Impact of celebrity endorsement in
advertising on brand image among
Kara Chan, Yu Leung Ng and Edwin K. Luk
Purpose – Does celebrity endorsement work and how does it work among adolescents? This article
aims to identity attributes of celebrity endorsers and attributes of celebrity endorsement advertisements
that are most appealing to the adolescents. The article also seeks to examine adolescents’ perceptions
about how celebrity-endorsement advertisements work.
Design/methodology/approach – A focus group study among 76 Chinese adolescents aged 13 to 19
was conducted. Interviewees were asked to identify the speciﬁc elements of advertisements using
celebrity endorsement that were most appealing to them. They were asked to suggest how
advertisements using celebrity endorsements work.
Findings – Results found that interviewees were best able to recall celebrity endorsers whom they
considered attractive, funny and expressive. They identiﬁed popularity, a good image, and congruence
between the celebrity’s image and that of the brand as important factors for marketers to consider in
selecting celebrity endorsers. A majority of the interviewees perceived that using a celebrity in an ad
would increase brand awareness, attract the celebrity’s fans, encourage trial, and enhance purchase
Research limitations/implications – A theoretical model on how advertisements using celebrity
endorsements work from the point-of-view of adolescents was constructed.
Originality/value – Previous studies on celebrity endorsement have been mainly quantitative in nature.
The present study adopts a qualitative methodology and ﬁlls a gap in the literature.
Keywords Communication effects, Brand image, Adolescents, Hong Kong, Focus group studies,
Young adults, Advertising, Celebrities
Paper type Research paper
Joey Yung was very busy these days. After winning the one of Top Ten Local Artistes awards she
was hired to endorse Sensa Cools herbal drink. Inside sources report that her advertising
contract was worth one million US dollars. What’s more, the advertisement was shot at an
extravagant hotel in Phuket, Thailand (Enesis Group, 2011).
News such as this about celebrity involvement in product endorsements appears frequently
in the Hong Kong entertainment news. Newspapers obviously perceive that their audience is
interested in the commercial activities of media celebrities.
Celebrity endorsement is a common marketing communication strategy for building brand
image. Advertisers believe that the use of a celebrity affects advertising effectiveness, brand
recall and recognition, as well as purchase intentions and follow-through (Spry et al., 2011).
There have been many studies of celebrity endorsement in recent years (e.g. Hakimi et al.,
2011; Hung et al., 2011; Spry et al., 2011). These studies have examined the inﬂuence of
celebrity endorsement on young adults (Hakimi et al., 2011), celebrity worship on purchase
intentions (Hung et al., 2011), and the celebrity’s credibility on the brand’s consumer-based
equity (Spry et al., 2011). However, none of these studies has focused only on adolescents,
DOI 10.1108/17473611311325564 VOL. 14 NO. 2 2013, pp. 167-179, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1747-3616
Kara Chan is Professor and
Head of Department of
Yu Leung Ng is a Research
Assistant and Edwin K. Luk
is a Lecturer, all at the
Hong Kong Baptist
University, Hong Kong,
This project was supported by
the Centre for Media and
Communication Research of
the School of Communication,
Hong Kong Baptist University.
The authors wish to thank the
anonymous reviewer for his/her
valuable insights on an earlier
version of this paper.