The focus of this Burberry advert appears not to be on the brand itself but instead on Emma Watson. By making no attempt to attract attention to the brand name, it subtly highlights the infamous nature of Burberry’s iconic pattern. Activating the high status-admirer altercast, it appeals to the ego of its audience by suggesting that the label is worn by successful and attractive individuals, therefore by wearing Burberry you will be successful and attractive too.
Kahle and Homer (1985) experimentally investigated this effect. They manipulated several factors in an advert for a disposable razor (namely attractiveness of a celebrity endorser, likeability, and the level of involvement the target feels with the product) and then asked participants a series of questions in order to gauge how successful the advert was. They found that brand recall was significantly higher for participants who had watched an advert involving an attractive celebrity compared to an unattractive celebrity, and interestingly, this effect was exaggerated in women. Crucially, celebrity likeability had no significant effect on the attitudes of participants. The magnitude of this effect is perhaps best demonstrated by their finding that the impact of celebrity attractiveness transcended the level of involvement participants felt with the advert. In other words, an attractive celebrity endorser has the potential to causes changes in attitude via both routes of the Elaboration-Likelihood model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986).
Kahle, L. R., & Homer, P. M. (1985). Physical attractiveness of the celebrity endorser: A social adaptation perspective. Journal of Consumer Research, 4, 954-961.
Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). Communication and Persuasion: Central and Peripheral Routes to Attitude Change. New York: Springer-Verlag.