The effect of natural celebrity-brand association and para-social interaction in advertising endorsement for sustainable marketing

Ke Zhang*, Kineta H HUNG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Celebrity endorsement has been regarded as an effective strategy for enterprises to implement sustainable marketing strategies. However, frequent use of celebrity ads renders consumers skeptical of the ads' and celebrity's profit-making intent, which may adversely affect the sustainable marketing of the brand. This has given rise to "natural celebrity-brand association" that features celebrities using the brand in real-life settings, which is usually presented on social media rather than mass media. Using a boot-strapping approach, the study contrasts the effects of natural and commercial endorsements (i.e., natural vs. advertising, natural vs. product placement) on consumer brand responses. Results showed that natural celebrity-brand association exerts superior effects. Further, the mediating variables, para-social interaction (PSI) and its drivers (celebrity attractiveness, consumers' perceived homophily with the celebrity), which reflect consumer's emotional connection with a celebrity, also exert significantly stronger effects in the natural (vs. commercial) endorsement context. This research provides insights for advertisers and marketers in exploring new patterns of brand presentation forms in advertisements and gaining competitive advantage in sustainable marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6215
JournalSustainability
Volume12
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Brand quality
  • Celebrity-brand association
  • Para-social interaction
  • Real-life setting on social media
  • Self-brand connection
  • Sustainable marketing

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