knows a lot about the other but this is not returned. Viewers consider Ewan to be a trustworthy and reliable source of the endorsement and this makes the viewer more likely to ‘give it a try’. The association of the product with the celebrity positively transforms the product and makes it more attractive. An example of this is a study by Walker et all (1992). Participants were asked to rate three products; bath towels, blue jeans and VCRs, endorsed by two different celebrities (Madonna and Christie Brinkley). They found that endorsers passed their own image onto the product, particularly when the product has an undefined image. The participants rated the same products different when endorsed by different celebrities, therefore the product became associated with each celebrity.
Although the endorsement of this product was successful, there has also been less conclusive evidence about the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement. Hume (1992) studied the persuasiveness of over 5000 TV advertisements and concluded that celebrity endorsement did not enhance the persuasiveness of the advert. Therefore it could be concluded that celebrities may catch the viewer’s attention but the question remains whether they actually help sell the product.
Giles, D. (2002). Parasocial interaction: A review of the literature and a model of future research. Media Psychology, 4, 279-305.
Walker, L. (1992). Celebrity endorsers: Do you get what you pay for? Journal of Consumer Marketing, 9, 69-76.
Hume, S. (1992). Bests ads don’t rely on celebrities. Advertising Age, 20.