The purpose of this paper is to investigate the dominance of athlete endorser characteristics (i.e. moral character vs warmth) on athlete endorser perception and the influence of tarnished athlete endorsers (i.e. immoral character vs coldness) on brand evaluations from the perspectives of perceiver characteristics, including dispositional tendency, innate moral intuitions, and self-location (SL).
This research consists of three experimental studies with 135, 72, and 91 participants, respectively. Study 1 compared the dominance of moral character and warmth on athlete endorser perception. Study 2 examined the impact of perceiver characteristics on the cause-and-effect relationship between tarnished athlete endorsers (i.e. immoral character vs coldness) and brand evaluations. Study 3 investigated the cross-cultural generalizability of the US-based research findings in Study 2 for Indians.
Moral character is more influential than warmth on athlete endorser evaluations. Tarnished athlete endorsers with immoral character exert more negative influence than tarnished athlete endorsers with coldness characteristic on brand evaluations. Except for dispositional tendency, innate moral intuitions and SL moderate brand evaluations. Endorser and perceiver characteristics yield asymmetric patterns of influence on Americans’ and Indians’ brand evaluations.
Future research is needed to verify the causal effects of thinking styles on the relationship between tarnished athlete endorsers and brand evaluations.
The determination of endorsement continuity has to jointly consider the characteristics of endorsers, perceivers, and cultures.
This research contributes to the endorsement research by advancing the research scopes of athlete endorser, perceiver, and culture characteristics.
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