The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the Generation Y segment in Australia perceive athletes as role models, and if so, do they engage in positive word‐of‐mouth (POWM) recommendation behaviour. This paper also explores the influence of gender and English language enculturation on PWOM recommendation behaviours of Generation Y.
Interviewer administered questionnaires were conducted on members of Generation Y in Melbourne, Australia. A series of correlation and OLS regression analyses were performed on a sample of 221 Generation Y consumers.
This study found that Generation Y generally perceives athletes as role models and this influenced the Generation Y segment to engage in POWM recommendation behaviours for products/services/brands endorsed by the athlete role model. The results indicate that gender does not play a significant role in this process. However non‐English language enculturated members of Generation Y were found to be more likely to engage in POWM recommendation behaviours for endorsed products/services/brands.
Athlete endorsement strategies are expected to be effective in reaching and communicating with the lucrative Generation Y population. As a result, firms and marketing practitioners should strongly consider utilising favourite athletes of Generation Y to endorse products/services/brands to this consumer segment.
Past studies suggest that gender is a common differentiator in Generation Y's willingness to engage in POWM recommendation behaviour about endorsed products/services/brands by their favourite athlete. This study suggests that English language enculturation may be more effective in differentiating such behaviour, particularly in an Australian context.
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