September 28, 2018
15:00 - 17:00
Doyens 22, LLN
Research Seminar by Prof. Matthew THOMSON, Ivey Business School, Western University (Canada)
Title: Exploring the Theoretical Foundations and Boundary Conditions of a Fictional Phenomenon: How Character Endorsements Deliver Flexibility and Mitigate the Effect of Celebrity Scandal
Abstract: Celebrity endorsements are an established tactic but marketers have added a twist: endorsements featuring not the actors as themselves but rather as the characters they play in film or television. Little is known about this phenomenon’s theoretical basis and boundary effects. In five experiments, the authors investigate these so-called ‘character endorsements’. Study 1 shows that the tactic is largely explained by greater certainty of meaning – the degree to which consumers feel they can predict the endorser’s future thoughts, feelings and behaviors – in conjunction with other variables that are well known to influence endorsement success (fit, liking, trust and consumer-endorser relationships). Study 2 provides a conceptual replication while manipulating fit. The authors also begin to sketch the effective domain of the construct by showing that character endorsers associated with more typecast actors may be superior (Study 3), by offering evidence that villainous characters may be unexpectedly effective (Study 4), and by demonstrating that characters help insulate against the pitfalls of celebrity scandal (Study 5).