Abstract: The research investigated the increasing use of celebrity endorsement in advertisements with a particular focus on Pepsi-Cola. Celebrities’ endorsement is one of the many strategies employed by advertisers or brand managers to build, promote and sustain a brand or the company at large. The study was anchored on Perception Theory and Mental Model. A survey research method was adopted while a questionnaire was adopted to elicit data from the respondents within Lagos State Polytechnic, Ojo, Lagos State. Respondents were drawn using the accidental sampling technique. The data collected were analyzed and interpreted using the frequency and percentage method with aid of tables. A larger percentage of the respondents (90%) are exposed to advertising campaigns on various media especially on Billboard/poster (33.3%), television (27.7%), radio (22.2%), and online (11%) respectively. Many of the respondents (77.7%) admitted that they saw celebs in Pepsi advertising campaigns many times. On whether celebrities featured on Pepsi adverts have an impact on the respondents, 61% of the respondents stressed that featuring celebs have little or no impact on them. It is evident that many of the respondents (53.3%) partially agreed that the use of celebrities by Pepsi placed the company as market leader. It was recommended that seductive women image should be used with caution because some cultures and religions negate its use. Equally, the body saddled with the responsibility to control and see to what and how the advertising business operates (APCON) should be thorough in the discharge of their duties.
1.1 Background to the Study
Celebrity endorsement or celebrity branding is a form of an advertising campaign or marketing strategy used by brands, companies, or non-profit organizations that involves celebrities or a well-known person using their social status or their fame to help promote a product, service or even raise awareness on environmental or social matters. In this study model and celebrity will be used interchangeably as the two connote the same thing in this as far as this study is concerned.
Marketers use popular celebrities endorsers in hopes that the positive images of the celebrity endorser of the brand will also be passed on to the products or the brand image associated with the celebrities. May companies and brands do this but the most notable ones among them include but are not limited to Genevieve Nnaji’s used by Etisalat, Lux, Cintrion Energy drink, Range Rover Evogue, Etisalat, Polo and Amstel Malta, P Square by Etisalat, Funke Akindele by Vita Foam,Globacom,Jobberman.com, Qlichy.com, Klin detergent, OMO, Wizkid by MTN, Pepsi, Guinness, Mr Ibu by Sports Betting company (MerryBet), GoTv. Also, Saka by Etisalat, MTN, Soulmate hair cream and many more (Olayinka, 2016).
Celebrity branding is also known as celebrity endorsement and is a form of publication by portraying a well-recognized sports or entertainment celebrity to be a brand ambassador for a company or firm, and by using their social status to promote a service or product (Udo, Nwulu, & Stella, 2015).
Marketers spend enormous amounts of money annually on celebrity endorsement contracts based on the belief that celebrities are effective spokespeople for their products or brands (Katyal, 2007). Celebrity Endorsement is viewed as a billion-dollar industry in today’s era. Various companies are signing deals with celebrities in the hope that by using celebrities they can accomplish a unique and relevant position in the minds of the consumers. Celebrity endorsement is increasingly being employed across various industries regardless of the product type. It is known to be playing the role of a signalling strategy (Mustafa, 2005). Also According to Reynolds (2000) celebrity endorsement can give a brand a touch of glamour.
Celebrities are used well-known persons’ faces to help promote a product or service often through radio, television, newspaper, magazine, billboard, digital platforms, online etc. It also involves celebrities’ appearances at events of Pepsi such as launching and getting together. It may involve celebrity use to display the product in the public with the intention to boost sales volume and have a positive impact on the product.
However, one of the brands that use models a lot in its advertisement and other marketing means is Pepsi-Cola as a means of competing with other brands in marketing. One of the many reasons for introducing celebrities in advertisements by Pepsi-Cola include but are not limited to the following:
- Pepsi-Cola has Coca-Cola and Bigi products as the main competitors in those days and even up to date.
- Pepsi-Cola is among the three most popular soft drinks in Nigeria and many countries.
- Pepsi-Cola wants to generate more publicity.
- Pepsi-Cola wants to remind consumers more in a different way
Thus, during the 1960s, Joanie Sommers sang two popular commercial songs (“It’s Pepsi, for those who think young” and “Now you see it, now you don’t, oh, Diet Pepsi”) for Pepsi-Cola that were run in commercials and for which she came to be often referred to as “The Pepsi Girl” in 1974 Joseph Nicoletti, then of Brooklyn N.Y. now music-film consultant, Laguna Beach, California, sung and produced the theme “You’re Drinking Diet Pepsi and it Shows.
Also, 1984, Michael Jackson endorsed Pepsi with the launching of an advert called “The New Generation” with the objective to make Pepsi look young and coke look old. Jackson continued to endorse Pepsi with a series of adverts over 9 years. In short, it was Michael Jackson who started the whole Pepsi-celebrity tradition. In 1983, he and the cola brand inked a $5 million advertising deal, which at the time was an advertising record.
Michael Jackson was the undisputed King of Pop and at the time, the most recognizable face in the world. Pepsi leveraged this popularity for its “New Generation” rebranding campaign when it completely overhauled Pepsi’s old image and positioned itself as a hip, young alternative to stodgy, old-fashioned Coke. The campaign went down in the annals of advertising for a number of reasons: For many, it was the first time they had ever seen an ad with such high production value rivalling that of a top-budget Hollywood movie. Furthermore, Jackson was intimately involved in the choreography and entire look of the ad. Ever since then, several other models and celebrities had been used including by not limited to the followings:
- Ray Charles’ 1990-1993 ads for Diet Pepsi in “You Got the Right One, Baby, Uh Huh,” as “Uh Huh”.
- Also, Kendall Jenner a reality television star and fashion model was a Pepsi 24-hour wonder in April, she starred in a new PepsiCo. (PEP) “Live for Moments Anthem” ad
- Beyonce Knowles: The artist formerly known as Destiny got $50 million for a multi-ad contract with Pepsi in 2012, which still ranks as one of the most lucrative celebrity endorsements of all time. In 2004, she appeared in a Superbowl Pepsi ad alongside Britney Spears and Pink.
- Britney Spear’s 2001 “Joy of Pepsi” ads were provocative and showed her in the glory of her prime. They also hilariously featured former Senator Bob Dole, who plays himself viewing the ad on his TV and saying “Down boy,” ostensibly to his dog.
In Nigeria, lots of celebrities especially sports and music pop stars have endorsed Pepsi at one time or the other while many have even featured in its advertisement campaigns, the list includes but is not limited to the following: Davido, Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, Tekno, SeyiShay, DJ Spinall, DJ Xclusive, DJ Obi and DJ Cuppy etc. it is against this background that the study investigated increasing use of celebrity endorsement in advertisements with a particular focus on Pepsi-Cola and how much influence it has on the buying and consumption habit of the audience.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Models otherwise called celebrities endorsement have been one of the main marketing strategies to persuade and get sales. A study conducted by Taiwanese shows that consumers show greater recall of products that have been endorsed by celebrities regardless of whether they are actual fans or not. The human brain recognizes celebrities similarly to how it recognizes people we actually know. The effect is that, if consumers happen to be fans, they place a higher value on products that celebrities are endorsing – it is as if they are receiving advice from a valued friend.
Also, critics have identified the use of celebrities vouching for or promoting products, and brands as deceptive forms of marketing as some consumers may consume product or use a brand because its sports lord has been used to advertise it.
Although, lots of studies have been conducted on the use of models and celebrities most of them are conducted in abroad which cannot be replicated in Nigeria even where they exist they often focus on brands generally. It is against this background the research investigated increasing use of celebrity endorsement in advertisements with a particular focus on Pepsi-Cola
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Although, the primary objective of the study is to the increasing use of celebrity endorsement in advertisements, particularly in Pepsi-Cola. Other specific objectives are:
- To examine the extent to which Yabatech students are exposed to celebrities in Pepsi advertisements.
- To ascertain whether the use of celebrities endorsement has any positive effects on Pepsi-Cola buying decision among Yabatech students.
1.4 Research Questions:
- To what extent are Yabatech students exposed to celebrities in Pepsi advertisements?
- Are celebrities endorsements perceived as having any positive effects on Pepsi buying decision among Yabatech students?
1.5 Significance of Study
This research finding will contribute significantly to the existing body of knowledge in the area of mass communication, advertising and marketing in general.
The advertisers will through this study realized and understand the true impact of various strategies particularly the use of models/celebrities in promoting their brands, products and other services, especially in the era of competing brands. Also, the kind of music celebrities uses contributes significantly to motivating customers.
Media such as radio, television, digital platforms including advertising agencies may gain from this study as it will uncover what consumers want and how they want it in order to design an appeal and strategies to gain more audiences to their clients
All government and other stakeholders that are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring fair and suitable commercial may equally benefit from this study as it serves as an eye-opening by monitoring the kind of celebrities, models, lyrics and other strategies and appeals combine in other to prevent obscene, respect for the mirror and religion among others by enforcing truthfulness, fairness and non- deceit campaign that may persuade or lure audience to buy fewer quality products as critics once said celebrities use in the advert is more of deceit.
Researchers from advertising, marketing, mass communication and other related fields may who may be interested in conducting similar or related one shall find this study relevant as it offers them an empirical opportunity to see what has been done while it will serve as a reference materials for them, thus fill some gaps in musical advertising and how it works especially in this era where music is gaining more momentum in the society.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research which investigated increasing use of celebrity endorsement in advertisements was narrowed in scope to the Lagos State Polytechnic Students due to the proximity of the institution to the researcher. The brand (is picked because it is one of the most obvious brands that use lots of models/celebrities to promote its brand) while Laspotech students were also selected because they are often exposed to Pepsi brand ambassadors at different shows, and television commercials and even on various digital signage in Lagos.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Trends: This refers to the proliferation, popularity and growth rate in the use of models otherwise called celebrities in Pepsi brand adverts and other commercials among companies in Nigeria.
Use of Celebrities: This means when a brand like Pepsi seeks celebrities such as Musicians like Wizkid or footballers like Osasi Odenwingie, Jay Jay Okocha to use their product in public, promote it or appear in their important event such as launching etc
Celebrity: They are stars or roles used in adverting products or services, it could be television stars, actors actresses, sport figures or entertainers whose appearance in the advertisement of such goods or services sustains the interest of his /her audience in the goods or services so advertised.
Advertising: It is the process of disseminating persuasive information to the public through a non-personal medium like radio, television, magazine, newspaper, billboard and online with the aim to lure them to buy or use Pepsi especially with the use of celebrities as a part of its strategy.
Pepsi: Pepsi is a carbonated soft drink produced and manufactured by PepsiCo. Originally created and developed in 1893 by Caleb Bradham and introduced as Brad’s Drink, it was renamed Pepsi-Cola on August 28, 1898, and then as Pepsi in 1961.
LASPOTECH Students: These are the students of Lagos State College of Technology otherwise called Yabatech who have a tendency to have exposed or see celebrities in advertisements especially a celebrity showcasing Pepsi brand.