I think we all recognise this familiar face. Kevin Bacon. The Golden Globe winning star has made the quite edgy decision to feature in the advertising campaign for EE, a relatively new mobile phone network in the UK. This advert is a classic case of celebrity endorsement, which Erdogan (1999) found to increase the memorability of an advertisement, and in turn intensify sales figures.
However, this celebrity endorsement is taken one step further with the advert playing on the concept of “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. In a very short space of time, Kevin (we’ve gone for first name terms), runs through the six ways in which his appearance in National Lampoon’s Animal House links to the EE mobile phone network, thereby associating himself with the product. Kahle and Homer (1985) propose a match-up hypothesis, where there are further positive effects when an association between a celebrity and a product is promoted. In addition, Kevin Bacon was a bit of a looker back in the day (he's not doing too badly now if we are honest), so perhaps his physical attractiveness may increase liking towards him, thereby playing a role in the persuasive process (Chaiken, 1979). But I'll leave that one up to you.
Part of the advert shows the sequence of Kevin watching a film on his mobile, then watching the same film, at the same place, on his television. This sequence resembles the Interactive Experiment Template (Goldenberg, Mazurksy & Solomon, 1999), in the sense that the viewer witnesses the film transferring across from the mobile, outside the house, to the rather large flat screen at home. Sequences like this can make the viewer feel more involved in the process, imagining themselves doing the same thing if they were to purchase the product, or in this case, join the EE mobile phone network.
To top it all off, Kevin Bacon makes a few entertaining references to Jedward, which is more entertaining due to the Kevin being a Hollywood star and Jedward being the ever so slightly random blonde pair whose existence most of us try to overlook. Humour can enhance message persuasiveness, as it can secure our attention to the message being communicated (Chan 2011). In combination, these persuasive techniques make up a fairly successful advertising campaign, with EE now boasting a customer base of 28 million, and are now the largest mobile network provider in the UK. It could be argued that the owe it all to my main man, Kevin.
Chaiken, S. (1979). Communicator physical attractiveness and persuasion. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 37, 1387-1389.
Chan, F. Y. (2011). The effect of humour in television advertising in Hong Kong. Journal of Marketing Communications, 17, 319-336.
Erdogan, B. Z. (1999) Celebrity Endorsement: A Literature Review. Journal of Marketing Management, 15 (4), 291-314.
Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18, 333-351.
Kahle, Lynn R., and Pamela M. Homer (1985), "Physical Attractiveness of the Celebrity Endorser: A Social Adaptation Perspective," Journal of Consumer Research, 11 (March), 954-961.