Evaluating New Zealand sports stars as celebrity endorsers : intriguing results
Garland, Ron and Ferkins, Lesley 2003, Evaluating New Zealand sports stars as celebrity endorsers : intriguing results, in ANZMAC 2003 : a celebrations of Ehrenberg and Bass : marketing discoveries, knowledge and contribution, conference proceedings, University of South Australia, Adelaide, S. A., pp. 122-129.
Celebrity athlete endorsement of products and services has become prominent in the promotional mixes of New Zealand companies and organisations. For years advertisers and researchers have pondered how successful celebrity athlete endorsement really works. Most suggest some form of transfer of positive images takes place between celebrity and the product or service they are endorsing and source-credibility models have become the preferred research design. The overall objective of this research was to assist sport marketing managers and their advertising agencies in matching celebrities with products and services. An ancillary objective was to compare results obtained from multiple-item and single-item scales. An exploratory study with tertiary students was conducted, using both Ohanian’s (1990) 15 item source-credibility scale and two single-item measures to examine potential “endorsement fit” for four New Zealand sporting heroes. They were Bernice Mene (recently retired national netball team captain), Dean Barker (America’s Cup yachting defender’s helmsman), Mandy Smith (recently retired national women’s hockey team star) and Justin Marshall (All Black rugby’s most capped halfback), all of whom were adjudged by students as physically attractive sports stars. The product reported here against which these athletes were scored was an isotonic sports drink. Results were mixed; the Ohanian source-credibility scale yielded selection of different celebrity athletes to the single-item measures. The research results show that matching celebrities to products for potential endorsement opportunities is a complex issue, leaving scope for judgement and intuition alongside quantification. Still unresolved is the question of multiple-item measures versus single-item measures in advertising and service research.
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