Current Issue Summary
Sept 2021 (Vol. 61, Issue 3)
Evaluating the Advertising Effectiveness of Noncelebrity Endorsers: Advantages of Customer vs. Employee Endorsers and Mediating Factors of Their Impact
With storytelling such an integral part of advertising, the credibility of the storytellers themselves is a powerful performance driver. Scholars over the years have affirmed the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements in messaging. That may work well for big, established brands, but for many smaller companies, the cost of hiring well-known spokespeople to promote their brands is prohibitive. So, how should they manage using noncelebrity endorsers to create these vital connections to consumers?
In this study, Jan-Frederik Gräve and Carolin Haiduk (both at University of Hamburg) and Oliver Schnittka (University of Southern Denmark) examine two types of noncelebrity endorsers: customers of the company delivering the advertising, and employees of the product or service being promoted. They compare the strength of such endorsements to the performance of ads that carried no endorsements. Their key metrics included the effects of advertisement empathy, as well as inference of manipulative intent (IMI). “In a sense,” the authors write, “IMIs indicate the perceived fairness of an advertisement, as consumers react suspiciously to and resist very manipulative persuasion attempts.”
Gräve, Haiduk and Schnittka found that noncelebrity endorsers may have a positive effect on advertising effectiveness, but caution: “Managers primarily should work to diminish perceived IMIs when selecting noncelebrity endorsers for their brands while also benefitting from increased advertising empathy.” Moreover, they propose, “To mitigate perceptions of ulterior motives, the advertising designs should highlight endorsers in everyday situations, sharing their experiences in their own words instead of using scripted testimonials.”
- The ad effectiveness of noncelebrity endorsements depends on the risks associated with the product category advertised.
- Ads for “high social-risk” products (e.g., eyeglasses, clothing and cosmetics) should make use of customer endorsers rather than using employees.
- Ads that promote “high physical risk” goods or services (e.g., car repair) should use employee endorsers rather than customers, to maximize advertising effectiveness.
Read the full article here.