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Credibility. Credibility counts. "ethos is the most potent of all means of persuasion" (Aristotle, The Rhetoric, 1356a) “To become a celebrity is to become a brand name” (Phillip Roth)

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Credibility counts

  • "ethos is the most potent of all means of persuasion" (Aristotle, The Rhetoric, 1356a)

  • “To become a celebrity is to become a brand name” (Phillip Roth)

  • “The generalization that high credibility sources are more influential than low credibility sources is as close as one can come to a universal law of persuasion” (Gass & Seiter, 2007)


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Credibility

  • Definition: “Judgments made by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator” (O’Keefe, 1990).

    • Credibility is not synonymous with charisma or leadership.

    • Credibility is also referred to as “Ethos.”

    • Credibility is a crucial element in persuasion.


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Credibility endorsers

  • Berger (2004) maintains we are living in a “Celebritocracy.”

  • Roughly one in five ads features a celebrity endorser.

  • The Match-Up Hypothesis: A good fit between the endorser and the brand is essential.

    • William Shatner parodies himself in Priceline.com’s campy “action hero” commercials.

  • Meaning Transfer Perspective: An endorser’s persona is projected onto the brand.

    • Catherine Zeta Jones evokes style and sophistication for T-Mobil.


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Celebrity endorses

  • 25% of advertisements employ celebrity endorsers (Shimp, 2000).

  • Roughly 10% of advertising expenditures go to pay the endorser (Agrawal & Kamakura, 1995)

  • Selling power is known as a celebrity’s “quotient fare” or simply “Q”


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The match-up hypothesis

  • How do these four endorsers fit the “My Life, My Card” American Express image?


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Falling stars

  • Celebrity scandals rub off onto the sponsor.

    • Tiger Woods was dropped by Accenture, Buick, Gatorade, and other sponsors following revelations of marital infidelity.

    • Michael Phelps Kellogg's dropped him, but Speedo and Subway stuck with him, after his “bong” photo surfaced.

    • Michael Vick was dropped by Nike and Coca-Cola after his dog-fighting conviction.

    • Martha Stewart resurrected her image as a homemaking diva, after serving time for insider trading.


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Celebrities in Politics

  • Celebrities have little effect on election outcomes.

  • "There is no polling evidence that celebrity endorsements make a difference,“

    • Kathleen Hall Jamieson

  • "political endorsements generally have little impact on voter preference."

    • A 2007 study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

  • It may be that celebrities are more successful motivating people to vote in general as opposed to tendering a vote for a specific candidate.”

    • Natalie Wood, Ph.D., marketing professor


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    Credibility dimensions

    • Credibility is a perceptual phenomenon.

      • Ethos is in the eye of the beholder.

    • Credibility is a multi-dimensional construct.

      • it is a composite of multiple factors

    • Credibility is situational.

      • It varies from one context to another.

    • Credibility is dynamic.

      • It changes over time, even during a short period of time.


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    Primary credibility dimensions

    • There are three primary dimensions of credibility.

      • All three are important in almost all persuasive situations.

      • Benoit (2004) says expertise is tends to be the most important of the three.

    • Expertise (competence)

      • The persuader has knowledge, skills, knows his/her stuff.

    • Trustworthiness (character, integrity)

      • The persuader is honest, safe, dependable.

    • Goodwill (perceived caring)

      • The persuader takes a genuine interest in you.


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    Primary credibility dimensions

    • Does Captain “Sully” Sullenberger possess all three dimensions?

    • Does Oprah Winfrey possess all three dimensions?

    • Did Joe “The plumber” have expertise?

    • Is Tiger Woods trustworthy?

    • Are Fox News and CNN trustworthy?

    • What dimensions were Richard Hatch or Russell Hantz (from the TV show Survivor) high or low in?

    • Is Sarah Palin high in expertise?


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    Secondary credibility dimensions

    • There are multiple, secondary dimensions of credibility.

    • Secondary dimensions are more situation specific.

    • Dynamism (extroversion)

      • A source is energetic, enthusiastic.

    • Composure (poise)

      • A source is calm, cool, and collected.

    • Sociability (Likeability)

      • A source is friendly, warm, charming.


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    Whose got what?

    • Match the credibility dimensions below with the sources on the right.*

    • Primary:

      • Expertise

      • Trustworthiness

      • Goodwill

    • Secondary

      • Dynamism

      • Composure

      • Sociability

        * Note: Since credibility is in the eye of the beholder, not everyone will agree.

    • James Bond

    • Ellen Degeneris

    • Ken Griffey Jr.

    • Barack Obama

    • John Madden

    • Ty Pennington

    • Rachel Ray

    • Captain Sully Sullenberger

    • AIG

    • Reese Witherspoon

      Does anyone possess all three dimensions?


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    Credibility as a peripheral cue

    • Credibility typically functions as a peripheral cue in persuasion.

      • Credibility matters more when receivers have low involvement.

      • Credibility matters less when receivers have high involvement.


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    The Third Person Effect

    • Study by Yankelovich and Gannett, of 1,000 consumers nationwide:

      • Only 25% of those questioned said a TV ad would induce them to try a product or brand

      • Only 3% said they would try a new product based on the recommendations of a celebrity

      • 63% said they would try something new based on the advice of a friend.

    • Third person effect: People think they are less susceptible to persuasion than other people.

    • Self-serving bias: People think they are better than average; better drivers, better sense of humor, more intelligent, etc.


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    Credibility and image management

    • Credibility extends to government agencies, institutions, organizations, social movements.

    • Institutions have images and reputations to maintain.

      • Toyota

      • AIG

      • FEMA

    • When an institution’s image is tarnished, it must engage in image restoration.

    • Hence the importance of PR, media “spin,” community involvement.


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    Credibility and image management

    • How would you rate the credibility of the following organizations?

      • American Trial Lawyers Association

      • Blackwater (now Xe)

      • Congress

      • United Nations

      • McDonald’s

      • Philip Morris

      • Wal-Mart

    • Pretend you are the head of a PR firm representing one of these companies.

    • What steps would you take to enhance or restore their credibility?


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    The Sleeper Effect

    • The persuasiveness of messages changes over time.

    • Most messages lose effectiveness over time.

    • The Sleeper Effect is an exception to the general rule.

      • A message initially advocated by a low credibility source may increase in persuasiveness over time.

      • The source and the message must be disassociated by using a discounting cue.

      • Without the “ball and chain” of the low credibility source, the message becomes more persuasive.

      • Absolute versus Relative sleeper effects


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    Generalizing the credibility construct

    • Credibility applies not only to the rich and famous

    • institutions and organizations possess credibility as well

    • In dyadic encounters; there are two sources whose credibility is at stake

    Do fictional spokespersons possess credibility?


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    Enhancing credibility

    • Prepare thoroughly. Never “wing it.”

      • Be organized, fluent, composed.

      • Manage your time carefully.

      • Anticipate likely questions.

    • Cite evidence and source qualifications.

      • Cite credible sources and evidence within your presentation.

    • State your own background and expertise.

      • Demonstrate that you know what you are talking about.

    • Build trust by identifying with your audience.

      • Emphasize similarities, common values, shared goals.

    • Display goodwill by showing that you care.

      • Be genuine, authentic.

      • Show you have your listeners’ interests at heart.


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