Celebrity endorsement is common in the marketing communications context, especially in the Asian market. Thanks to the popularity of online DIY celebrities, many marketing communications practitioners have started to involve such celebrities in brand and product endorsement strategies. However, few existing studies have compared the endorsement persuasiveness of online DIY celebrity endorsers with traditional celebrity endorsers, particularly in the Asian market. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to fill the literature gap by examining how consumers perceive and evaluate online DIY and traditional celebrity endorsers.
In-depth personal interviews were conducted with 15 interviewees with a median age of 23. They were asked to report their overall evaluations and attitudes toward online DIY celebrity endorsers and traditional celebrity endorsers, and their respective endorsement strategies.
Although the popularity of online DIY celebrities is growing in China, they received a lower level of appreciation from interviewees than traditional celebrities. The persuasiveness of online DIY celebrity endorsers was not as effective as that of traditional celebrity endorsers. Interviewees even held an overall negative attitude toward online DIY celebrities and their endorsements. Interviewees perceived traditional celebrity endorsers more positively, and their endorsements to be more effective, than online DIY celebrity endorsers.
The small sample size may constrain any generalization to be drawn from the findings. Future studies are suggested using survey and experiment methodology to further test and compare the persuasiveness of online DIY and traditional celebrity endorsement.
We suggest communications practitioners continue to use traditional celebrities to improve overall brand image and enhance the target audience’s purchase intention as the exploratory study reveals that audiences have an overall positive experience with traditional celebrities, instead of online DIY celebrities. If online DIY celebrities are preferred in communications strategies, we suggest practitioners carefully select qualified online DIY celebrity endorsers based on image congruence between such online DIY celebrities and the product category in that audiences in the exploratory study are quite cautious when exposed to product endorsement messages from online DIY celebrities. Besides this, audiences have more confidence in product endorsement if there is a fit between online DIY celebrities’ expertise and the endorsed product type.
This is the first qualitative study on consumers’ perception of product endorsement at the level of online DIY and traditional celebrity endorsers.
Fan, F. (2021), "Exploratory study about audience response to product endorsements by online DIY celebrities and traditional celebrities", Young Consumers, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 169-184. https://doi.org/10.1108/YC-10-2020-1224
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited