Celebrity endorsers: spokesperson selection criteria and case examples of FREDD
Robert A. Swerdlow
Famous personalities have been used to endorse products for many years. When considering the choice of using a famous spokesperson, a marketing manager must understand the advantages and disadvantages of using celebrity endorsers. A good celebrity-product association can capture a viewer’s attention, increase the public’s awareness of the product, and cause consumers to purchase the product endorsed. However, a bad celebrity-product association can be very costly and risky depending on the potentially volatile image, nature, and credibility of the spokesperson used. Marketing research has found several models for evaluating celebrities as potential endorsers. FREDD, developed by Young and Rubicam Agency, is a helpful tool for assessing the best characteristics of a celebrity as a potential product endorser. Cases are presented to develop the FREDD assessment.
Businesses have long sought to distract and attract the attention of potential customers that live in a world of ever-increasing commercial bombardment. Everyday Americans are exposed to thousands of voices and images in magazines, newspapers, and on billboards, websites, radio and television. Ads of all varieties pop up everywhere on streets, in stores and restaurants, and on public transportation. Each of these ads attempts to steal at least a fraction of an unsuspecting person’s time to inform him or her of the amazing and different attributes of the product at hand. Because of the constant media saturation that most people experience daily, they eventually become numb to standard advertising. The challenge of the advertiser is to find a hook that will hold the subject’s attention and keep them from changing the channel or turning the page.
One well-used approach at differentiating advertisements is the use of celebrity endorsements. Celebrities are seen as dynamic individuals with likeable and attractive qualities. The words and sometimes just the image of a popular person will cause many people to stop and pay attention. For years, professional athletes, famous actors, and musicians have been the traditional favorites to feature in advertisements. As the ad market continues to grow and competition becomes fiercer, marketers have turned to new categories of celebrity spokespersons. Notable ex-politicians, successful mutual fund managers, and high-profile CEO’s are now used with frequency to sell a variety of products. Celebrity endorsers also need not be human. A champion racehorse sells pet food in Great Britain. Cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny and Fred Flintstone sell network television and breakfast cereals in America. Puppets such as Big Bird sell children’s vitamins (Miciak & Shanklin, 1994). New categories for celebrity endorsers are opening every day as the reach of the media moves closer to home.
Some advertisers even create their own celebrity to sell their product. Subway Sandwiches made a celebrity out of one of their loyal customers. Their spokesman, Jared whose only claim to fame is consuming mass quantities of Subway sandwiches, has been featured in magazines and on various television shows. Dell Computer has created a fictionalized slacker character to represent their products. After a series of successful television spots, the actor who plays ‘Steven’ has become a celebrity himself appearing on news and other programs.
Using celebrity fame, bought or contrived, has certain advantages and risks. A celebrity-product association can capture a viewer’s attention, increase the public’s awareness of the product, and cause consumers to purchase the product endorsed. In contrast, celebrity-products associations can be very costly and risky based on the potentially volatile image, nature, and credibility of the spokesperson used.
Beginning with a review of the literature, we explore the history and the pros and cons of using a celebrity to endorse a manufacturer’s product or service. After assessing the advantages and disadvantages of celebrity endorsements, a company will decide whether or not to use a celebrity in their marketing plan. From here the question of which celebrity to use can be answered using several different methods. We discuss different criteria and examine them with several current examples. The choice of the right celebrity can mean the difference between an effective and ineffective advertising campaign.
Kamins (1989) defines a celebrity endorser as “an individual who is known to the public for his or her achievements in areas other than that of the product endorsed”. While this statement fits most cases, it excludes some fictional and contrived endorsers (e.g. The Dell Dude) that have gained enough popularity to be classed as celebrities. McCracken (1989) offers a more complete definition: “any individual who enjoys public recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement”.
Celebrity endorsing has been used as a tool for promoting brand awareness for over one hundred years. One of the first signs of the potential marketing power of celebrities was discovered in the late 1800’s. Goodwin & Co, who produced Gypsy Queen, Old Judge, and other well-liked cigarette brands, have been credited as the first company to issue tobacco baseball card on a large scale. This New York firm devised this innovative marking strategy in order to gain a competitive edge on its rivals. They soon realized the potential of inserting baseball cards directly into packets of cigarettes and quickly added other famous celebrities ranging from actresses to boxers. The age of the celebrity endorser was here to stay (Rudd, 2002).
During the past one hundred years, the commercial use of celebrities has evolved from simple cigarette cards to multi-media messages with million-dollar contracts (Agrawl & Kamakura, 1995). The variety of celebrity endorsers has been transformed from a few baseball players and athletes and now encompasses men, women, boys, and girls from the worlds of sports, films, television, radio, music, and obscurity (McCracken, 1989).
There have been numerous reports regarding the effects that celebrity endorsers have on consumer product perception and attitudes (Zollo, 1999; Ohanian, 1991, McCrackan, 1989; Berkowitz, 1995; Wentz, 2002; Papiernik, 2002). Reasons companies use celebrity endorsers to promote a company’s product include cognitive product recall (Bonnett, 2002: Rescoe, 1980; Friedman & Friedman, 1979), product credibility (Rescoe, 1980; Kamins et al., 1989; Bonnett, 2002), product image and loyalty (Veltri, 1998), and improve corporate profits (Agrawal & Kamakura, 1995).
With some evidence indicating that consumers are more likely to purchase goods and services that have been endorsed by celebrities then goods and services not endorsed by a celebrity (Dyson & Turco, 1998; Agrawal & Kamakura, 1995), celebrity endorsers are now visible on every advertising medium: television, radio, billboards, and magazines (Redenbach, 1999). Companies are using celebrities to promote a range of goods from mobile phones, video games, to sports drinks. However, due to research results showing that effective product endorsement is directly related to the perceived expertise of celebrity with the product, for example, Tiger Woods and golf clubs, companies are now starting to become more selective in their choice of celebrities (Ohanian, 1991). Simply picking the latest hot celebrity without a through understanding of the product target market, celebrity appeal within that market, and in-depth research is a recipe for disaster, as many companies have discovered (McCracken, 1989; Osorio, 2002). There are many variables that companies need to be aware of when they are considering a celebrity endorser. However, it is generally accepted that the celebrity’s image should be congruent with the product message (Kamins, 1990; Kahle & Homer, 1995; Ohanian, 1991; Dyson & Turco, 1998).
ADVANTAGES OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS
Companies can no longer afford to offer a ‘one style fits all’ approach to their products. With increased competition, differentiation becomes vital to future business. During the 2002 World Cup, Nike aired an advertising campaign that encompassed all of the pros of celebrity endorsements. The Nike World Cup ads can be found at http://www.nikesoccer.com. To be considered effective, a celebrity endorser should be able to do the following.
* Capture the viewer’s attention (Dyson & Turco, 1998; Miciak & Shanklin, 1994; Swerdlow, 1984)
* Increase product awareness (Wilson, 1997)
* Influence the purchase decisions of the target market (Ohanian, 1991)
As products have become more generic and media clutter has increased, celebrity endorsements have become a favored method of capturing the target market’s attention. An easily recognizable figure or team who generates excitement can cut through the clutter and will draw attention to the product more than an unknown person or a faceless ad (Miciak & Shanklin, 1994). Once that attention is captured it is up to the content of the ad, or the charisma of the celebrity, to sell the product. In Nike’s ad campaign that ran during the 2002 World Cup series, all of the people in the ad were soccer stars, dressed in Nike soccer apparel, playing in an “underground tournament”. This immediately attracted the attention of the target market: soccer players.
The second advantage of celebrity endorsements is to increase product awareness. Awareness is the first step in the purchase process. If the target market is not aware of your product the chances of them buying it are nil. This can be accomplished with any supplemental advertising, however a celebrity attached to your brand name will increase the likelihood of product recall as well as infuse your product with the charisma and success associated with the celebrity (Wilson, 1997). If the audience did not know before seeing the soccer ad that Nike made soccer apparel, they do now. Anytime a 12-year old boy goes to buy a soccer jersey, he will remember that Ronaldo wore a blue Nike shirt in the commercial.
Increasing product awareness has always been a high priority for companies. In a study by Copeland, Frisby, and McCarville (1996), twenty-two companies were asked to select the most import criteria from thirty-seven selections. The results showed that increased product awareness was the second most important reason companies choose celebrity endorsers (Wilson, 1997).
The ability to influence purchase decisions is the third advantage of celebrity endorsements. This is where having a direct correlation between product and the celebrity of the spokesperson is most important. If the spokesperson is not seen as credible or as an expert on the product, the pitch will fall short and not resonate with the target audience. The endorsement will also infuse the product with the charisma and success of the celebrity, inciting the target audience to purchase the product to equate them with the celebrity. Audiences are less likely to buy a product or service from someone who has no relation to the product. Ohanian (1991) found empirical evidence that the perceived expertise of the endorser has a direct effect on the customer’s decision to purchase. She states, “consumers are more likely to purchase a product that has been endorsed by a celebrity, especially if the product attributes to the celebrity success.” If the Nike ad had used a local high school soccer team on a losing streak, the ad would be less likely to influence purchase decisions.
DISADVANTAGES OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS
Although the use of celebrities to endorse products has become fairly commonplace and can lead to several advantages for the company, there continue to be hazards that can occur when using a celebrity endorser. The company must be aware of the potential problems when considering the use of celebrities to endorse its products, including:
* High costs to secure a celebrity endorser.
* Celebrity’s image and public reputation.
* Multiple product endorsement by a celebrity.
* Credibility and effectiveness of the celebrity endorser.
The high costs to secure a celebrity endorser are of much concern to businesses. Many smaller businesses do not have the resources required to hire a celebrity spokesperson (Dyson & Turco, 1998). In many cases, the costs to have a celebrity endorse a product are far beyond the resources available to the company. For example, Pepsi paid Shaquille O’Neal $25 million for endorsement of its cola, and Nike paid golfer Tiger Woods $40 million to help its youth marketing campaign. For a small company, paying any celebrity, not just top-notch celebrities, is a huge financial risk (Dyson & Turco, 1998). If a problem should occur, the smaller company will experience a much greater loss on its investment than would a larger competitor.
Along with the high costs of endorsers, the celebrity’s reputation and potential for negative publicity is also on the mind of the company. When the celebrity’s image is tarnished by scandal, the company’s asset may develop into a liability. In most cases, the negative image of the celebrity will transfer to the product and the company that was endorsed. This transfer of negative information occurs through a network of associative links that are formed by the customer (Till & Shimp, 1998). A customer’s feelings of a celebrity are linked to the brand being endorsed through repeated association. This link can be detrimental when negative information about the celebrity goes public. When negative information about a celebrity presents itself, the customer’s evaluation of that celebrity is lowered. In turn, this negative perception of the celebrity can lead to a lowered evaluation of the product that was endorsed (Till & Shimp, 1998).
The threat of a negative associative link due to the actions of a celebrity can be most harmful on a small business (Dyson & Turco, 1998). When Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Michael Irving was arrested in connection with drugs, several Toyota dealerships lost substantial amounts of money paid for commercials. Not only did the companies lose their initial investments, they had to expend more resources to replace Irving.
PepsiCo has also been involved with this type of negative association more than once. In 1989, Madonna was an endorser for Pepsi when her controversial “Like a Prayer” video debuted. The video contained images of the singer dancing in a field of burning crosses and stigmata were evident on her palms. Catholic groups had complaints regarding the Christian imagery displayed in the video. Even after Pepsi-Cola spokesman Todd McKenzie claimed that the company had no problem with the video, the company decided to discontinue its Madonna ad campaign in the United States (Haring, 1989).
Again in 1993, Pepsi suffered from more negative association due to celebrity scandal regarding Michael Jackson. Pepsi’s association with Michael Jackson began in 1984. At that time, it was reported that the agreement would make Jackson the “richest pitchman on planet Earth” (Giles, 1993). In the early 1990s, the agreement between the cola company and the “King of Pop” cost Pepsi $50 million to promote Jackson’s tour. According to Giles (1993), Jackson had earned tens of millions of dollars for endorsing Pepsi products. However, with only four months of a 10-year commitment remaining, allegations of child sexual abuse were brought against Jackson (Larson, 1993). Pepsi was very cautious to proceed and had a detective agency investigate the allegations, adding more unexpected costs to the endorsement campaign. Given the publicity from early 2003, Pepsi was justified to have changed endorsements.
Hertz, the top car-rental company, is another company familiar with scandal featuring its celebrity endorser. In the 1980s, Hertz used O.J. Simpson as an endorser of its rental car services. Simpson was seen as a good pitchman for Hertz’s speedy service because he was known for his speed (Ohanian, 1991). However, in 1989, the company was criticized for continuing to use Simpson after his wife-beating conviction. Hertz did learn from its mistakes, terminating its association with Simpson in June of 1994 after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with the murder of his ex-wife and a friend (Brandweek, 1994).
Another potential hazard with using celebrity endorsements occurs when the celebrity endorses more than one product (Dyson & Turco, 1998; Tripp, Jensen, & Carlson, 1994). Instead of associating a celebrity with a particular product, consumers may find it hard to identify a product based solely on which celebrity endorsed it (Dyson & Turco, 1998). By endorsing multiple products, a celebrity’s image of trustworthiness can be jeopardized, along with the brand’s image (Tripp, Jensen, & Carlson, 1994).
In a study conducted by Tripp, Jensen, and Carlson (1994), results showed that being exposed to multiple product endorsements by a celebrity did lead the customer to view the celebrity as “less trustworthy, expert, or likable and evaluate the ads more negatively”. Regardless of whether the ad or the products were the same, exposure of the endorser to the consumer led to less favorable perceptions of the celebrity and the ad. For example, in the late 1980s, E.F. Hutton, a brokerage company, used Bill Cosby as a celebrity spokesperson. However, Cosby already represented several other products, and Hutton suffered from Cosby’s overexposure (Marshall, 1987).
A lack of perceived expertise or credibility can make a celebrity endorsement less effective (Ohanian, 1991). The target customers must perceive the endorser as being an expert and someone to whom the consumer can relate. If the celebrity does not have a “direct connection” with the product being endorsed, there is less chance that the consumer will view the celebrity as a credible endorser (Ohanian, 1991). According to Tripp, Jensen, and Carlson (1994), a celebrity that endorses four or more products jeopardizes his image as being an “expert” of that product. Moreover, consumers also view the celebrity as less likable when four or more products were endorsed.
Vampirism is becoming another pitfall from which a company can suffer when using a celebrity endorser. Vampiring occurs when the celebrity becomes bigger than the brand that is being endorsed. This problem can be attributed to a limited number of celebrities with whom the consumers are familiar. However, by keeping the endorsements short-term and changing the celebrities who endorse the product, a company can help prevent the risk of vampiring (Jamnalal Bjaj Institute of Management Studies, 2001).
CRITERIA FOR CELBRITY SELECTION
Earlier last century, celebrities were asked to endorse a wide variety of products without much regard for the appropriateness of the relationship. Little research was used to determine an optimal fit between a famous person and the advertised product. At present, competition in most industries is more intense than ever and fees for celebrity appearances are rising. There are many choices of people to represent products. It is most important to the marketer to pick the person that will have the best influence on the buying public. For the last fifty years, marketing scholars and professionals have sought the key to finding the perfect celebrity endorser.
Ohanian (1991) states that source credibility is the most important characteristic in selecting a celebrity endorser. Source credibility breaks down into three dimensions: expertise, trustworthiness, and attractiveness. Expertise is the perceived validity of the assertions made by the celebrity. This connection is often made by a previous association of the person to the nature or aspect of the product. Famous chefs endorse food products, athletes endorse athletic shoes, musicians endorse stereo equipment, etc. Trustworthiness is the confidence that the consumer has in the celebrity regarding honesty and objectivity. Often people are skeptical when someone, especially an unknown person, is trying to sell them something. The more trust they have invested in a public figure, the less suspicious they will be about the qualities of the product being endorsed. Attractiveness, though a very subjective matter, is also important in an effective celebrity endorsement. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or target market. Studies have been done that indicate physically attractive people communicate messages better than unattractive people (Chaiken, 1972).
Source attractiveness is another model used to evaluate a celebrity for a fit with a product. The dimensions are: similarity, familiarity, and liking of the person. Similarity is the degree to which the celebrity resembles the target market. Familiarity is how well the market knows the celebrity. Liking refers to how much the target market likes the celebrity based on looks and behavior (Erdogan, Baker, & Tagg, 2001).
Not all agree that source credibility and source attractiveness are the most important models to determine celebrity effectiveness. Empirical evidence finds the dimensions of trustworthiness and expertise of little importance to the consumer’s decision (Swerdlow, 1984). Celebrities are complex individuals and their meaning beyond physical attractiveness within the culture of the target market should be considered most (McCracken, 1989). However, cultural meaning is difficult to rank and categorize and would therefore be hard for a practical marketing manager to utilize.
Miciak and Shanklin (1994) expand the source credibility criteria further than the three-dimensional model. From their study of ad agencies, a “base criteria” was found that should exist in any potential product endorser. The criteria were narrowed to trustworthiness, recognizability, affordability, low risk of negative publicity, and appropriate match with target audience. While these overlap somewhat with Ohanian’s dimensions, they provoke more considerations to the choice.
The Young and Rubicam advertising agency conducted a survey of 30,000 people and 6000 different brands to study why brands succeed or fail. Their research results developed into the acronym: FRED (Osorio, 2002; Dyson & Turco, 1998; Miciak & Shanklin, 1994). Familiarity, relevance, esteem, and differentiation apply to the selection of celebrity endorsers as well. Miciak and Shanklin (1994) suggest adding proper decorum or deportment, which would make FREDD. Assessing these characteristics in potential product endorsers is a comprehensive way to find an effective spokesperson and limit the risk of advertising backfires.
Using these celebrity endorser criteria, we follow with a discussion of five current advertising campaigns using different celebrities to highlight each of the characteristics of FREDD. As each of the products represented in these examples are from large, established multinational firms, it is assumed that extensive planning and corporate debate preceded the selection of each of the celebrity endorsers. Each of the celebrity-product combinations below represents a good example of one of the FREDD dimensions.
FAMILIARITY–BRITNEY SPEARS FOR PEPSI
Britney Spears rose out of a mass of teen pop singers in the late 1990’s and quickly become one of the world’s most famous faces. Originally, her appeal was only to older children and teenagers. As her fame and record sales grew, she attracted a wider audience for a number of reasons, not just her music. Large record company promotions, movies, and heavy personal publicity have pushed Spears beyond the fame of the average pop singer. Having just been named number one on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 (2002), an annual listing of the most powerful celebrities in the world, she is known to most people everywhere.
Spears began promoting Pepsi in 2000, as her fame among people older than 15 was still rising. Pepsi, in a competitive battle for market share with Coke, had targeted a young demographic in the hope that once young people drank Pepsi, they would continue throughout their lives. In frequent flashy print and television ads, especially a highly anticipated Superbowl spot, Spears promoted Pepsi by incorporating the brand into her skimpy outfits and songs. The ads are highly interactive and ask viewers and fans of Spears to vote for their favorite ads and participate in various games online. As Britney Spears is now very well known to the world, many people have become more familiar with the brand of Pepsi (Pepsiworld).
RELEVANCE–BILL FORD FOR FORD MOTORS
Ford is one of the most famous names in business and is also one of the largest companies in the world. Recently, Bill Ford, the great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, became C.E.O. amidst several very public scandals regarding the safety of Ford vehicles. Aside from restructuring the company, he is appearing in several television commercials for Ford. In these ads, Bill Ford talks about the values and reputation of his famous ancestor in relation to the Ford Company. The emphasis here is on his family history and his own interest in and knowledge of his company’s products (No Boundaries, 2002).
As heads of companies become famous through business magazines and growing financial channels, more executives are becoming celebrity endorsers. From a standpoint of relevance, meaning fit between celebrity and product, they are excellent examples. It is a natural perception that the top person at a firm should embody the image and reputation of the product being promoted. There is another facet to relevance: the fit between the celebrity and the target audience. In this example, Bill Ford speaks to the mass of SUV buyers in the world by telling the story of his great-grandfather driving on camping trips with uncle Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, and “whoever was president at the time”. Ford recalls his own love of the outdoors and how his company invented the SUV (No Boundaries, 2002). While the actual difference between the C.E.O. of a multi-billion dollar company and the average SUV buyer is probably significant, Bill Ford as an expert and visible promoter of Ford products is particularly relevant.
ESTEEM–MICHAEL JORDAN FOR HANES
Hanes Corporation (http://www.hanes.com) calls itself the number one brand of apparel in the world and has recorded sales of over $2 billion in 2001. Owned by parent corporation Sara Lee and based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Hanes brand casual apparel is sold to a wide audience around the world. In 1989, they began an endorsement relationship with an up and coming University of North Carolina basketball player named Michael Jordan.
Highly respected among many demographics for both his amazing athletic talents and for the calm, virtuous way he leads his life, he is certainly one of the most popular celebrity endorsers around. Since his rise in the late 1980’s as one of the greatest athletes of all time, he has been sought after to endorse hundreds of products. He is best known for his contracts with Nike, Gatorade, Ray-O-Vac batteries, Warner Brothers, and Hanes underwear. His association with Hanes is now in its tenth year and the company is very pleased with the results of Jordan’s endorsement (Hanes Press Release, 2002).
Jordan primarily endorses Hanes underwear, briefs and boxers. Promoting products that people are sensitive about requires a sense of maturity and respectability in the advertisements. The ads with Jordan are tasteful with a sense of humor. One of the reasons for the successful use of Michael Jordan for Hanes underwear is because many people admire his winning records, athletic abilities, personal class, and untarnished respectability. In essence, Jordan is a great endorser because of the high esteem that a wide audience of people have for him (Hanes: Locker Room).
DIFFERENTIATION–STEVEN FOR DELL COMPUTER
In the market for personal computers, the amount of firms has shrunk, but the competition is still fierce. Most firms use low-key advertising that emphasizes the complex features of their products and very little celebrity endorsement. Computers are a technical product with very similar features. As the price of computers comes down, the target market grows and becomes less tech savvy. The less knowledgeable buyer does not know the difference between one computer brand and the next.
Dell Computer, the largest of the remaining PC firms, launched an advertising campaign in early 2001 featuring an unknown actor playing a fictional Austin “slacker” called Steven or the Dell Dude. The television and print ads have been a success as 11 different commercials have been made. Also, the actor that plays Steven has become famous and has appeared on various talk shows and news programs (Dell: Steven’s Site).
Dell has created their own celebrity and molded him to fit their specifications. Apparently, they are aiming at a younger market. Perhaps they are using the same strategy as Pepsi, developing loyal buyers at a young age. Dell has saved money by not contracting with a big name celebrity and has differentiated themselves from rivals Gateway and Compaq with a unique spokesman.
DECORUM–MARTHA STEWART FOR K-MART
In Martha Stewart’s commercials, she is endorsing not only K-Mart, but also her own company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia’s products. For years, Martha Stewart has been the model of success and proper living. Her company is largely an embodiment of herself. Her name is attached to every product her company produces from magazines to television programs to cut flowers to a wide variety of household items for sale at K-Mart. Martha Stewart, in the perception of the public, is the company (Martha Stewart Omnimedia). She is also the celebrity endorser.
As an endorser for Martha Stewart Everyday brand housewares and bed sheets, Stewart satisfied all of the criteria for a good celebrity spokesperson. She is very familiar to many household buyers. She has strong credibility and expertise in decorating and domestic organization. She is well thought of by those who watch her on television and read her magazines. She is unique in what she does and her products stand out over other brands of housewares (Walker, 2001).
By these measures, Martha Stewart is the perfect celebrity endorser for Martha Stewart products sold at K-Mart. However, with a scandal unfolding implicating her to insider trading and a connection to an indicted executive, Stewart’s image as a virtuous businesswoman and public figure has been marred. The company is losing value as its spokesperson is losing her reputation. Despite her many positive characteristics, it is becoming clear that because of her decorum, Martha Stewart is no longer the best choice for K-Mart, and possibly Martha Stewart Omnimedia, as a celebrity endorser.
Utilizing famous personalities can be an effective method of promoting products. When considering the choice of which celebrity to use as a spokesperson, management must understand the advantages and disadvantages of using celebrity endorsers. If the choice is successful, the celebrity endorser will capture a viewer’s attention from the clutter of daily advertising, increase the public’s awareness of the product, and ultimately influence consumers to purchase the product. However, if the celebrity is carelessly chosen, the results can be costly and damaging. Associating with a famous person requires the assumption of the risks of poor image, irrational behavior, and questionable credibility of the spokesperson used. Marketing research has found several models to aid the marketing manager in evaluating celebrities as potential endorsers. FREDD, developed by the Young and Rubicam agency, is a helpful tool for assessing the best characteristics of a celebrity as a potential product endorser. Understanding and being able to assess the familiarity, relevance, esteem, differentiation, and decorum of a famous individual in relation to the product being sold is vital to a successful advertising campaign.
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Robert A. Swerdlow, Lamar University Marleen R. Swerdlow, Lamar University
The person should be easy to recognize and
Familiarity inoffensive to the target market.
Relevance The person should “fit” the product in the
perceptions of the target market.
Esteem The person should have value within the target
audience. This is usually accomplished by success,
winning, or heroism.
Differentiation The person should be distinct enough from other
advertising to catch the eye of the target market.
Decorum The person’s past behavior should indicate that
he/she would be an ongoing asset to the product
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