Controversial Messages from Celebrity Influencers : Analyzing Consumer Attitudes and Purchase Intentions
Fay, Martha J.
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Leveraging the new age of social media, many consumer brands have ramped up the use celebrity influencers to enhance brand awareness and increase sales. Research has shown that celebrities increase awareness of a company’s advertising and create positive feelings toward brands. Conversely, a consumer can also have negative attitudes toward a message or source if they are conveyed improperly. For example, research has shown that consumers’ attitudes toward endorsers become negative after a brand transgression occurs; however, studies suggest that celebrities may be able to overcome negative effects that result from their relationship with the brand by dispatching appropriate responses. However, whether controversial actions by celebrities impact consumer perceptions of the brand they represent has not been studied. Utilizing the Social Identity Theory, this study explores potential associations between consumer attitudes toward a brand and their purchase intentions, and controversial messages produced by a liked celebrity. Results may help brand managers in deciding among celebrities to represent their brand and in mitigating potential negative effects of their liked celebrities’ transgressions.