In today’s society we are constantly bombarded with marketing messages 24/7. We see advertising online, on the television, in magazines, newspapers, posters, even on my news feed when I scroll down my Facebook! With this excess of messages it is important to be sure which ones are from trusted sources, which messages are credible.
Schiffman et al (2014, p.285) infers credibility to be the perceived honesty and objectivity of a source of communication by its receiver. Indeed credibility in an intuitive concept, it impacts the receiver’s attitudes, intentions and behaviour towards product purchasing (Eisend, 2006). The spokesperson who delivers the message is often regarded as the source of the message and consequentially the spokesperson used has a crucial impact on credibility.
But what defines how we decide if a source is credible or not? A study conducted by Martin Eisend (2006) found that we as consumers view the virtues of attractiveness, competence, dynamism, expertise, personal integrity and trustworthiness as key attributes in the spokesman’s message. Personally, I trust those who I interact with regularly, such as my friends or specialists, my connection with them relates to my view of their word-of-mouth as being credible. I’m sure many of you would agree with me there. Alternatively, consumers often view experts in the field as credible sources of information due to their occupation, recognition, expertise and experience. Because of these qualities, experts are perceived to give consumers evaluated judgements on products (Schiffman et al 2014, p.294).
For example, we are more likley to trust this nutritional and weight loss product due to its endorsement by fitness expert Jillian Michaels.
Spokespeople who have similar demographic characteristics like age, gender, social class are often viewed as credible sources (Schiffman et al 2014, p. 286). Furthermore, we view those with personality characteristics, or similar lifestyles and hobbies to us as credible due to our perceived similar interests. For instance, a variety of clothing stores and brands such as General Pants, Vanguard and Nena & Pasadena use young and attractive models such as Mimi Elashiry to endorse their products on social media.
For instance, Nutrigrain use young and relatable sportsmen and women as endorsers.
Nutrigrain endorser Ali Day
And now here we move into the intriguing world of celebrity endorsement. Marketers frequently use celebrities as endorsers, their persuasive power is created through our awareness and admiration of them (Schiffman et al 2014, p. 285). According to Astrid Keel and Rajan Nataraajan (2012) the main elements of celebrity endorsement that create source credibility is consumers perception of their expertise and trustworthiness, their attractiveness and the appropriate match up of the celebrity and the product they are endorsing, for instance Michael Jordan endorses Nike basketball products.
See if you can identify which products or brands these celebrities endorse:
Of course celebrity endorsement is a risk. The spokesperson may ruin their credibility through engaging in scandalous behaviour, for example Kate Moss’s axing from multiple brand lines when images of her snorting cocaine surfaced back in 2005 (Wight, 2014). Beyoncé is an example of conflicting credibility, in 2011 she became a spokesperson for Michelle Obama’s Lets Move campaign combatting child obesity, however then in 2012 she went on to endorse Pepsi (Nestle, 2012).
Take a look at the videos below, displaying the conflicting sponsorship of Beyoncé, what’s your opinion on the case?
Michelle Obama’s Lets Move campaign:
Now to you, what sources do you find more credible? Maybe close friends, experts or celebrities?
Devalish28 2013, Beyoncé Grown Woman Official 2013 Pepsi Commercial, YouTube, Viewed 21 May 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Cb07li2iiI
Eisend, M 2006, ‘Source Credibility Dimensions in Marketing Communication – A Generalised Solution’, Journal of Empirical Generalisation in Marketing, Vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 1-33.
Keel, A, Nataraajan, R 2012, ‘Celebrity Endorsements and Beyond: New Avenues for Celebrity Branding, Psychology and Marketing, Vol. 29, no. 9, pp. 690-703.
Nestle, M 2012, Let’s Ask Marion: Beyoncé’s Bubbly Branding Falls Flat, Food Politics, viewed 20 May 2015, http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/12/lets-ask-marion-beyonces-bubbly-branding-falls-flat/
Schiffman, L, O’Cass, A, Paladino, A and Carlson, J 2014, Consumer Behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson Australia, NSW.
Wblsfm1075 2011, Beyoncé surprises students – Let’s Move! Flash Workout for New York City, YouTube, Viewed 21 May 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoX9qXBP0Bs
Wight, D 2014, Kate Moss ‘Shovelled up so much cocaine and vodka her friends nicknamed her The Tank’, Mirror, viewed 20 May 2015, http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/kate-moss-shovelled-up-much-4378250