Moral character effects in endorser perception

Open access


This research consists of two experimental studies investigating the influence of moral character on endorser perception, and the influence of perceiver characteristics on tarnished endorser perception and brand evaluations. Perceiver characteristics are discussed from the perspectives of dispositional tendency, innate moral intuitions and self-location. The first study compared the influences of moral character and warmth on endorser perception. The second study examined the impact of perceiver characteristics on tarnished endorsers and brand evaluations. The findings reveal that moral character is more influential than warmth on endorser evaluations. Tarnished endorsers with immoral character exert more negative influence than tarnished endorsers with coldness character on brand evaluations. Innate moral intuitions and self-location moderate brand evaluations. High-morality consumers and heart-locators are more vulnerable than low-morality and brain-locators to the brands endorsed by tarnished endorsers, respectively.

Ahluwalia, R., Burnkrant, R.E. and Unnava, H.R. (2000), “Consumer response to negative publicity: The moderating role of commitment”, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 203-214.

Amos, C., Holmes, G. and Strutton, D. (2008), “Exploring the relationship between celebrity endorser effects and advertising effectiveness”, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 209–234.

Bartz, S., Molchanov, A. and Stork, P.A. (2013), “When a celebrity endorser is disgraced: A twenty-five-year event study”, Marketing Letter, Vol. 24, No.2, pp. 131–141.

Belch, G.E. and Belch, M.A. (2013), “A content analysis study of the use of celebrity endorsers in magazine advertising”, International Journal of advertising, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 369–389.

Carrillat, F.A., D’Astous, A. and Lazure, J. (2013), “For better, for worse? What to do when celebrity endorsements go bad”, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 15-30.

Chang, C. (2010), “Making unique choices or being like others: How priming self-concepts influences advertising effectiveness”, Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 399–416.

Cuddy, A.J.C., Fiske, S.T. and Glick, P. (2008), “Warmth and competence as universal dimensions of social perception: The stereotype content model and the BIAS Map”, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 40, pp. 61–149.

Eisend, M. and Langner, T. (2010), “Immediate and delayed advertising effects of celebrity endorsers’ attractiveness and expertise”, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 527–546.

Fetterman, A.K. and Robinson, M.D. (2013), “Do you use your head or follow your heart? Self-location predicts personality, emotion, decision making, and performance”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 105, No. 2, pp. 316–334.

Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C. and Glick, P. (2007), “Universal dimensions of social cognition: Warmth and competence”, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 77–83.

Fiske, S.T., Cuddy, A.J.C., Glick, P. and Xu, J. (2002), “A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 82, No. 6, pp. 878–902.

Fleck, N., Korchia, M. and le Roy, I. (2012), “Celebrities in advertising: Looking for congruence or likability?”, Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 29, No. 9, pp. 651-662.

Fong, C.P.S. and Wyer, Jr., R.S. (2012), “Consumers’ reactions to a celebrity endorser scandal”, Psychology and Marketing, Vol. 29, No. 11, pp. 885-896.

Friedman, H. H. and Friedman, L. (1979), “Endorser effectiveness by product type”, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 19, pp. 63–71.

Goodwin, G.P., Piazza, J. and Rozin, P. (2014), “Moral character predominates in person perception and evaluation”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 106, No. 1, pp. 148–168.

Graham, J., Haidt, J. and Nosek, B.A. (2009), “Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 96, No. 5, pp. 1029–1046.

Hepler, J. and Albarracín, D. (2013), “Attitudes without objects: Evidence for a dispositional attitude, its measurement, and its consequences”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 104, No. 6, pp. 1060–1076.

Homer, P.M. (1995), “Ad size as an indicator of perceived advertising costs and effort: The effects on memory and perceptions”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 1-12.

Jung, J.M., Polyorat, K. and Kellaris, J.J. (2009), “A cultural paradox in authority-based advertising”, International Marketing Review, Vol. 26, No. 6, pp. 601-632.

Kahle, L.B. and Homer, P. M. (1985), “Physical attractiveness of celebrity endorsers: A social adaptation perspective”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 954–961.

Kareklas, I., Carlson, J.R. and Muehling, D.D. (2012), “The role of regulatory focus and self-view in green advertising message FDAMing”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 25-39.

Kempf, D.S. and Smith, R.E. (1998), “Consumer processing of product trial and the influence of prior advertising: A structural modeling approach”, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 325-338.

Knittel, C.R. and Stango, V. (2014), “Celebrity endorsements, firm value, and reputation risk: Evidence from the Tiger Woods scandal”, Management Science, Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 21-37.

Kupperman, J. (1991), Character, Oxford University Press: New York.

Lakoff, G. (1986), “A figure of thought”, Metaphor & symbolic qctivity, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 215–225.

Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1999), Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought. Basic Books: New York.

Landau, M.J., Meier, B.P. and Keefer, L.A. (2010), “A metaphor-enriched social cognition”, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 136, No. 6, pp. 1045–1067.

Lee, J.S., Kwak, D.H. and Braunstein-Minkove, J.R. (2016), “Coping with endorsers’ immoral behavior: Roles of identification and moral emotions on moral reasoning strategies”, Journal of Sport Management, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 176-191.

Lee, J.S., Kwak, D.H. and Moore, D. (2015), “Athletes’ transgressions and sponsor evaluations: A focus on consumers’ moral reasoning strategies”, Journal of Sport Management, Vol. 29, No. 6, pp. 672-687.

Lee, Y. and Koo, J. (2015), “Athlete endorsement, attitudes, and purchase intention: The interaction effect between endorser-product congruence and endorser credibility”, Journal of Sport Management, Vol. 29, No. 5, pp. 523-538.

Liu, M.T. and Brock, J.L. (2011), “Selecting a female endorser in China”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45, No. 7-8, pp. 1214-1235.

Louie, T.A., Kulik, R.L. and Jacobson, R. (2001), “When bad things happen to the endorsers of good products”, Marketing Letters, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 13-23.

Louie, T.A., Obermiller, C. (2002), “Consumer response to a firm’s endorser (dis)association decisions”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 41–52.

Marcus, G. (2004), The birth of the mind, Basic Books: New York, NY.

McCracken, G. (1989), “Who is the celebrity endorser? Cultural foundations of the endorsement process”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 310–321.

Money, B.R., Shimp, T.A. and Sakano, T. (2006), “Celebrity endorsements in Japan and the United States: Is negative information all that harmful?”, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 113–123.

Ohanian, R. (1990), “Construction and validation of a scale to measure celebrity endorsers’ perceived expertise, trustworthiness, and attractiveness”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 39–52.

Ohanian, R. (1991), “The impact of celebrity spokespersons’ perceived image on consumers’ intention to purchase”, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 46–54.

Park, J.K. and Roedder John, D. (2012), “Capitalizing on brand personalities in advertising: The influence of implicit self-theories on ad appeal effectiveness”, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 424-432.

Petty, R.E., Cacioppo, J.T. and Schumann, D. (1983), “Central and peripheral routes to advertising effectiveness: The moderating role of involvement”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 135–146.

Pikas, B., Schied, R. and Pikas, A. (2012), “Assessing the qualities of endorsers: A study of consumer preferences for the three qualities of sports endorsers attractiveness, trustworthiness, and expertise”, Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness, Vol. 6, pp. 42-55.

Polyorat, K. and Alden, D.L. (2005), “Self-construal and need-for-cognition effects on brand attitudes and purchase intentions in response to comparative advertising in Thailand and the United States”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 37-48.

Rice, D.H., Kelting, K. and Lutz R.J. (2012), “Multiple endorsers and multiple endorsements: The influence of message repetition, source congruence and involvement on brand attitudes”, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 249-259.

Richerson, P. J. and Boyd, R. (2005), Not by genes alone: How culture transformed human evolution, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL.

Shapiro, S. and Krishnan, H.S. (2001), “Memory-based measures for assessing advertising effects: A comparison of explicit and implicit memory effects”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 1-13.

Singh, S.N., Lessig, V. P., Kim, D., Gupta, R. and Hocutt, M.A. (2000), “Does your ad have too many pictures?”, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 40, pp. 11-27.

Silvera, D.H. and Austad, B. (2004), “Factors predicting the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement advertisements”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 38, No. 11-12, pp. 1509-1526.

Spry, A., Pappu, R. and Cornwell, T.B. (2011), “Celebrity endorsement, brand credibility and brand equity”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45, No. 6, pp. 882-909.

Thwaites, D., Lowe, B., Monkhouse, L.L. and Barnes, B.R. (2012), “The impact of negative publicity on celebrity ad endorsements”, Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 29, No. 9, pp. 663-673.

Till, B.D. and Shimp, T.A. (1998), “Endorsers in advertising: the case of negative celebrity information”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 67-82.

Tsai, W.H. and Tsai, S. (2011), “How minority consumers use targeted advertising as pathways to self-empowerment”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 85–97.

Turiel, E. (1983), The development of social knowledge: Morality and convention, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Um, N.-H. (2013), “Celebrity scandal fallout: How attribution style can protect the sponsor”, Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 30, No. 6, pp. 529-541.

Wang, C.L., Bristol, T., Mowen, J.C. and Chakraborty, G. (2000), “Alternative modes of self-construal: dimensions of connectedness-separateness and advertising appeals to the cultural and gender-specific self”, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 107–115.

Zhang, J. (2009), “The effect of advertising appeals in activating self-construals: A case of bicultural Chinese Generation X consumers”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 63-81.

Zhang, L., Moore, M. and Moore, R. (2011), “The effect of self-construals on the effectiveness of comparative advertising”, Marketing Management Journal, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 195-206.

Journal Information

CiteScore 2017: 0.45

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.169
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.436


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 264 264 24
PDF Downloads 110 110 12