Celebrity Endorsement on Consumer Behaviour: an Adidas Case Study

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Research into the world of celebrity advertising sprang from the modern day phenomena of celebrity culture and the total incomprehension of its extent until I became a victim to celebrity endorsement without realisation of the occurrence. My purchase of a certain cosmetic item that’s allegedly worn by a Kim Kardashian triggered the idea of research into the world of celebrity advertising and its impacts upon consumer attitudes and spending.

Within a congested media environment where advertisers are faced by an increasing challenge of attracting consumer attention, celebrities seem to be the medium that possess have the ability to breakthrough this media clutter and hold viewers’ attention. (Dix, Phau, Pougnet, 2010). Hsu and McDonald (2002) also state that 70 per cent of Japanese commercials are celebrity endorsed, in addition, celebrity advertising increased from 15 to 25 per cent of total advertising in the United States between 1979 and 1997 alone. Hsu and McDonald, 2002). Adidas defines itself as the performance brand and the multi-sport specialists (Adidas, 2011) However, according to Pringle 2004, the brands celebrity marketing history began as early as 1986, when they saw the major hip-hop stars Run DMC performing their song “My Adidas” on stage, in front of fans who immediately responded by holding up their own Adidas Shoes. The brand reacted immediately and signed the artists to a $1. 5 million sponsorship contract. (Pringle, 2004).

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According to Arnould, Price, Zinkhan 2002, Consumer behavior is defined as individuals or groups acquiring, using, and disposing of products, services, ideas or experience, also including the acquisition and use of information. Consumer culture refers to an organized social and economic arrangement in which marketers govern the relationship between meaningful ways of life and the symbolic and material resources on which they depend meaning refers to the value in use to the consumer. Arnould, Price, Zinkhan, 2002) Arnould et al 2002 also state that cultural meaning are not only connected to the product through text but also through persona ads, such as celebrity endorsers, advertising effectiveness depends on the credibility, trustworthiness, expertise and likeability of the endorser, he further states, the endorser develops a meaningful persona as a result of their past social context interactions, here, the endorser infers meaning from the culturally created world, such as Harrison ford’s heroic persona or Julia Roberts’s romantic persona.

As a result, in the endorsement process the cultural meanings move from the celebrity to the product, in the form of; speech, contiguity, closeness and similarity. Arnould et al make a final point of a previous study conducted where researchers found that the meaning connected to previously unendorsed products such as towels and DVD players changed dramatically when they were linked to Madonna and Model Christine Brinkley, However, although the meanings remains similar regarding the products, they differed significantly between the two celebrity endorsers. Arnould, Price, Zinkhan, 2002). “it appears safe to say that celebrities owe some of their effectiveness as marketing devices to their credibility and attractiveness” “for the models purposes, as long as the credibility and attractiveness conditions are satisfied, any celebrity, should serve as a persuasive source for any advertising message” (McCracken, 1989).

The quote mentioned above was Grant McCracken’s foundation for the his 1989 models that were the first approaches to understand celebrity endorsement, which are still referred back to today although heavily criticized in the late 80’s and 90’s. The Meaning Movement and Endorsement Process by McCracken 1989, is illustrated as Exhibit A, within the Appendix This Attractiveness and credibility models seem to be adopted by adiddas; “credibility and visibility through partnerships and icon is an important tool to drive market share growth” mentioned as part of the 2010 Adidas strategy.

Temperley and Tangen 2006, mention that a celebrity endorser is moderately more effective for products high in psychological or social risk, involving elements such as good taste, self-image and opinion of others, compared to a “normal” spokesperson (Temperley, Tangen 2006) Multi-celebrity endorsement’s refers to use of two or more celebrities in an advertising campaign’s, according to the attribution theory mentioned the research conducted by (Hsu and McDonald, 2002) individuals identify causality to certain events on the basis of their own behavior or the behavior of others.

In the context of celebrity advertising, a consumer may ask whether an endorser recommends a product because the endorser actually believes in the positive attribution of the product(internal attribution) or just because their being paid to advertise (external attribution), in particular, consensus is one of the attribution factors which refers to the consumers perception of whether other individuals, including other endorsers, view the product similarly to the endorser, therefore, using multiple celebrity endorsers creates a consensus that helps advertisers positively affect consumer perception.

In addition to helping create a positive image within consumer perception, using multiple celebrities in advertising represents a diverse mix in gender, type and age, which in return widens the appeal to wider audiences. (Hsu and McDonald, 2002) (Adidas, 2011) Football, is adidas‘ most strategic priorities, Being the most popular sport worldwide, football is clearly one of adidas’ key strategic priorities. Building on its success around major sporting events such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the brand strives to ncrease its strong market position by continuously creating the industry’s top products and fully leveraging its outstanding portfolio of sports marketing partners, and individual players such as the adidas Golden Ball and Boot winners of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Diego Forlan and Thomas Muller, and also Lionel Messi, Kaka, Steven Gerard, David Beckham and Michael Ballack. (Adidas, 2011) 2010 was the most successful year in adidas Football history due to the undisputable 2010 fifa world cup where adidas sponsored the the winning team, Spain.

As a result, adidas football sales skyrocketed to an all time high, exceeding 15 billion euros. (Adidas, 2011) The 2011 marketing campaign showcases adidas’ distinctive presence across different sports, cultures and lifestyles fusing the worlds of sport, music and fashion. Captured in their natural, authentic surroundings, brand ambassadors from football stars Lionel Messi and David Beckham to NBA star Derrick Rose and pop icon Katy Perry to the adidas skateboarding team and many more show that “when you love your game, whatever the game, you put your all into it. (Adidas, 2011) ‘From the court to the catwalk, the stadium to the street, we are giving an authentic statement with credibility only adidas has. ‘ (Adidas, 2011) 4. 0RESEARCH QUESTION In what ways does celebrity endorsement impact consumer attitudes towards the adiddas organization? 5. 0RESEARCH OBJECTIVES ?To examine adiddas’ history with celebrity advertising. ?To identify consumer responses towards adiddas’ celebrity campaigns. ?To investigate/analyse the overall effectiveness of celebrity advertising to the adiddas brand. 5. 1METHODOLOGY: RESEARCH APPROACH

The research approach that has been undertaken for this project will be an inductive approach. For the purposes of this research, it is believed that triangulation would satisfy the research objectives in the most effective and robust method. The data will be gathered and explored to satisfy the research objectives and the results will be explained to highlight the causal relationship. (Saunders et al 2007)


The strategy of this research will be conducted as a case study, in order to get the most effective understanding of the context.

In addition, a case study is better to suited as a strategy for the multiple sources required for the empirical evidence required to satisfy the research objectives. (Saunders et al 2007) As stated in 5. 1, a mixed method approach will be undertaken. An exploratory method would be used to explore the gathered data and, the results will be analyzed for the explanatory method in order to illustrate the causal relationship of the question. (Saunders et al 2007) This research will include a combination of primary and secondary data.

Various secondary data will be explored and examined in order to gain insight of the relative data. A combination of Questionnaires and interviews will then be used to broaden the scope of influx of information in order to prove the causal relationship of the explanatory method. (Saunders et al 2007) The secondary data to be used for the purpose of this study will include, Adiddas marketing campaign reports, consumer behavior models for contrast and comparison ad well as various journals and books.


Due to the approach of this research being inductive, a qualitative approach to research will also be performed in order to help build the theory to explain the current phenomena. Qualitative research is the best mechanism that can be used to understand consumer attitudes as a result of celebrity advertising. A qualitative approach will also bring to light, the consumers decision making process involved in purchasing a celebrity endorsed product, to infer what pushes a consumer towards a celebrity endorsed product at that time. Saunders et al 2007) The qualitative data collection methods shall be undertaken under the following guidelines: 5. 3a Questionnaires As questionnaires are not to be used under the exploratory research strategy, the questionnaire questions are to be based on the explanatory approach framework, and they will be structured to derive answers that would help establish the causal relationship between consumer attitudes and celebrity endorsement required for the explanatory research. Questions such as: •Do you believe most celebrity endorsed products illustrate brand loyalty? I. e. would you buy the product again)? •Would you purchase an adiddas product if it was endorsed by celebrities such as the singer Chris brown? (after his violent assault on then girlfriend, Rihanna) The research requirements have established the design of the questions within this questionnaire to ask mostly behavior variable questions; as the research objectives aim to infer consumer behavior and experience. There would also be an opinion variable presence within the questionnaire in order to establish consumer awareness of cultural celebrity influence.

Depending on the variety of questions within the questionnaires, the respondent’s response questions will vary from: (Saunders et al 2007) •Yes and No answers •Rating questions – Range from Strongly agree to strongly disagree •Category questions •List questions The questionnaire is to be self-administered, delivery and collection questionnaires. (Saunders et al 2007) 5. 3b Semi-structured Interviews Interviews will provide the appropriate medium for open ended questions as they cannot be conducted in questionnaires.

The semi-structured interviews will be the data collection method used for the purposes of the exploratory research for this study. The interviews will consist of exploratory and explanatory questions that may lead to answers to satisfy at least 1 or both strategies, as well as open windows to fresh point of views, opinions of which may have not been considered. As the interview is semi-structured, given the right sample of the population, the data could be tremendously useful, as it will cover a wider range of consumer behaviors and opinion.

The interviews would ask questions such as: •What was the last thing you purchased that was endorsed/advertised or used by a celebrity? •Who was the celebrity? What was your thought-process behind the purchase? •Do you believe a celebrity makes a brand more credible? Please give reason for your answer? •If you’re absolute celebrity role-model, or crush was endorsing adiddas, would that is a deciding factor in choosing to purchase a product in adiddas rather than their main competitor Nike?

Please give reasons for your answer To rule out any bias within the interview, questions such as the following will also be included: •Has celebrity endorsement of a product ever “put you off” or influenced you in a negative way towards the brand? Please explain your answer. The purpose of these interviews is to get the interviewees to express their thoughts behind the consumer spending made towards celebrity endorsed products and a reaction towards adiddas’ celebrity endorsement campaigns. All interviews will be conducted face-face in order to encourage free speech from interviewee to provide stronger evidence.

The interviews will be formal of the content being asked, however the atmosphere the interviews will be conducted in will be very informal in order to make respondents feel comfortable enough to express their true behavioral habits and opinions as consumers, this atmosphere will include the attire worn by the interviewer, necessary to keep within the informal atmosphere as well as friendly, approachable and relatable persona, also helpful to encourage honesty within both the interview and questionnaire. Saunders et al 2007)


According to Dix et al 2010, celebrity endorsers such as athletes and film stars are most effective in influencing the attitudes of the market because they are respected by and are highly identifiable with young people, college and university students are a highly desired target market for sport marketers as they are most likely to have moderate levels of identification with a specific team or athlete and to be attracted to some specific attributes or elements in sport.

The information above states as the basis for the population of the research sample to be LJMU students, the sample shall be around 150 students of different backgrounds, studies, and fashion sense in order to get an extremely general scope for variation in answers. The desire for general variation defines the type of sampling required for this case study to be Non-Probability sampling. (Saunders et al 2007) A combination of Purposive and self-selection sampling will be best suited to this case study for the following reasons: •Purposive:

This method of sampling would allow the researcher free reign in selecting the cases that are best suited to the case and best to satisfy the objectives of the research. Although, the representation of this sample is said to be low, it is very much dependent on the researchers choices for this case study the choice made will be a typical case in order to focus on illustration. The low representation has also led to the option of another sampling technique to ensure a good representation: •Self-selection:

This type of sampling allows individuals to identify themselves voluntarily to take part; this is a great source of information as the data collected is a more dynamic response by individuals wanting to be heard and have something to say regarding the case. This combination of sampling allows a more representative sample and in some ways can cross-check themselves towards a unanimous objective. (Saunders et al 2007)


Access to students involved in the data collection samples will be as follows; •Made during a convenient and free time within the university but not in lectures or close to lecture times, •Not during high stress time such as end of semesters, during last week of coursework submissions or exams. •The sample will be conducted over a period of time in order to gain a variety in students participating. •Adverts will be placed on student message boards throughout the university advertising students for the self-selection sample, advertising the study along with a contact number and email address. Students required for the semi-structured interview will be asked in a variety of ways; in person, in student halls, through social networking sites, and emails An ethical approach to be undertaken during this research is as follows: •All questionnaires, and interviews are private and confidential, no names will be taken. •All participants of this study will be informed of what the purposes of the research are and the way in which the information they provide will be used. •A sensitive and ethical manner will be undertaken whilst collecting date on people’s personal consumer behavior.


Timescale: towards completed research project. DateMonth NumberTask Start October1Brainstorm any additional material e. g. 2012 adiddas reports End November2Collection and reading of literature Advertise self-selection sample for interview End December3Create questionnaire and prepare interviews End January 4Conduct Interview and administer questionnaire Data collected(secondary & Primary) analyzed and interpreted towards methodology and literature Mid-February5Further analysis and writing End-March 6Draft completed Mid-May8Draft Revised End-May8Submission Source: Saunders et al 2007 8. 0RESOURCES

This case study remains to be easily-resourced; •Financially: low budgeted only costs involve cost of printing and photocopying, which have been accounted for. •Data Access: should not cost anything as it is all student-to-student exchange of information and will not be a problem to access data. ?


Exhibit A Source: Bing Search= www. tennismates. com, 2011 10. 0BIBLIOGRAPHY •Adidas. (2011). adiddas is all in – Launching the biggest marketing campaign in the brand’s history. Available: http://www. adidas-group. com/en/pressroom/archive/2011/14March2011. aspx. Last accessed 28th March 2011. •Adidas. (2011). Adidas Strategy.

Available: http://www. adidas-group. com/en/investorrelations/strategy/adidas/default. aspx. Last accessed 28th March 2011. •Ahn, S. Kim, H. Forney, J.. (2009). Fashion collaboration or collision? Examining the match-up effect in co-marketing alliances. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management. 14 (1), 6-17. •Arnould, E. Price, L. Zinkhan, G. (2002). Consumers. New York: McGraw-Hill . 5-673 •Byrne, A. Whitehead, M.. (2003). the naked truth of celebrity endorsement. British Food Journal. 105 (4/5), 288-294. •Charbonneau, J. Garland, R.. (2010). Product Effects on Endorser Image. Asia pacific journal of marketing and logistics. 2 (1), 101-108. •Dix, S. Phau, I. Pougnet, S.. (2010). “Bend it like beckham”: the influence of sports celebrities on young adult customers. Young Consumers: insight and ideas for responsible marketers. 11 (1), 37 •Pringle, H. (2004). Celebrity Sells. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 118. •Temperley, J. Tangen, D.. (2006). consumer self-concept, identity and involvement. The Pinocchio factor in consumer attitudes towards celebrity endorsement: an examination of a recent reebok campaign. 2 (2), 100 •Saunders, M. Lewis, P. Thornhill, A. (2007). Research Methods for Business Students. 4th ed. Essex: Pearson Education. 2-397.

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