Marie Frances Villamor
November 18, 2015
ENG 110 Race and Gender in Celebrity Culture
The Importance of Celebrity Endorsement on Consumption
As you turn on the TV, you immediately see a commercial. The commercial shows Kim Kardashian getting in a luxurious mansion. She then goes up to her room in which she changes into a expensive looking dress seductively, and puts on perfume. At the very end of the commercial you finally get to see what exactly the commercial was trying to advertise, which was Kim Kardashian’s very own fragrance called, “True Reflection”. My question here, is, does the commercial make you want to buy the product or not? I want to know how celebrity endorsement, like the Kim Kardashian commercial, influence the behavior of consumers while consuming materialistic products, and in general how does it affect one’s life. Not only do I want to focus consumer behavior in America, but in other nations as well; specifically South Korea. My stance here would be, celebrity endorsement does affect the overall behavior of buying materialistic products and the lives of people.
Before we get into the topic why I believe celebrity endorsement really does influence the behavior of people consuming materialistic products, I first want to clarify what exactly celebrity endorsement is, and what is consumer behavior for those who don’t know. In one of the articles I read, which was titled Celebrity Endorsement was one of Nowadays Major Ways to Influence Consumer Buying Behavior, it defined celebrity endorsement as “a type of a brand promotion where a famous person is used in the marketing campaign to advertise the product or service by using his or her fame and place in society” (Keller, K.L. 2012). The article also defined consumer behavior as “a study of people’s buying preferences and motivations for purchase” (Simon, H.A. 2005) (Poghosyan, 31). So whenever people hear celebrity endorsement they immediately picture either a random celebrity, or one of their favorite celebrities modeling a brand that they have either seen on TV or a magazine. Also, when it comes to celebrity endorsement, celebrities tend to advertise more on necessities or materialistic things such as clothes, perfume, bags, facial care products, and etc.
Furthermore, one of the explanations that I encountered as to why celebrity endorsement has such an impact on consumers while buying things was because they had a “desire to feel as prestigious and famous as their idols” (Poghosyan, 35). In fact, sometimes “consumers buy or intend to buy the products promoted by their favorite celebrity even if they do not have an actual need of the particular item. They feel comfortable and positive while purchasing prestigious and quality products” (Poghosyan, 34). By doing so consumers feel more connected, and relatable with their favorite celebrities. Also, if you look at it in a different perspective, it is an easier way for people to change their class. When consumers buy the things celebrities endorse, or own, they feel as if they are in the same class and page as them because they are able to possess and afford what celebrities have. Another reason I encountered was, consumers want to fit into something they believe is “right”. They want to wear the “right” clothes, drink the “right” beverages and use the “right” fragrances (Khatri, 25). To put it in another way, consumers follow what the majority of society finds as acceptable or appropriate fashion and style.
Following this, it is the same case when it comes to people consuming korean products. The Korean wave which has “become the general term that describes the boom of interest in South Korean products such as, cosmetics, fashion goods, and electronics” (Ko, 2), has had a great impact on the behavior of consumers. It is especially popular among teenagers, “who appreciate South Korean popular culture, such as TV drama, music, and games, and who embrace several aspects of Korea, including its culture, products, and people” (Mariani, 2). Again, by consuming the things we see being endorsed by celebrities, we feel a lot more closer to them. This also shows the changes to one’s behavior and life when one “cultural group adopts the beliefs and behaviors of another group” (Class, Castro, Ramirez, 5). Celebrity endorsement has such a big impact on consumers that it completely changes their preferences and lifestyle. Also, from my experience being a fan of South Korean popular culture too, through celebrity endorsement one becomes savvy. Savvy in a way that it makes fans of those celebrities want to know their language and culture so they can better understand the celebrity, and even the things that are associated with the celebrity. In other words, “cultural impact is the largest factor in influencing consumer behavior, not only in material matters (food, clothes, etc.) but also involving abstract elements (value, behavior, etc.)” (Lita, Cho, 9).
In addition, the Kardashian family is a great example of a group of individuals who greatly influence the behavior of consumers. As said by Amanda Scheiner McClain, in the novel Keeping Up the Kardashian Brand: Celebrity, Materialism, and Sexuality, “The Kardashian family is an exemplar of this entertainment, advertising, and consumerism confluence on a multimodal scale, utilizing television, social media, and journalism to create and sustain celebrity” (McClain, 7). Most of what the Kardashian family endorses deals with fashion. They have endorsed products like Sketches, their very own clothing line called Kardashian Kollection, perfume, jewelry, and etc (McClain, 17-18). And most of what the Kardashians endorses are mainly targeted to younger audiences (McClain, 18), which is a great technique when it comes to making great profit.
Moreover, I will now focus on how and what are the components that make a celebrity endorsement effective to change the behavior of the public. First, it is essential that the endorsee, the person who is endorsing a product, to be attractive as it brings “positive attention and pleasant impressions about the brand” (Ghoshal, L.G., 33). Second, those who create the advertisements “work hard on the image and appearance of the celebrities in their ads so they always look perfect and inspiring which attracts consumers’ attention (Poghosyan, 36). Celebrity endorsements which has these two things, appealingness and attractiveness, “ become memorable and a part of the actual promoted product which eventually leads or to the purchasing the product, or at least provide awareness among potential consumers” (Poghosyan, 36). To put it in another way, the celebrity who advertised the product will always be associated to the product for consumers because they only encountered the product through them, or they just simply left a big impact that the only person who they can relate the product to is the celebrity. Take for example, Kim Kardashian’s endorsement of Skechers Shape-Ups, she looks well built, sexy, and beautiful which is eye catching. You hardly see ads, dealing with fashion, show any imperfections; everything looks on point. And another component to the success of celebrity endorsement is social networking sites as well as the media. Social networking sites and the media are most important to celebrity endorsements coming from different countries. Through media and social networking sites, consumers are able to be exposed to products outside their country.
However, there are negative aspects to celebrity endorsement. To begin with, consumers might only focus on the celebrity endorsing the product, but not the product itself (Grace Phang, E.C. 2012). Consumers might miss the fact that certain products; for example, are only meant for certain individuals, or there will be side-effects when consuming this products, and etc. And at some point people will come to a realization that with this type of advertising, celebrity endorsement, disables them from consuming what they actually want. They will come to realization that there is no more uniqueness and individuality when it comes to consumption.
In fact, celebrity endorsement greatly affects younger audiences negatively. “Children who compare themselves to celebrities develop greater desire for money and material possessions than children who do not compare themselves to celebrities” (Chia and Poo, 2009). Also, “children feel that their relationships with celebrities are quite real, in the sense that children view them as actual interpersonal relationships, even though they are vicarious and nonreciprocal” (Chia & Poo, 2009). In other words, celebrity endorsement brings a child to a world in which the child shouldn’t be yet. It matures them to quickly, and it is bad influence as it promotes materialistic things in life at such a young age.
In conclusion, what I got out of this research celebrity endorsement has both positive and negative aspects when it comes to having an effect on an individual’s behavior of consuming goods. They can either benefit by learning new things, and feeling a lot closer to one’s celebrity, or one can hurt themselves by completely ignoring what exactly the product is because one’s attention is only at the celebrity, and it can make one individual mature quickly. But, indeed, celebrity endorsement is very influential when it comes to people consuming materialistic things as we see these ads in our daily lives, and every where.
McClain, Amanda Scheiner, Keeping Up the Kardashian Brand: Celebrity, Materialism, and Sexuality. New York: Lexington Books, 2014
Poghosyan, Anna. "Celebrity endorsement as one of nowadyas major ways to influence consumer buying behaviour." European Scientific Journal 11 (2015): S30+. Academic OneFile. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
Lita Rahmiati. and Cho, Yoon C. “The Influence Of Media On Attitudinal and Behavioral Changes: Acceptance Of Culture And Products.” International Business & Economics Research Journal (2012): 1433-44.
Keel, A. and Nataraajan, R. (2012), Celebrity Endorsements and Beyond: New Avenues for Celebrity Branding. Psychol. Mark., 29: 690–703. doi: 10.1002/mar.20555
Khatri, Puja. "Celebrity Endorsement : A Strategic Promotion Perspective." Indian Media Studies Journal Vol. 1 (2006): 26-37. Print.