Constructing a practioner-based model of selecting celebrity endorsers
This thesis investigates how British advertising agencies select celebrity endorsers and the criteria considered important in deciding which celebrity to employ. Specifically the primary focus of the study is to identify and analyse the process by which celebrity endorsers are selected by advertising agency practitioners; to explore factors affecting the selection of celebrity endorsers; and, to generate a model of selecting celebrity endorsers for marketing communication messages. The research had a two-phase design, which progressed from exploratory interviews to a mail survey. For the first phase, a sample of advertising agencies was taken from a recognised listing of the 300 largest agencies in the UK by Campaign in 1997. The top thirty, as ranked by annual sales in 1996, were chosen. Ten managers from nine advertising agencies and a celebrity director from a special research company called the Celebrity Group Ltd, were interviewed. Two fax responses were also received. Having identified a process by which practitioners select celebrity endorsers and the criteria considered, ten hypotheses were developed and the second phase, a mail survey, was launched. The population included advertising agency directors/managers working in Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) member agencies. Purposive sampling was used with the objective of selecting agency managers who have been involved in celebrity campaigns. After two waves, 131 out of 414 (31.6%) questionnaires from 80 out of 148 (54%) agencies were received. The research findings indicate that there is an informal and unwritten process of selecting celebrity endorsers in which a number of agency teams play a part and there is a range of criteria considered in the process. During the research process a preunderstanding model of how agencies select celebrity endorsers was developed that is grounded in the exploratory interview findings from which the research hypotheses are mainly de rived. After havin During the research process a preunderstanding model of how agencies select celebrity endorsers was developed that is grounded in the exploratory interview findings from which the research hypotheses are mainly derived. After having tested the hypotheses, a final version the process is proposed, which reflects a normative theory and represents a major contribution of the thesis.