Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (3): 371-385.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00371
• Reports of Empirical Studies •
Yaxuan RAN1,Jiani LIU1,Yishi ZHANG2(),Haiying WEI3
The use of celebrity endorsements in advertising is quietly pervasive. One brand can be endorsed by either one celebrity or multiple celebrities. Notably, it is more and more common nowadays that a single brand harnesses multiple celebrity endorsers in its advertisement to potentially attract more consumers. Literature on consumer psychology has mainly studied the context of a single celebrity endorsing a single brand, suggesting that source characteristics, such as familiarity, expertise, trustworthiness and attractiveness of the endorser, can affect consumer response and attitudes. A growing of recent studies have investigated the context of a single celebrity endorsing multiple brands, while surprisingly very few studies have examined whether one brand should be endorsed by either one person or multiple people. In the current research, we extend the extent literature by examining how consumer respond to celebrity advertising endorsed by either one person or multiple people. Consumers can build their relationship with a brand through the celebrity endorsers. In this vein, the number of endorsers (one celebrity versus multiple celebrities) can influence consumer attitudes via their feelings of connecting with the brand. Based on the image transference perspective, the celebrity’s traits could be transferred to the brand’s perceived traits. Thus, when a brand is endorsed by one person (multiple people), this brand is perceived to hold one identity (multiple identities). According to person-positivity bias, we postulate that one endorser (versus multiple endorsers) can enhance consumers’ connected feelings with the brand, then in turn increase consumers’ positive brand attitude. And this effect is only constraint for status-signaling products. Although the main hypothesis seems straightforward, there are constraints on its applicability. If the associations between the number of endorsers and self-brand connection are attenuated, the effect of the number of endorsers on brand attitude should be suppressed. That is, when multiple endorsers look like a whole (e.g., a team), the main effect would be reversed, such that multiple endorsers with wholeness characteristics elicit higher brand attitude than one endorser. One pilot study and four studies were conducted to examine our hypotheses. Pilot study (n = 53) examined that the basic hypothesis of trait transference, such that the brand endorsed by one person (multiple people) would be perceived to hold one identity (multiple identities). Experiment 1 (n = 199) investigated the main effect and the mediating role of self-brand connection. Experiment 2 (n = 245) used a moderation-of-process approach to further validate the mediation of self-brand connection. Experiment 3 (n = 158) examined that the effect is constraint when the product is characterized as status-signaling, while targeting and eliminating possible alternative explanations. Experiment 4 (n = 92) identified the moderating effect of when multiple endorsers look like a whole and provide replication of the main effect. To document a robust effect, we varied the context of advertising and the endorsers across four studies. Our investigation suggests that consumer facing a brand endorsed by one celebrity have greater brand attitude than those facing a brand endorsed by multiple celebrities. Specifically, compared to multiple endorsers, one endorser can enhance consumers’ feeling of connecting with the brand, which in turn increase brand attitudes. For non-status-signaling products, the relative difference between one endorser and multiple endorsers would be attenuated. At the same time, there are qualifications on these effects. When multiple endorsers are a whole, the superior of one endorser would be reversed. These findings offer novel insights on endorsing, number of people, and self-brand connection, while suggesting that companies must carefully consider the number of celebrities in the wake of considering the appropriate endorsement.
number of people,
image transference perspective,
Yaxuan RAN,Jiani LIU,Yishi ZHANG,Haiying WEI. (2020). The magic of one person: The effect of the number of endorsers on brand attitude. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 52(3), 371-385.
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