CREDIBILITY "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)
What is Credibility? • Definition of credibility: "judgments made by a perceiver (e.g., message recipient) concerning the believability of a communicator" (O'Keefe, 1995, pp. 130-131)
A reliable generalization • “A highly credible source is commonly found to induce more persuasion toward the advocacy than a low credibility source” (Pornpitakpan, 2004) • “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)
Celebrity endorsers: Selling ethos • 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” • http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/more/specials/fortunate50/2007/
Transfer effect • when a consumer identifies with a celebrity he/she purchases the product in the hope of claiming some of these transferred meanings for their own lives (Kelman 2006; McCracken 1989).
The match-up hypothesis • Endorsers are more effective when there is a "fit" between the endorser and the endorsed product Kamins, 1990.
The match-up hypothesis • How do these four endorsers fit the “My Life, My Card” American Express image?
What brands would you match-up with Katie Couric, Amy Winehouse, will.i.am, and Steven Spielberg? Which brands go with which endorsers?
More about celebrity endorsers • $800 million was spent in the U.S. in 1998 on spokespersons Thompson, 1998) • Reliance on celebrity endorsers crosses all product categories (Thompson, 1998) • gender and celebrity endorsers • Once relegated 2nd class status, women endorsers now lead the field
Are celebrity spokespersons effective? • 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. • But: • is what they say, what they would actually do? • Even 3% of a national television audience would represent millions of viewers.
Celebrity endorsers: the downside • Tarnished halos: • Michael Phelps: photographed smoking pot • Mel Gibson (DUI and anti-Semitic remarks • Tom Cruise (kooky behavior, denigrated Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants) • Michael Richards (string of racial epithets) • scandals produce negative fallout for the sponsor's image as well • increased use of animated and animal endorsers can be attributed, in part, to a fear of endorser scandals hurting business
Celebrities and politics • "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
Conceptualizing credibility • credibility as a receiver-based construct • credibility as a multi-dimensional construct • credibility as a situational/contextual construct • (McCroskey & Young, 1981) what isn’t part of source credibility? • physical attractiveness? clothing?)
How credibility works • Petty & Cacioppo's ELM model • central route (cognitive processing, deliberation, reflection) • peripheral route (credibility, appearance factors, likeability) • “preferential” processing • role of involvement (familiarity with, importance of issue) • Note: in Wilson & Sherrell's 1993) meta-analysis, 8 of 12 credibility studies (67%) supported the predictions of the ELM.
The factor analytic approach to credibility • primary dimensions • expertise (competence) • trustworthiness (safety) • goodwill (perceived caring) • secondary dimensions • dynamism or extroversion • composure • sociability • inspiring • functional approach to credibility; dimensions vary from situation to situation
expertise • Sources who are high in expertise are generally more persuasive than sources who lack expertise • High expertise sources can advocate more discrepant positions on issues • Expertise may interact with attractiveness, gender, and perceived similarity
trustworthiness • Jared Fogle, for Subway, isn’t a celebrity, but his “plain folks” appeal makes him trustworthy. • Richard Hatch won the million dollars on Survivor, but is he trustworthy?
Sources can be high in one dimension and low in another • Simon Cowell may have expertise, but lack perceived caring • Sarah Palin was low in expertise, but high in trustworthiness (genuine, authentic)
Amazing feats of credibility! • Bill Clinton, dissociation between the man and the office: • Clinton’s job approval ratings remained at a lofty 65% during the Monica Lewinsky scandal while his personal popularity plummeted to a dismal 35%. • Tiger Woods, defying the traditional logic • Only a few celebrity superstars have been able to successfully endorse multiple products • Tiger Woods is on track to become the first billion dollar endorser.
Moderating variables that affect credibility • receiver involvement: credibility matters little if receiver involvement is high • Low involved receivers are more susceptible to credibility appeals • reliance on peripheral processing • High involved listeners are less susceptible to credibility appeals • reliance on central processing • Authoritarianism • Authoritarians are highly susceptible to appeals by admired sources • Timing of source identification • The source and the source’s qualifications must be identified prior to the presentation of the message
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?
Institutional credibility: the good, the bad, and the ugly • tarnished corporateand government images • FEMA: The Katrina disaster • Wall Street: underestimating risk • CIA and intelligence on WMD • Enron: gaming the electricity market • Wal-Mart: low wages, poor working conditions