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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?.

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"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
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 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
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”
transfer effect
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
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 hypothesis7
The match-up hypothesis
  • How do these four endorsers fit the “My Life, My Card” American Express image?
more about celebrity 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
  • 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
  • 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
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
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
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
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
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