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.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Celebrity Endorsements of U.S. Presidential Candidates

A celebrity endorser is commonly defined as a recognisable person who is contracted to advertise for a product or brand (McCracken, 1989).

There is no denying the fact that celebrity endorsements may be applicable in the political arena.

Celebrities have the ability to generate parasocial relationships, feelings of a personal connectedness despite the lack of direct contact with the consumers (Choi & Rifon, 2007).

In the USA and Canada, there is empirical confirmation of celebrities having a positive effect on the willingness of young people to support specific causes (Jackson, 2007; Jackson & Darrow, 2005) or to vote in elections (Austin et al., 2008). Pease and Brewer (2008) contend that celebrity endorsements can, though to a limited extent, increase political support for presidential candidates.

In the 2016 United States presidential election Clinton could rely on Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Beyoncé and Madonna for support.

While Trump had fewer celebrities on his side, he managed to retain a variety of endorsements in the entertainment world — from former sports stars like Mike Tyson and Dennis Rodman to major musicians like Kid Rock and Ted Nugent.


Mishra, A. A., & Mishra, A. (2014). National vs. local celebrity endorsement and politics. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 27(4), 409-425.

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