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Promoting authenticity through celebrity brands

Amanda Kennedy (University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia)
Stacey M. Baxter (University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Alicia Kulczynski (University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 24 March 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021




This paper aims to examine the importance of celebrity brands in influencing consumer perceptions of celebrity authenticity, which drives positive consumer attitudes and intentions. In addition, the notion of low-celebrity investment is investigated as a factor that diminishes the positive outcomes associated with celebrity brands.


Study 1 examines the effect of brand situation (endorsement versus celebrity brand) on consumer attitudes and intentions. Studies 2 and 3 investigate the role of celebrity authenticity in explaining the effects observed in Study 1. Study 4 examines celebrity investment as a bound of the phenomenon.


Study 1 demonstrates that consumers report heightened attitudes and intentions towards celebrity brands when compared to endorsements. Studies 2 and 3 provide evidence that authenticity explains the effects observed in Study 1. Results of Study 4 show that when consumers are aware of low-celebrity investment, the celebrity is viewed as inauthentic regardless of brand situation.

Research limitations/implications

This research is limited as it focuses only on known celebrity endorsers who were matched with products that had a high level of fit. In addition, purchase intentions were measured as opposed to the study of actual purchase behaviour.

Practical implications

This research has important implications for the development of endorsements and celebrity brands by demonstrating that consumers view celebrities as authentic when they are involved with brands for reasons other than monetary compensation.


This research shows that consumers have heightened attitudes and intentions towards celebrity brands compared to endorsements. This research identifies celebrity authenticity as the process underlying the observed phenomenon. However, celebrity investment is identified as a boundary condition demonstrating that knowledge of low investment results in a celebrity being viewed as inauthentic.



The authors would like to thank the University of Newcastle for providing the funding for this research.


Kennedy, A., Baxter, S.M. and Kulczynski, A. (2021), "Promoting authenticity through celebrity brands", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 55 No. 7, pp. 2072-2099.



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