INFLUENCE OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT ON SALES AND PATRONAGE OF INFINIX SMART PHONES

Abstract: The study investigated the influence of celebrity endorsement on sales and patronage of Infinix Phone among Adeleke University Students as one of the strategies used by advertisers is the use of celebrities endorsement as part of their marketing mix to promote brand and make enough sales. Advertiser or brand personnel often use of sport persons or entertainer such as popular film actors, popular comedian, musicians, sport persons and other popular personality that has lots of fans. The study was anchored Uses and Gratification Theory, Source Credibility Theory and Individual Difference Theory. The research used survey method while questionnaire was used as a data collection instrument to elicit responses from respondents. 393 copies of questionnaire were administered while 378 copies were correctly filled and returned for analysis. The data collected were analysed and discussed in descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage method). Findings show that majority of the respondents have seen Infinix phone advert recently as many admitted that they see Infinix phone adverts on television, Internet, billiboard and newspaper often while they don’t often hear Infinix adverts on radio. Similarly, many of respondents (33.3%) agree that Sports and entertainment icons are the best personalities to be used to promote Infinix phone adverts. However, majority of respondents (33.3%) agree that Infinix Brand engage celebrities with endorsement deals to create awareness of the product and boost consumer sales. Majority of respondents (52.4%) strongly agree that the celebrity’s Image of Davido can make one to utilize the inifinix phone repeatedly. The study recommended that orgnisations that are responsible for controlling, fet, and approve advertisement such as APCON, should be exhaustive in the discharge of their duties while media should be careful and preview advertising contents before the actual broadcast time or before use because harmful advertising can equally harm them and thereby affect the credibility and integrity.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1        Background of the Study

The youth market in the world currently is highly technology savvy. This section of the society has been actively transforming the application of digital technology in ways that nobody ever thought of. This market segment, which is made up of people ranging between ages 18-40 is keen on using internet, building websites, playing games and sharing multimedia messages via social media (Selian, 2014). The appetite of the young generation for technology is portrayed through the many ways that Smartphones have become essential communication tools among the youth in Nigeria and worldwide. Studies have discovered that young consumers have a fast adoption curve and that their desire to stay connected in communication to friends is great. However, they tend to be prone to handset fads, and long-term prospects for innovative.

The fast growth of the industry is believed to be as a result of mobile phones becoming a necessity for every Nigerian. Mobile phones, more so smartphones, have made work easier in every sector, right from business, education, and governance among others. According to Sultan & Rohm (2015), these digital gadgets are currently used as fashion items and are also used by the young generation as status symbol to express themselves.

With increased competition, as new players join the market, mobile phone companies are forced to develop aggressive marketing strategies that are relevant to the dynamics of the day. Apart from technological advancement, social dynamics and external factors like price, warrant, and experience play part in building loyalty. The strategies employed focus not only on better service quality and functionality but also on the perceived image that ensures consumers stick to their products or brands, an art that is commonly known as branding. Branding influences a customer’s product patronage, especially for the young markets and therefore companies are determined to build strong brands (Milford & Nwulu, 2015). Through branding, organizations are in a position to create value and meaning for their products as they wish to make consumers stick and choose their brands anytime. One of the main ways of branding, especially in the telecommunication industry, is the use of celebrity endorsement. Celebrity endorsement also called celebrity marketing is a new phenomenon in the world of marketing communication/advertising.

Various companies have validation deals with celebrities in the hope that by using celebrities they can achieve a unique and relevant position in the minds of the consumers. Choice of the celebrity, hence, is of extreme importance and is usually done based on many different considerations appeal, looks, popularity or even just a fictional figure to endorse a brand (Liu, 2010). Advertisers often select endorsers as a promotional tactic to communicate the features of their product or brand. Today, this advertising approach appeared to be on the rise across all media types.

Celebrity Endorsement makes Advertisement more remarkable and the company in the short – run makes high brand consciousness among a larger audience as well as an increase in market share (Milford & Nwulu, 2015). Companies use Celebrity Endorsement for very good reasons. It is believed that celebrity endorsement enables instant awareness and immediate action. Bearing in mind the huge amount of money companies are ready to pay for celebrity endorsement, it shows that many companies have had considerable success using noticeable names and appearances as promoting strategy (Milford & Nwulu, 2015). According to Friedman and Friedman (2019), defined that celebrity endorser is an individual who is known to the public (actor, sports figure, entertainer, etc.) for his or her accomplishments in areas other than that of the product class endorsed.

However, the Advertisers should note that the use of a well-known personality, who can create original interest and attention for an Advertisement, does not essentially result in attitude changes towards the product. As well, the study from Till and Shimp (2018), presented an evidence that positive feelings towards advertising and products do not certainly translate into genuine behavior or buying intentions. According to Ifeanyichukwu (2016), the practice of using Celebrities in Advertisements to promote products dates back to more than a hundred years globally but its practice in Nigeria can be traced to the early 90’s. Shimp (2015) opined that more than 25 percent of the total advertisements aired use celebrities. This scenario is not different in Nigeria.

Thus, we see famous Nollywood stars, football stars, basketball stars, athletes etc. signing up with a particular brand by featuring in their Advertisements on televisions, Newspapers and Billboards. For instance, Veteran actress Genevieve Nnaji was a Lux soap ambassador (Lux is a homecare product by the UNILEVER), Actress Chika Ike is also an ambassador for energy drink, and Actress Funke Akindele popularly known as Jenifa is the face of Jobberman etc. Carbonated drink industries are not left out as we see beverage companies In Nigeria signing up celebrities (actors, actresses, athletes, musicians) as their brand ambassadors.

These ambassadors feature in the firms Advertisements whether in the print media or electronic media. Pepsi drink endorsed popular entertainers like Davido, Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, Burnaboy, Teni entertainer, Seyi shay, Techno, DJ Cuppy, DJ obi DJ spinall DJ Xclusive, DAVIDO amongst others and recently various smart phone companies like Techno and Infinix.

Research statistics in Nigeria have revealed that the use of celebrity advertisement has doubled in the past ten years that is statistics related to the consumer goods industry. The growth in the use of celebrities in brand message communication among both non-luxury brands and luxury brands has taken place. Many celebrities see the multibillion-dollar beverages market as a rewarding way to increase their already famous brand. Celebrities that were previously connected with the music industry or/and film industry are revealing their presence in the consumer market, particularly the telecommunication market (Milford & Nwulu, 2015). It is also worthy to note that a top celebrity (whether an athlete, movie star or musician) can be signed up to 20 different brands. That is to say, becoming brand ambassador for different brands at the same time (Ifeanyichukwu, 2016).

For instance, we see the pop duo Peter and Paul Okoye popularly known as Psquare as dominant GLO ambassadors. Peter Okoye is also the face of Olympic milk at the same time. Veteran Musician Olamide can be seen to be an ambassador for Etisalat (now 9 mobile), Vodka, Guinness and Ciroc. Dbanj is an ambassador for GLO, Apple/Beats by Dre. Young musician Wizkid is an ambassador for GLO and Pepsi. Singer Iyanya is an MTN ambassador, Zinox computers ambassador, and Solo mobile ambassador (a phone manufacturing company). The Music Lord Don Jazzy is an ambassador for MTN, Loya milk, and Samsung. Female Singer Omawumi is endorsed by GLO, konga.com, Mortein and Malta Guinness. Popular musician Flavour is an ambassador with Etisalat (now 9 mobile) and Life beer. Davido is an ambassador for MTN, and Guinness Nigeria. Firms/Products who do not have brand ambassadors have in one way or the other featured celebrities in their television commercials and other communication materials, for example Diamond bank, Kanekalon Hair fibre, Vitafoam, Klin etc. (Ifeanyichukwu, 2016).

The usage of Celebrities as means of communication has been frequently used in Advertising and Branding. This is done because it is assumed that celebrities have a powerful effect on the affluence of the brands they endorse. Advertisers believe that using celebrity endorser will foster, in the mind of the consumer that affect positively on the buying decision of consumers. Marketers use celebrity endorsement in order to help better storage of information in consumers’ minds which they can easily remember in purchasing situations (Liu, 2011). Celebrity endorsement is a practice gaining grounds in modern times. It has become pervasive in the advertising industry in Nigeria, as it has become a multi-million venture. Marketers use celebrity endorsement to influence the purchase decisions and patronage of consumers, in order to increase sales as well as expand market shares. Telecommunication companies in Nigeria have over the years adopted the use of celebrity endorsement as a marketing communications tool for decision and engagement of consumers to purchase product.

1.2        Statement of the Problem

Companies, civil society organizations and government agencies spend billions of naira annually placing one form of Advertisement or the other in the media. Also, companies, in their bid to outsmart one another for consumer’s attention and purchase decision, normally deploy various advertisement strategies. Some pay huge amounts of money to celebrities so as to identify themselves with their products. They do this in the hope that such an appearance will instantly produce a significant effect of making the product become popular and ultimately influence audience decision to purchase the product/service. The reality however is that several products in spite of celebrity endorsement and expensive advert have failed to attract customers’ attention or patronage towards many products. For example, when a celebrity is not accepted, his/her unacceptability may affect the product that he/she identifies with negatively.

According to various scholars’ findings showed that endorsement can have a negative effect on product patronage and purchase decisions of consumer, the product and even the celebrity through shadow effects or multiple products endorsement; similarly, the appearance of a celebrity may not guarantee effective advertisement, especially if there is no correlation or in-depth attachment between a celebrity and the endorsed brand (Lee et al., 2014; Ifeanyichukwu, 2016; Malik & Muhammad, 2016). An example of this is the endorsement of Harpic Toilet Cleanser by Nkem Owoh popularly known as Osuofia in Nigerian movie industry. The producer of Harpic, Reckit and Benkiser did not record any remarkable response from consumers because the advertisement was a mismatch as washing of toilet traditionally is not done by men in Africa and this in the long run affected the attitudes of consumers towards the product (Ifeanyichukwu, 2016).

Also, Guinness Extra Smooth Beer refused to renew the endorsement contract it has with 2face Idibia due to the latter’s sexual escapades for the fear that it may have negative effect on its brand and ultimately affects its credibility (Durojaiye, 2019). As a result, most organizations are faced with the problem of determining criteria and the best way (s) of using celebrities to endorse their product in such a manner as to produce desired results. Similarly, misfit between an endorser and the product being endorsed in terms of the inability of consumers to identify endorser’s quality with the product being advertised is an issue of concern in celebrity endorsement.

1.3        Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study was to study the influence of celebrity endorsement on sales and  patronage of Infinix Brand. Hence, the following are the specific objectives:

  1. To find out the Frequency of exposure to Celebrity Endorsement of Infinix Brand among consumers.
  2. To determine the extent celebrity endorsement increases the brand acceptance of Infinix product
  • To understand the Influence of Celebrity Endorsement of Infinix Brand on the Product patronage of consumers.
  1. To ascertain the influence of Celebrity Endorsement on the Brand Loyalty to Infinix produc

1.4        Research Questions

The following research questions were addressed in this research study:

  1. To what extent is the frequency of exposure to celebrity endorsement of Infinix brand among consumers.
  2. To what extent does celebrity endorsement increase the brand acceptance of Infinix product?
  • How does celebrity endorsement of Infinix brand influences the product patronage among consumers?
  1. To what extent is the influence of celebrity endorsement on the brand loyalty to Infinix product.

1.5        Scope of the Study

The study on the influence of Celebrity Endorsement on sales and patronage will be restricted to Infinix Product brand endorsed recently by DAVIDO an afrobeat singer in Nigeria; also the study will be limited to Undergraduates students of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State as consumers and study population. The study essentially is an investigation on acceptance of infinix phone among other brands of smart phones in the market place. 

1.6        Justification for the study

Apart from the iPhones that use the IOS and Nokia that uses the Windows operating system, the rest use Android operating systems. This means that their functionality is almost the same as they run on downloaded applications. Most of them also are of the same size, design and durability. Despite all the above, some brands are believed to be superior to the rest. For instance, a customer can go for a Samsung S8 that goes for N160,000.00 and not Tecno Phantom 8 that costs N85, 000 despite having the same functionality. Therefore, a need for a model representing more products patronage leading to brand loyalty is essential. My study thus provides empirical data on the influence of celebrity endorsement on products patronage towards new smart-phone brands called “Infinix”. Information generated from this research presents recommendations and guidelines for small smart/mobile phone companies to, hopefully, help them develop appropriate strategies for marketing in order to keep current customers on more product patronage, loyal and attract new ones.

1.6        Significance of the Study

This work will help Nigeria celebrity know the extent of their influence on endorsement of product on the patronage of the brand. It would also highlight if celebrity endorsement is an area in advertising that is worth thorough investigation as huge resources are expended by companies on advertisement annually.

The study will throw more light on the acceptability of a product as a result of its commercial is due to celebrity’s endorsement of the product with various intermingling factors such as music and graphics playing complementary roles.

Also, the research work will be of invaluable use as a literature review to researchers in mass communication and advertising department as a reference to further up research on celebrity endorsement and its effect.

1.7        Operational Definition of Terms

In this research work, the terms used were operationally defined, the meaning reflect how the researcher wants the terms to be understood in the context of the work.

Advertising: A group of activities aimed at dissemination of information many paid on personal formation concerning an idea, product or service (both new brand and old products) to compel action in accordance with the intent of an identified sponsor.

Celebrity: This is an expert in an industry such as entertainment, sports or politics with great popularity and respect from the public

Celebrity Endorser: Celebrity endorser is “any individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement”

Brand: An identifiable product, service, person or place augmented in such a way that the buyer or user perceives relevant, unique added values, which match their needs most closely.

Endorsement: The act of publicly saying that you approve of or support something or someone.

Product: an article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale.

Influence: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Smartphone: A smartphone is a mobile device that combines cellular and mobile computing functions into one unit.

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