Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"OH SNAP: We are bringing the Kim K style to you!"

For the girls who shop online on MISSGUIDED – have you ever noticed the “OH SNAP! Kim K” stamps clearly posted on icons featuring various items of clothing? Well, the company doesn’t only have these prominent stamps that helps you clearly distinguish celebrity fashion choices from the ‘average’ ones, but it also provides their consumers with a full Kim K-style shopping category, where they “bring the Kim Kardashian style to you!”

This is an example of a persuasive technique called ‘High Status- Admirer Altercast’. High status- admirer altercast describes people’s tendency to admire and seek to be like an individual that they perceived to have a high status –Kim Kardashian in this example – an international celebrity, television personality, socialite, model … and many other hoo-haas. In today’s intense marketing environment, celebrities play an increasingly important role in advertising as a tool for creating and enhancing product image and equity. A range of research has indicated that celebrity endorsers are able to generate favourable attitudinal and behavioural responses among consumers.

Choi and Rifon (2012) investigated the celebrity/ consumer relationship as a mechanism to explain the effectiveness of celebrity endorsers in marketing. The researchers suggest that just as consumers purchase and use a product when its image matches their self-image, a celebrity endorser’s influence on a consumer’s attitude and choice might also be dependent upon the consumer’s perception of the celebrity in reference to his/ her actual or ideal self-image.

A total of 251 male (42.6%) and female (57.4%) undergraduates, ranging from 18 – 35 years of age took part in Choi and Rifon’s study (2012). The participants were given a booklet containing a front page of instructions, an advertisement with Drew Barrymore or Julia Roberts as the celebrity endorsers, and a questionnaire. The participants were instructed to complete the questionnaire that consisted of four main sections:

The results of the study are summarised in the correlations table below. It should be noted that the negative path coefficients seen in variable 1 (ideal congruity: sum of the distances perceived by a consumer between his/her ideal image and the celebrity’s image in the advertisement), in fact indicate positive relationships because the smaller the ideal congruity index, the more congruent the consumer views the celebrity compared to his/ her ideal self. 

It is evident from this table, that there is an effect of ideal congruity and product/endorser congruence on attitude towards the advertisement and attitude towards the brand. A further analysis of the results also revealed that attitude towards the advertisement has a direct impact on attitude towards the brand, which subsequently influenced purchase intent.

From this study it is clear that celebrities featured in advertising are easily recognised and attract attention from consumers. The literature suggests that the use of a celebrity as an endorser is more persuasive when consumers perceive a fit between their self-image and celebrity image. This perceived similarity would make the consumer more likely to rate the advertisement as more favourable and report greater purchase intentions. Watch out Kim K lovers – you’re bound to love the trends on MISSGUIDED!

Choi, S., & Rifon, N. (2012). It Is a Match: The Impact of Congruence between Celebrity Image and Consumer Ideal Self on Endorsement Effectiveness. Psychology & Marketing, 29(9), 639-650. doi:10.1002/mar.20550

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