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The effects of negative information transference in the celebrity endorsement relationship

Darin W. White (McAfee School of Business Administration, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee, USA)
Lucretia Goddard (McAfee School of Business Administration, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee, USA)
Nick Wilbur (McAfee School of Business Administration, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee, USA)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 27 March 2009

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test empirically the impact of negative information about a celebrity spokesperson on consumers' perceptions of the endorsed brand. In addition, it is the first study to examine the reverse relationship: the impact of negative information about the brand on the celebrity endorser.

Design/methodology/approach

A two‐group, post‐test‐only, randomized experimental design was utilized to test the hypotheses. Data were collected by a survey of 247 college students.

Findings

The results of an experiment indicate that when respondents are exposed to negative information about a celebrity endorser, a negative transference of affect in the endorsement relationship will occur. However, when the situation is reversed and the respondents are exposed to negative information about the brand, the transference of affect is mitigated.

Research limitations/implications

The present study provides a starting‐point for further research on negative information transference in the celebrity endorsement relationship.

Practical implications

It is crucial that retailers be aware of the risks associated with using celebrities to endorse their stores and products. Given that these results provide tentative support for the commonly held belief that a decline in the celebrity's image can impact the image of the brand, it is important that retailers carefully choose an endorser who currently has a good image and will likely be able to uphold this image in the future.

Originality/value

The paper introduces and empirically examines one explanation of how negative information may impact the celebrity advertising process.

Keywords

Citation

White, D.W., Goddard, L. and Wilbur, N. (2009), "The effects of negative information transference in the celebrity endorsement relationship", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 322-335. https://doi.org/10.1108/09590550910948556

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited