The Study Of Impact Of Celebrity Endorsement Cultural Studies Essay

Vaibhav Misra

Management Consultant & Ex- Lecturer,

Bora Institute of Management Sciences

Lucknow, India



The celebrities in India are the role models for majority of Indians, they are so influenced by them that most of the population follows the trends of their dressing, styles and habits. This is the major reason for the companies to hire the celebrities to promote their products. The companies invest billions of to hire the celebrity for the promotion of their product. The companies believe that the celebrity changes the purchase intention of the consumers in India. The study is conducted to find out the impact of celebrity on rural consumers of Lucknow district of Uttar Pradesh. In order to analyze the objective of the study the data was collected using convenience sampling from 300 respondents belonging to the randomly selected areas of Lucknow. The secondary data was collected through different sources such as- Journals, Magazines, Internet, and Newspaper etc. Null hypothesis was framed and analytical Techniques are the statistical tools that are used for analyzing the collected data. The frequency tables were used to represent the collected data. One sample T-test was used to test the hypothesis and ANOVA was used to calculate the significance level of impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers. The SPSS 17 is also used as statistical software to analyze the collected data. It is found that the Indian consumers prefer celebrities in the television commercials.

Keywords- Brand Building, Brand Promotion, Celebrity Endorsements, Indian Television Commercials.


The celebrities in India are the role models for majority of Indians, they tries to follow their styles, clothes and their small habits. Celebrity endorsement is most acceptable and common phenomenon that companies use to attract their consumers across the world. They believe that celebrities can influence the purchasing decision of their prospect consumers as they have special places in the heart of consumer. Therefore after analyzing the degree of involvement to follow the celebrities, the companies started hiring various bollywood and sports stars for the commercial advertisements. That is why the promotional budget for advertising has taken many financial folds compared to past investments. The companies invest billions of Rupees over hiring a celebrity for their product promotion. Such endorsers are seen as dynamic with both attractive and likeable qualities and companies plan that these qualities are transferred to products via marcom activities. Furthermore, because of their fame, celebrities serve not only to create and maintain attention but also to achieve high recall rates for marcom messages in today’s highly cluttered environments. Theory and practice prove that the use of super stars in advertising generates a lot of publicity and attention from the public (Ohanian 1991). Therefore, Celebrity endorsement has been established as one of the most proffered tools of advertising. It has become a trend and perceived as a winning formula for product marketing and brand building. It is very easy to have a celebrity for a product or brand but it is very tough to establish a very strong association between the product and the endorser: because the objective is to build a brand not the celebrity: if properly matched it can do wonders for the company, but it also has a number of potential problems like failure of celebrity in his profession, controversy, etc.


According to McCracken (1989), a celebrity could be defined as,

"Any individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition when they appear in the advertisement in front of the Consumers".

According to Kurzman (2007)

"Celebrity is an omnipresent feature of society, blazing lasting impressions in the memories of all who cross its path."

There are multiple roles that a celebrity spokesperson may play (and the roles may not be mutually exclusive) (Kamen, Azhari and Kragh, 1975) in an advertisement such as that of a spokesperson, endorser, provider of a testimonial, or an actor. A spokesperson represents the company or brand like a salesman, while an endorser is associated with the brand even though he may not be an expert in the product category of the brand. In case of testimonials, the superiority of the product is attested by an individual or the personal experience of the celebrity. Lastly, the celebrity actor is only a character in a dramatic presentation in the advertisement.

McCracken (1989) suggested four different modes of celebrity endorsers namely, Explicit mode, Implicit mode, Imperative mode, and the Co-present mode. In the explicit mode, the celebrity announces the endorsement of a product, while in the implicit mode; the celebrity uses verbal or physical communication for the product. In the imperative mode, the celebrity suggests the audience to use the endorsed product while the celebrity only appears with the product in the co-present mode.

The studies of celebrity endorsements in the past 30 years have centered around two broad themes: source credibility and celebrity-brand congruence. Source credibility studies focus on the factors defining the credibility of a celebrity. Credibility of a celebrity has been found to be

a major factor influencing consumer attitudes. Research has identified three dimensions of source credibility: attractiveness, expertise, and trustworthiness. Some of the studies (e.g., Ohanian, 1990) have used all the three dimensions to develop a scale that can measure credibility. On the other hand, there are studies that have analyzed only one or two dimensions of credibility and its impact on the consumer (Weiner and Mowen, 1986; Friedman and Friedman, 1979; Kamins and Gupta, 1994). However, the findings from these studies have been quite contradictory. While some studies have found trustworthiness to be the most important dimension of source credibility (McGinnies and Ward, 1980; Atkin and Block, 1983 and Kamins, 1989), others have emphasized attractiveness (Baker and Churchill, 1977; Kahle and Homer, 1985; Caballero et al., 1989; Silvera and Austad, 2004) or have suggested expertise (Maddux and Rogers, 1980; Ohanian, 1991) to be the most important parameter.

Around 64 per cent of the commercials used the implicit mode of celebrity portrayal for different product categories. Usage of film celebrities was more extensive than sports celebrities in major product categories. This was probably because the shelf life of fame for a film celebrity is more than that of the sports celebrity. Male celebrities dominated the product categories like food and beverage, automobiles, and consumer durables. The female celebrities were featured majorly in beauty products. No distinct association was found between the product categories considered and the mode used for celebrity portrayal. (Jain et al. 2010)

Using a celebrity for endorsement is not a new occurrence but prevalent since 19th century. Celebrity endorsements help to break the clutter and differentiate the brand. It also helps in image repair of a brand (Kaikati, 1987). In today’s world where thousands of advertisements come across people in various forms, celebrity endorsement can easily win the confidence of consumers (Sabnavis, 2003). Celebrity helps in increasing profitability of the organization. In fact, celebrity endorsement is more effective than non-celebrity endorsement in generating attitudes towards advertisement (AAD), attitude towards brand (AB) and purchase intention (PI) (Erdogan, 1999).

Research findings suggest that the percentage of celebrity advertisements out of the total number of ads aired is as high as 25-30% in western countries and around 60% in India (Patel, 2009). In such a scenario both academia and industry look for the issues in selection, use and effectiveness of celebrities as product endorsers. Research in celebrity endorsements in the last thirty years have tried to address various issues in celebrity endorsements such as the effects of credibility of endorser on the consumers (Friedman and Friedman, 1979; Goldsmith et al., 2000), issues in celebrity product ‘match-up’ (Kamins, 1990; Till and Busler, 1998), meaning transfer in celebrity endorsements (McCracken, 1989) and a host of other issues such as effect of negative celebrity information, cross country comparison of celebrity advertising, gender and celebrity endorsement perceptions, etc.

Celebrity endorsements is been accepted to be a ―ubiquitous feature of modern day marketing‖ (McCracken 1989). It has also been seen that one quarter of all advertisement use/feature a celebrity to endorse a product or brand. This validates the effectiveness of Celebrity endorsements as a means of persuasive communication. It has the potential to enhance audience attentiveness, make the ad more memorable, credible, and desirable and add glamour to the endorsed product (Spielman, 1981).

The celebrity can be classified into following categories:

Film Stars

The personality who belong to bollywood/Cinema Industry. These personalities have the maximum effect on consumers as most of the Indian consumers prefer them as role models. The personalities who come under this category are: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone, Madhuri Dixit, Prachi Desai etc.


These are the personalities who are mostly seen on stage in fashion shows or exhibitions. Some of the famous personalities are: Padma Laxmi, Lisa Ray etc.

Product Specialists

These are the personalities who are the technical experts of the products. These personalities have deep knowledge about the product attributes and features. Some of the personalities that come under this category are: Javed Habib, Shahnaaz Hussian etc.

Television Stars

These are the personalities who appear in the television daily episodes. These are mostly popular among the housewives. The personalities who come under this category are: Hussian, Smriti Iraani, Sushant Singh etc.

Sports Personalities

These are the sports players who play different sports such as cricket, tennis, badminton etc. Some of the popular sports personalities are: Sachin Tendulkar, Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza ets.


These are the playback singers who perform the stage show or give playback voice in the movies. The personalities who come under this category are: Jagjit Singh, Suresh Wadekar etc.


Pros of Celebrity Advertisement

Academic researchers have conducted sufficient empirical research to express the benefits of product endorsement, in addition to the intuitive arguments that rationalize this practice. (Till and Shimp, 1998) It is observed that the presence of a renowned persona helps in solving the problem of over communication that is becoming more and more prevalent these days. (Kulkarni & Gaulankar, 2005).

The increased consumer power over programmed advertisement has made advertising has made advertising more challenging. To ease this threat and to help create and maintain consumer attention to advertisements celebrity endorsement strategy is seen to be advantageous. Celebrities have the potential of helping the advertisements stand out from the surrounding clutter, guiding towards a improved communicative ability by cutting through excess noise in a communication process (Sherman 1985). Also one probable solution in the face of tarnished company image is the hiring of a celebrity to restore it. Celebrity Endorsement assists in the image polishing of the company’s image. (Erdogan, 1999)

A stream of studies identifies the attributes such trustworthiness, similarity, likableness, expertise that cause a celebrity to stand as a persuasive source which in turn creates a sense of certainty. (Mustafa 2005) It is shown by research and experience that consumers are highly ready to spend and more comfortable, when products that relate to their desired image is endorsed by celebrities. (Internet World 2001) as it helps them to take more notice of celebrity endorsements and improve their level of product recall. (Bowman 2002)

All these lead to the conclusion that celebrity endorsements is likely to have a positive effect on product choice behaviour. (Lafferty and Goldsmith, 1999; Mathur, Mathur & Rangan 1997)

Cons of Celebrity Endorsement

The very first downside of celebrity endorsement is the term ‘Lazy Advertising’ used to address the extreme usage of celebrities to endorse products, which poses a question on the validation of success of celebrity endorsement as a prevalent marketing communication activity. (Kulkarni and Gaulankar, 2005). It is believed that using celebrities can turn out to be an unnecessary risk, unless there appears to be a very logical relation between the endorser and the product. (Beverage Industry 1989, USA Today, 1995)

Celebrity endorsers may now and then become a liability to the brand they endorse (Till and Shimp, 1998). Negative information and publicity regarding the celebrity is one risk associated with the use of celebrity endorsers. If the celebrity is strongly associated with the brand then the impact of the negative publicity will brim over to the product. (Till, 1996). Many companies have been badly affected by the negative publicity accruing from the celebrity’s misdeeds. One very prominent example is Pepsi which suffered with three tarnished celebrities - Mike Tyson, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. (Katyal, 2007). Furthermore, those who choose to use celebrities have no control over the celebrity’s future behaviour. (Till & Shimp, 1998)

Clutter in brand endorsement is very high up these days. (Kulkarni and Gaulankar, 2005). This is due to celebrity greed which leads to a celebrity endorsing many diverse products. (Erdogan, 1999) Overexposure is a common occurrence between highly recognized and well-liked endorsers and highly competing brands and leads to making the consumer confused and unable to recall correctly which brand the celebrity stands for. (Tripp, 1994) This not only compromises the value of the celebrity in the eyes of the star’s fans but also brings to the customers notice the true nature of endorsements which is more compensation inclined and not so brand or product inclined. (Cooper, 1984, Tripp et al. 1994). This has been referred to by Solomon et al. (2002) as the "hired gun" problem, where the spokesperson is perceived as endorsing the product only for the motive of money. A review by King (1989) found that especially among young people the perceived credibility of celebrity endorsers has fallen drastically, with 64% believing that celebrities appeared in the ads only for money.

As Cooper (1984) articulates "the product, not the celebrity, must be the star."Overshadowing or better known as the ‘vampire effect’ occurs ‘’when the celebrity endorser occurs in the presence of multiple other stimuli which all competes to form a link with the celebrity endorser." (Till, 1996) It is a fairly familiar problem that tends to ‘water out’ the image and association present between the celebrity and the brand being endorsed and one that leads to lack of clarity for the consumer. (Evans, 1998) A universal concern here is that consumers will fail to notice the brand being promoted because they are focusing their attention on the celebrity. (Erdogan, 1999)

Two new shortcomings can be seen these days what marketers call Celebrity Trap and Celebrity Credibility. Celebrity trap is when the task to find substitutes becomes more and more difficult and thus celebrity becomes an addiction for the marketing team leading to surfeit of celebrities. Celebrity credibility refers to skepticism by the consumers regarding the celebrities, because of which brand is bound to be affected, especially when there is anything negative regarding the celebrity associated with the brand in the news. (Kulkarni and Gaulankar, 2005).

Agrawal and Kamakura (1995) recommend that there are decreasing returns associated with celebrities in advertising. Also some consumers have termed celebrities to be a ‘puppet’ used by companies implying that they perceive the celebrities to be lying, when endorsing certain products. (Temperley & Tangen, 2006)

Selecting the ‘Right’ celebrity

Shimp (2000) put forward five factors in order of decreasing importance namely, (1) the celebrity credibility, (2) celebrity and audience match-up, (3) celebrity and brand match up,(4) celebrity attractiveness, and (5) miscellaneous considerations, which were considered by advertising executives while making their celebrity-selection decisions. Models and concepts were constructed by scholars to draw the liaison between celebrities, the brand they endorsed and the perception of the people related to the two. (Khatri, 2006) One of the earliest models was the Source Credibility Model by Hovland et al. (1953) Apart from this there were 3 additional models recognised by Erdogan (1999) which were the Match-up Hypothesis by Forkan (1980), the Source Attractiveness Model by McGuire (1985) and the Meaning Transfer Model by McCraken (1989). The following part will take a closer look at the stated considerations and the associated models.

The Source Credibility Model

"The effectiveness of a communication is commonly assumed to depend to a considerable extent upon who delivers it." (Hovland et al., 1953) The expression source credibility is used commonly to entail the communicator’s positive attributes that affect the recipient’s acceptance of a message. (Ohanian, 1990). Furthermore, the source needs to be trustworthy, in the nous of believability, honesty and ethics. (Belch & Belch, 2001) Information from a credible source such as a celebrity has the power to influence the opinions, belief, attitude and behaviour through a process called internalisation based on the assumption that the information from the source is accurate. (Belch & Belch, 2001). Internalisation occurs when source influence is accepted by the receiver in terms of their personal attitude and value structures. (Erdogan, 1999)

Source credibility refers to the perception of the source’s expertise, objectivity and trustworthiness (Ratneshwar and Chaiken, 1991). Over the past 30 years the research conducted by psychologists demonstrates that a source which is distinguished as highly credible is likely to be more persuasive than a low credibility sender (Aaker et al. 1992, Erdogan, 1999; Atkin& Block, 1983). The same is reflected in the source credibility model, which contends that the effectiveness of a message displayed depends on perceived level of trustworthiness and expertise in an endorser (Dholakia and Sternthal 1977; Erdogan 1999; Ohanian, 1991; Solomon et al. 1999)

Hovland et al., (1953) partitioned source credibility into expertise and trustworthiness. Where expertise is "the extent to which a communicator is perceived to be a source of valid assertions" and consists of knowledge, special experience and skills. (Shank, 2004) Expertise of the source should relate to the product that he/she is endorsing. (Till & Busler, 1998) Speck, Schumann and Thompson (1998) found that as compared to non-experts, expert celebrities produced higher recall of product information, but the difference was not statistically significant. (Erdogan, 1999)

Trustworthiness is "the degree of confidence in the communicator’s intent to communicate the assertions he considers most valid and consists of honesty, integrity and believability. Hovland et al., (1953) The advertisers by selecting endorsers who are widely regarded as honest, believable and dependable, can capitalise on the value of trustworthiness (Erdogan, 1999). Ohanian, (1990) states that the message will be more effective and the receiver more integrated, when the celebrity is perceived to be more trustworthy.

As source credibility research looks upon the celebrity endorsement process as uni-dimensional, it fails to provide a well-grounded explanation of important factors. Even though source credibility is a vital factor in the celebrity selection process, as credibility has been proved to have direct and significant effect on attitude and behavioural intentions, it should not be the only criteria that should be taken into consideration while selecting celebrity endorsers (Erdogan, 1999).

The Source Attractiveness Model

"Beauty is a greater recommendation than any other introduction." This quote by Aristotle is suitable in this context of source attractiveness for appreciating the efficacy of pleasant appearance since most societies place a high premium on physical attractiveness. (Ohanian, 1991) Patzer (1985) affirms that physical attractiveness is an informational cue which involves effects that are inescapable, persuasive and subtle. (Erdogan, 1999)

Although expertise and trustworthiness have time and again been considered as important elements, attractiveness based on ‘source valence’ model was identified as another dimension of source credibility. (McGuire, 1968) Advertisers have made choices of selecting celebrities on their foundation of their attractiveness to gain from dual effects of physical appeal and celebrity status. (Singer, 1983)

Source Attractiveness is mostly associated with physical attributes, such as familiarity, similarity and likeability, all of which are important in the individual’s initial judgment of another person. (Ohanian, 1990) Similarity refers to the resemblance between the receiver and the source of the message whereas familiarity refers to the acquaintance of the source through exposure. While talking about similarity, it is mentioned that consumers are more likely to be influenced by a message coming from someone they feel a sense of similarity with. (Belch & Belch, 2001) The position advocated by the source is better understood and received when the endorser and the recipient are seen to have similar needs, lifestyles, goals and interests. (Kelman, 1961) Likeability on the other hand is the fondness for the source which may be as a result of behaviour, physical appearance or other personal trait and also these celebrities need to be at least well known and admired in the public eye. (Belch & Belch, 2001)

Attractiveness includes any number of attributes such as intellectual skill, personality properties, lifestyle or athletic prowess that consumers might perceive in a celebrity endorser, and thus does not simple refer to physical attractiveness.(Erdogan, 1999) "Source Attractiveness leads to persuasion through a process of identification." Kelman (1961) Identification is the process which has been used to explain how attractiveness influenced consumers. This is another of Kelman’s social influence processes which occurs when because of the desire to identify with such endorsers, receivers accept the attractive source’s information. (Ambrose, 1992; Friedman & Friedman, 1979)

Research reveals that consumers have a tendency to form positive stereotypes about attractive individuals and also that as compared to their unattractive counterparts, physically attractive communicators celebrities are more successful at changing beliefs (Baker and Churchill, 1977) and generating purchase intentions (Friedman et al. 1976; Kahle and Homer, 1985). A study conducted by Kahle and Homer (1985) divulged that consumers were more geared up to buy an Edge razor after seeing an attractive celebrity in a magazine advertisement than an unattractive celebrity. They also elucidated that speed of communication occurs more promptly when pictures appear in advertisements than when arguments appear.

However it was suggested by Caballero et al., (1998) and Ohanian (1991) that though attractiveness might result in positive feelings towards advertising and products, but it is not necessary that this feeling should necessarily translate into actual behaviour, cognitive attitudes and purchase intention.

It is indicated by both Till and Busler (1998) and Ohanian (1991) that more than physical attractiveness, the expertise of the endorser is more important in affecting attitude towards the endorsed brand.

Match-up Hypothesis

Spokesperson-brand congruence match-up entails that the highly relevant characteristics of the spokesperson are consistent with the highly relevant attributes of the brand. (Misra and Beatty, 1990) According to Kamins (1990) there is a necessity for the existence of a meaningful relationship between the celebrity, the audience and the product. According to Evans (1988) in the absence of a distinct and specific relationship between the product and the celebrities, "celebrities suck the life blood of the product dry", thus are emphasizing the danger of the vampire effect.

According to Kahle and Homer (1985), the Match-up Hypothesis of endorser selection fits well with Social Adaptation theory which implies that the adaptive significance of the information will determine the impact. Research indicates that advertising a product via a celebrity leads to a greater celebrity and advertiser believability relative to advertisements portraying a less fitting product spokesperson image. (Kamins and Gupta, 1994; Kotler1997)

Till and Busler, (1998) explained that even though Micheal Jordon is a an attractive endorser, his effectiveness as a celebrity endorser is likely to be greater when endorsing products related to his athletic deftness such as Gatorade or Nike, rather than products that are unrelated to his athletic performance such as WorldCom Communications. According to Katyal (2007), there are certain parameters that postulate compatibility between brand image and the celebrity, which are as follows:

Celebrity popularity

Celebrity physical attractiveness

Celebrity credibility

Celebrity prior endorsements

Whether celebrity is a brand user

Celebrity profession

Celebrity’s fit with the brand image

Celebrity—Target audience match

Celebrity associated values

Costs of acquiring the celebrity

Celebrity—Product match

Celebrity controversy risk

The extensive and persistent use of celebrities in advertising suggests that they are worth the costs associated with hiring them (Agrawal & Kamakura, 1995). A celebrity’s stamp of approval can create an emotional bond between the endorser and the consumer, if the fit is right (Bradley, 1996). A successful and popular endorser has the capability to increase consumer’s purchase intentions and preference towards brands either directly or indirectly. (Lui 2007) One can always match a celebrity with the wanted image of the brand but it will not be successful if the target audience does not perceive the fit. (Temperley and Tangen, 2006) Newsom et al. (2000) take the view that there should be no conflict between any prior promotion campaign endorsed by a celebrity and the preferred image.

During their careers, successful individuals are elevated to the celebrity status, and therefore regardless of their actual physical appearance their achieved recognition and popularity makes these celebrities look attractive to consumers. These celebrities’ accomplishments and fame transform in to credibility and power in the eye of the public. (Choi, 2007) Solomon et al. (1999) refers to the ‘credibility gap’, where the lack of credibility is aggravated by incidences where celebrities endorse products that they do not really use, or in some cases do not believe in.

The Meaning Transfer Model

According to McCraken (1989), the previous models discussed above are not capable of capture the success factors of the endorsement process, hence he proposed the meaning transfer model as a rich and all-inclusive portrayal of the same, the central premise of which is that celebrities encodes unique sets of meanings which might be transferable to the endorsed product, provided the celebrity is used well. Celebrity Endorsement is a special example of the universal process of meaning transfer which witnesses a conventional movement of cultural meaning in consumer societies.

Celebrities are known to be full of different meanings in terms of age, gender, personality and lifestyle. Celebrity endorsers bring their own symbolic meaning to the process of endorsement. Specially the cultural meanings’ residing in a celebrity go beyond the person itself and is passed on to the products. (McCraken, 1989; Brierley, 1995)

The model exemplifies a three-stage process of meaning transfer which involves the creation of the celebrity image followed by the transfer of meaning from the celebrity to the brand which again in turn is followed by the transfer of brand image to the customers. (Schlecht, 2003) In the first stage the meanings associated with the famous person moves from the endorser to the product or the brand, and this meaning is drawn by the celebrity from its public persona. In the second stage, the creation of product personality takes place as the meaning is transferred from the endorser to the consumer. This is based on the symbolic properties conveyed by the endorser. Finally in the last stage which is known as the consumption process, the brand meaning is attained by the consumer. The consumers who identify themselves with these symbolic properties the meanings are transferred to them thereby rendering the process of transfer of the meaning from the celebrity to the consumer complete. The third stage of the model overtly proves the importance of the consumer’s role in the process of endorsing brands with famous people. (McCraken, 1989)

Even though this approach is useful in certain rationales, but at the same time it prevents one from seeing the celebrities who are in fact highly individualized and complex bundles of cultural meanings. (McCraken, 1989) McCraken’s model may first seem a merely theoretical concept, but in truth its replicability to real life was demonstrated by two studies. The meaning transfer model was found applicable in a study conducted by Mitchell and Boustani (1992), which tested the model on breakfast cereals.


"The heterogeneity in consumer’s responses to emotional appeals in advertising is well documented in the behavioural literature". (Moore, Harris & Chen, 1995) McCraken (1989) goes on to describe a consumer as a ‘self’ that constantly detracts into their lives the symbolic properties from consumer products in order to construct aspects of themselves and the world.

The results of the study conducted by O’Mahony and Meenaghan (1998) designate that a consumer holds by and large a positive attitude towards celebrity endorsements. Research confirms that the celebrity endorsement can have an impact on the consumers recall evaluations, attention and purchase intentions. At the same time it needs to be taken into consideration that although consumers might have a favourable disposition towards celebrities, this does not necessarily always translates into purchase intentions. (O’Mahony and Meenaghan, 1998)

Consumer’s perception begins with their self-image and lifestyle. (Busler, 2003) Daneshvary and Schwer (2000) formulated an estimated equation on the purchase intention of the consumers which is based on the literature that points to the fact that purchase intention in an environment of endorsements depends on consumers identifying with the association and its consequent purpose on their socioeconomic profile. The equation goes as follows:

PURCHASE INTENTION = f (often, income, gender, occupation, age, education)

It is often seen that the understanding of the bond between the endorsed product and the product itself is difficult for the consumer to judge and thus this is critical to understand while discussing celerity endorsement. (Hsu & Donald, 2002) Using the internationalization process, Friedman & Friedman (1979) posited that consumers were more likely to purchase expensive and/or complex products which were endorsed by expert celebrities rather than typical customers. Using the same theory, Lafferty and Goldsmith (1999) that consumers are more likely to purchase a product when the perception of corporate credibility is high and when the purchase intention when endorser credibility which maybe a celebrity, is again perceived to be high. But it is seen that once the consumer has the product in his or her hands, however, the design, quality, and price of the product are what consummates the sale, not the association with a celebrity, which enlighten us with the verity that celebrities get consumers to try products, not to necessarily buy products." (Anonymous, 2007)

Daneshvary and Schwer (2000) refer to individuals with higher levels of education might be less influenced by any form of advertising than those with less education, because education provides individuals with analytical skills allowing them to decipher information from several sources prior to making a purchasing decision, making them less likely to purchase a product based on one source.

The celebrities are often looked upon by the young as their role model. (Choi & Rifon, 2007) It is seen that celebrity endorsement specially encourages the young to embrace their individuality by celebrating their contemporary icons and heroes. (Temperley and Tangen, 2006)


Brand endorsements by celebrities are a widespread phenomenon in India and worldwide. For decades, the celebrities present in the Indian films have provided lifestyle cues to youth. Given the popularity, size and reach of the celebrities present in the film industry have the power to influence the attitude and behavior of millions of people, particularly the youth in India. The result of several discussions between strategic media work and WHO, after consulting with media experts, sociologists, films and television professionals and academics as well as scanned media reports, determines the impact of films and its consequent impact of celebrities on the youth. (Anonymous, 2003)

The country observed for the first time aggressive competition between new players and big established businesses with the opening of the new Indian economy in 1991. (Malhotra 2005)

Consumer’s expectations and demands are continuously rising in today’s dynamic and competitive environment forcing marketers to adopt more creative advertising efforts such as celebrity endorsements to influence consumer brand choice and behaviour. (Alsmadi 2006) Hence, there was an novelty of the celebrity brand endorsement which has proliferated to have become a multi-million dollar industry in India today. (Malhotra 2005)

Further, more the celebrities in India live a very public life; hence several aspects of their lives are exposed to the general public such as where they shop, where they holiday, their favorite food and so on and thus receives extensive coverage from the media. The best example to support this is the South Indian actor Rajnikanth who has temples dedicated to his glory. (Dixit 2005)

However, a few of the brands have, no doubt, been established without celebrity endorsement (Kulkarni and Gaulkar, 2005). Procter & Gamble promoted its ‘Rejoice’ brand in India with an ordinary woman in their advertising which worked well. They do not believe in celebrity endorsement and think that consumers, especially housewives, are more prone to identify with a lay person than a celebrity. A few more examples that can be given are Lifebuoy, Close Up, Fevicol etc.

Katyal (2007) asserts that there is the presence of great potential for celebrity endorsement in India to be seen as truly relevant, thereby inducing customer to purchase the product. He also states that star power in India can be identified by the successful endorsements done by Shah Rukh Khan for three brands namely Santro, Clinic Al-clear and Pepsi.


NSSO (Census) defined rural market as a Market with population density less than 400 sq km., 75% of male working population is engaged in agriculture and no Municipal Corporation / board.

Planning Commission of India defined rural market as towns up to 15,000 populations are considered as rural market.

NABARD defined as all locations with a population up to 10,000 considered as rural area.

The Consumer electronics giant LG Electronics defined as all places other than seven metro cities of India.

The Sahara group defined as commercial establishments located in areas serving less than 1000 population are rural markets.


Large and diverse market: The Indian rural market is large and diverse in nature. Therefore, the density of shops to market the products is less when compared to the total population.

Agriculture is the major source of income: Main source of income is rural India is agriculture. If corps fails, then their income gets affected automatically and this reduces their purchasing power.

Traditional Outlook: People in rural areas are traditional in their thinking they are superstitious in their belief. This trend too is gradually changing because of increasing literacy levels among the rural youth.

Diver socio economic background: Rural consumers are spread across different states in distinct parts of India. Thus their social norms and economic status differ widely from each other.

Lack of proper infrastructure: There are no longer infrastructure facilities in and around villages. This includes bad roads, bad warehouses, lack of proper communications system and inadequate credit facilities. This is gradually progressing because of government initiatives and private players.


"Rural Marketing is defined as a function that manages all activities involved in assessing, stimulating and converting the purchasing power of rural consumers into an effective demand for specific products & services and moving these products & services to the people in rural areas to create satisfaction and a better standard of living and thereby achieving organizational goals" (Iyer, 2010).


The study is conducted:

To find out the impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers of Lucknow District.

To know which category of celebrity is most preferred among the rural consumers.


The null hypothesis that there is no impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers was framed for the study. Also,

The null hypothesis that there is no preferred category celebrity among the rural consumers was framed.



The Study is conducted in the Lucknow city of Uttar Pradesh. Further, the respondents are selected from four different areas namely, Malihabad, Mohanlalganj, Banthara and Bakshi ka Talab of Lucknow.


The sample method used to select the area for this study is random sampling technique. The sample method that was used to collect data from the population was convenience sampling. Sample size identified for the research is 300 respondents from Lucknow district.


The Study is based on Primary data and Secondary data both. The primary data is collected through structured questionnaire from the 300 respondents from Lucknow. The secondary data is collected through the magazines, journals, periodicals, people opinion and internet.


Analytical Techniques are the statistical tools that are used for analyzing the collected data. The one sample t-test was used to test the hypothesis. ANOVA was used to find out the impact of celebrity on rural consumers. The SPSS 17 statistical software is also used for doing the calculations


The study was conducted in rural areas of Lucknow. Using the random sampling technique the rural areas of Lucknow were selected. The study was done at Malihabad, Banthara, Bakshi ka Talab and Mohanlalganj. The total sample size targeted for study was 300 respondents from the selected areas but the responses were received from 277 respondents. The convenience sampling was used to collect the data from the respondents using structured questionnaires.

Table 1: Age Group



Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent































Above 60









The respondents were categorized in the age group 0- 10, 10- 20… and above 60, with the class interval of 10. It was found that maximum number of respondents were in the age group of 20- 30 with 67 respondents, followed by 10- 20 with 60 respondents as represented in Table 1.

Table 2: Gender



Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent















As per Table 2, the numbers of male respondents were 173 (62.5%) and the numbers of female respondents were 104 (37.5%). This shows that males participated the maximum in the study.

Table 3: Prefer Celebrity in Advertisement



Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent











Can't Say









Table 3 shows the preferences about the celebrities in the advertisements. The respondents are categorized in three categories name yes, no and can’t say. The numbers of respondents who prefer the celebrities in the advertisements are 103 which contribute 37.2% of the responded population. Further, 96 respondents responded that they do not prefer celebrity in the advertisements which contribute to 34.7% of the responded population. 78 respondents replied can’t say which is 28.2% of the responded population.

Table 4: One-Sample Test

Test Value = 1



Sig. (2-tailed)

Mean Difference

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference



Prefer Celebrity in Advertisement







Null Hypothesis: There is no impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers.

Alternate Hypothesis: There is impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers.

The null hypothesis indicates that there is no impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers, to test this hypothesis one-sample t-test is used, and as per the Table 4 the significance value is .000 which is significant at 5% level of significance. Hence the null hypothesis there is no impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers is rejected and alternate hypothesis there is impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers can be accepted.

Table 5: ANOVA

Prefer Celebrity in Advertisement

Sum of Squares


Mean Square



Between Groups






Within Groups







ANOVA was used to identify the impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers. Here age group of rural consumers is considered as dependent variable whereas prefer celebrity in advertisement is considered as Construct. There is a significant impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers. The value of significance level is .000, which is significant at 5% level of significance. Therefore, it can be said that there is an impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers based on the data collected for the study.


The statistical tools were used to determine the conclusion of the hypotheses framed. The tools used for analysis of the data are- frequency distribution, which showed the percentage by which the hypotheses has been accepted, one- sample t-test to test the hypotheses at 5% of significance and ANOVA to analyze the impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers.

The following points were concluding observation to satisfy the objectives of the study and prove the hypotheses:

37.2% of the rural consumers prefer celebrities in the advertisements followed by 34.7% of rural consumers who do not prefer celebrities in the advertisements.

There is an impact of celebrity endorsement on rural consumers as it is been proven in the study by calculating the significance level.