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Two-Sided Versus One-Sided Celebrity Endorsements: The Impact on Advertising Effectiveness and Credibility
This study examines celebrity endorsements in advertising using a two-sided framework, in terms of the internalization and identification processes of social influence as discussed by Kelman (1961). The two-sided execution was designed to increase a viewer's perception of advertiser credibility by including a discussion of a limitation of the advertised service. Results show that when compared to a traditional one-sided celebrity endorsement, the two-sided communication elicited significantly higher advertising credibility and effectiveness ratings, higher evaluation of the sponsor in terms of perceived overall quality of service, as well as a significantly greater intention to use the advertised service. These findings suggest that the use of a celebrity appeal in a two-sided form is an effective advertising strategy. Advertisers regularly pursue strategies designed to attract attention to their communication and to distinguish their product from competing products with the hope of influencing purchase. In an ever-competitive world, a premium is placed on an approach which can achieve these objectives. One attempt at such a strategy involves the use of a celebrity spokesperson. According to Atkin and Block (1983), there are several reasons why a well-known endorser may be influential. First, such a spokesperson attracts attention to the advertisement in the cluttered stream of messages. In addition, celebrities are traditionally viewed as being highly dynamic individuals with attractive and likeable qualities. Their credibility and believability, however, remain in question.
The use of celebrity spokespeople has been on the rise (Advertising Age 1978). A 1975 Gallup and Robinson study (reported by Forkan 1975) estimated that 15 percent of prime time television commercials featured celebrities. By 1978, the number was reported to be over 20 percent. According to a recent report, individuals in the advertising field were said to agree that celebrities are being sought out to endorse products as never before (Sherman 1985). Given this increase in use, research on celebrity endorsements becomes increasingly important to advertisers. This is especially true since past empirical research has shown celebrities to be well liked and oftentimes attractive, though not always credible and effective spokespeople (Atkin and Block 1983; Freiden 1984; Friedman, Termini and Washington 1977).
This research examines celebrity endorsements that utilize a two-sided format in which the celebrity spokesperson makes both positive and negative statements regarding the advertised product. This format is designed to enhance both celebrity effectiveness and overall advertising effectiveness by increasing perceived credibility. This two-sided format is compared to the more traditional one-sided format where only positive claims are made about the product by a celebrity.
A celebrity is defined as "an individual who is known to the public (i.e., actor, sports figure, entertainer, etc.) for his or her achievements in areas other than that of the product class endorsed" (cf., Friedman and Friedman 1979). Although previous studies have found these individuals to be likeable and/or attractive, these favorable perceptions have not consistently carried over to enhance measures of believability and purchase intention.
Friedman and Friedman (1979) found empirical evidence that, in the promotion of products high in psychological and/or social risk, use of a celebrity endorser would lead to greater believability, a more favorable evaluation of the product and advertisement, and a significantly more positive purchase intention than advertisements using an "expert" or "typical consumer" endorser. Such effects were absent when celebrity advertising was used in conjunction with a product high in financial, performance and/or physical risk (i.e., a vacuum cleaner). In general however, celebrity endorsers were found to be attractive and likeable.
Similarly, Freiden (1984) found that a celebrity advertisement for a television set (a product high in financial and performance risk) generated higher mean values for the likeability of the spokesperson as compared to ads featuring an expert, typical consumer or CEO. Measures …