The use of sport celebrities for product endorsements in marketing communications vehicles is not new but there is limited literature on the increasing use by contemporary corporations of athletes with questionable or “negative” reputations. This paper raises questions about a seemingly cyclical trend and suggests marketers may continue this activity despite consumer and journalistic criticism. An explanation of the behavioral response to a 'controversial' endorsers' image (relative to the perceptions held by a particular demographic segment) and the opportunity for that relationship to translate favorably for the associated brand, is also discussed.
Burton, R., John Farrelly, F. and Quester, P.G. (2001), "Exploring the Curious Demand for Athletes With Controversial Images: A Review of Anti-Hero Product Endorsement Advertising", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 2 No. 4, pp. 44-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-02-04-2001-B005
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