Celebrity Endorsement And Brand Promotion

Dr. Mansi Khanna*

In a market where advertising plays a vital role in coordinating consumer purchasing behavior, it becomes pertinent for companies to employ all possible measures through an effective advertising campaign to influence, motivate and inculcate a desire in the consumer to purchase. Theory and practice proves that the use of superstars in advertising generates a lot of publicity and attention. The billions of dollars spent every year on celebrity endorsement contracts show that celebrities, like Liz Hurley, Britney Spears and Tiger Woods, play an important role for the advertising industry. Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting have signed contracts worth millions with sportswear manufacturer Reebok International Inc. The underlying question is, how the lively interest of the public in ‘the rich and famous’ can be effectively used by companies to promote their brands and consequently increase revenues. This paper will examine the relationship between celebrity endorsements and brands by applying a selection of widely accepted principles of how consumers’ brand attitudes and preferences can be positively influenced. It uses the concepts of source credibility and attractiveness, the match-up hypothesis, the meaning transfer model and the principles of multiple product and celebrity endorsement.


Celebrities are people who enjoy public recognition by a large share of a certain group of people. They have attributes like attractiveness and extraordinary lifestyle, though specific common characteristics cannot be observed. But it can be said that within a corresponding social group celebrities generally differ in social norms and enjoy a high degree of public awareness (Schlecht, 2003). (Anonymous, Business Standard, Dec, 2003). This is true of classic forms of celebrities actors like Sharukh Khan and Amitabh Bachhan, models like John Abraham, Malaika Arora and Diya Mirza, sportspersons like Sachin Tendulkar and Sania Mirza, media persons like Barkha Dutt and Shekhar Suman, and pop stars like Mika and Diler Mehndi. Also, this category includes the less obvious groups like businessman Dhirubhai Ambani and politician like Laloo Prasad Yadav. Besides, there are fictional celebrities like Ronald McDonald. According to Friedman and Friedman, “a celebrity endorser is an individual who is known by the public for his or her achievements in areas other than that of the product class endorsed.” The cosmetics manufacturer Elizabeth Arden, for example, uses the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones to endorse its perfume. The reason for using celebrities as spokespersons is their huge potential influence. Compared to other endorser types, famous people achieve a higher degree of attention and recall. They increase awareness of a company’s advertising, create positive feelings towards brands and are perceived by consumers as more likeable. Using a celebrity in advertising is therefore likely to positively affect consumers’ brand attitudes and purchase intentions.


A celebrity is used to impart credibility and values to a brand, but the celebrity needs to match the product. A good brand campaign idea and an intrinsic link between the celebrity and the message is a must for a successful campaign. Celebrities are no doubt good at generating attention recall and positive attitudes provided they are supporting a good idea and there is an explicit connect between them and the brand. On the other hand, they are rendered useless without the actual efficiency of the core product which affects the actual sales.

Parameters that postulate compatibility between the celebrity and brand image are:

  • Celebrity connect with the brand image
  • Celebrity-Target audience match
  • Celebrity associated values
  • Cost of acquiring the celebrity
  • Celebrity-Product match
  • Celebrity controversy risk
  • Celebrity popularity.
  • Celebrity availability
  • Celebrity physical attractiveness
  • Celebrity credibility
  • Celebrity prior endorsements
  • Whether celebrity is a brand user
  • Celebrity profession

Multiple Celebrity Endorsement

Celebrities are considered role models for the people. For this reason alone companies hire them for the promotion of one or more brands.

Sachin TendulkarPepsi, Adidas, Britannia, ESPN
Amitab BachanKBC, Boroplus, Dabur, Nerolac
Aamir KhanTitan, Samsung, Coke
Shah Rukh KhanSantro, Airtel, Videocon
Preity ZintaSantro, Godrej, Cadbury, TVS
Salman KhanBig Boss, Detergent

Going through various advertisements in the print and electronic media, one will realize that either some celebrities are endorsing several brands or a specific brand is endorsed by different spokespersons. These concepts are called multiple brand endorsement and multiple celebrity endorsement respectively. Some spokespersons are “shared” by different advertising firms, i.e. they are promoting more than one brand. There are many questions which need attention in the present brand-centric market, like does this special form of celebrity endorsement affect consumers’ brand attitudes, especially in the Indian market where the people might consider celebrity as god?

established businesses with the opening of the Indian economy (Malhotra, 2005). The expectations and demands of the consumers are continuously rising in today’s dynamic and competitive environment, forcing marketers to adopt more creative advertising efforts such as celebrity endorsements to influence consumer brand choice and behavior. Hence, there was this novelty of the celebrity brand endorsement which has proliferated to become a multi-million dollar industry in India today.(Malhotra, 2005). Furthermore, the celebrities in India live a very public life; hence several aspects of their lives are exposed to the public such as where they shop, where they holiday, their favorite food and so on, and thus they receive extensive coverage in the media. The best example to support this argument is the South Indian actor Rajnikanth who has temples dedicated to him. However, a few of the brands have, no doubt, been established without celebrity endorsement. Procter & Gamble promoted its ‘Rejoice’ brand in India with an ordinary woman in their advertising which worked well. They do not believe in celebrity endorsement and think that consumers, especially housewives, are more prone to identify with a lay person than a celebrity. A few more examples that can be given are Lifebuoy, Close Up, Fevicol etc. But the great potential for celebrity endorsement in India is to be seen as truly relevant. It induces the consumer to purchase the product. The star power in India can be identified by the successful endorsements done by Shah Rukh Khan for three brands namely Santro, Clinic All Clear and Pepsi.

Finally, it must be accepted that celebrities play a very important role in brand promotion, especially in countries like India where it is well known that people are much more interested in the life style of celebrities. The literature review has discussed concepts regarding the basics of celebrity endorsement, and its effectiveness as a reference group. Celebrities were reviewed in order to examine the extent of their influence on the consumer perception of endorsed products. It was important to highlight the studies on celebrity endorsement as it serves as a symbol of social distinction in achieving prestige and status, especially in a country like India where high income disparities and social mobility magnify the tendency to claim differential status through the brand one consumes. Despite the obvious economic advantage of using relatively unknown personalities as endorsers in advertising campaigns, the choice of celebrities to fulfill that role has become a common practice for brands competing in today’s cluttered media environment. There are several reasons for such extensive use of celebrities. Because of their high profile, celebrities may help advertisements stand out from the surrounding clutter, thus improving their communicative ability. Celebrities may also generate extensive PR leverage for brands. A brief assessment of the current market situation indicates that celebrity endorsement advertising strategies can, under the right circumstances, indeed justify the high costs associated with this form of advertising. Another reason for choosing celebrity endorsement is that consumers in the country really have high regards for the celebrities. Thus, this would endorse this study on the Indian consumer perception of celebrity endorsements as little research has been done on it.


  1. Goldsmith, Lafferty and Newell (2000), “The Impact of Corporate Credibility and Celebrity Credibility on Consumer Reaction to Advertisements and Brands”, Journal of Advertising, Volume XXIX, number 3, 43-54.
  2. L. K. Marhur, I. Mathur and N. Rangan (1997) June, “The Wealth Effects Associated with a Celebrity Endorser: The Michael Jordan Phenomena”, Journal of Advertising Research,
  3. Ohanian, Roobina (1991), “The Impact of Celebrity spokespersons” Perceived Image on Consumers’ Intention to purchase, “Journal of advertising Research, 31(1), 46-53.
  4. Daneshvary, Rennal and R.Keith Schwer (2000) “The Association endorsement and Consumers Intention to purchase,” Journal of Consumer Marketing, 17(3), 203- 213.
  5. Clark, Robert C. and Horstman, Ignatius J. (2003) Celebrity Endorsents (www.bu.edu/e.con/seminar/micro/pdffav) celebendorse.bu.pdf “Is celebrity advertising effective Business Standards” Dec 05, 2003
  6. (Christina, Schlecht) New York Jun 17,2003 http://www.global brands.org/research/working/celebrity-brarely.pdf

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