Celebrity endorsement in the world of luxury fashion–when controversy can be beneficial

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Marketing Management, 2019, 35 (13-14), pp. 1193 - 1213
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© 2019, © 2019 Westburn Publishers Ltd. Can a negatively publicised celebrity endorser ever lead to favourable brand attitudes toward a luxury fashion product (i.e. a perfume)? An online experiment was conducted with a sample of 260 target-relevant female consumers where two factors were manipulated: the brand’s positioning objective (image reinforcement versus revitalisation) and the type of celebrity endorser (naturally versus incidentally controversial). Consumer attitudes towards the luxury fashion brand were generally more positive when the type of celebrity endorser was consistent with the brand’s positioning strategy, that is, when a naturally controversial celebrity endorses a brand with a reinforcement strategy and when an incidentally controversial celebrity endorses a brand with a revitalisation strategy. Furthermore, this effect was mediated by consumers’ appreciation of the celebrity-positioning match-up (i.e. the consistency between the celebrity’s persona and the brand’s strategy) but not by their perceptions of appropriateness (i.e. the traditional match-up hypothesis). Several implications suggested by these findings are developed.
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