INTRODUCTION/ ASSESSMENT OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT & PRODUCT PATRONAGE AMONG YOUTHS
Celebrity endorsement otherwise called celebrity branding, is a form of advertising campaign or marketing strategy use by companies which 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.
According to Friedman and Friedman (2019), celebrity endorser is an individual who is known to the public (actor, sports figure, entertainer, etc.) for his or her accomplishments. Celebrity endorsement entails 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 (Pughazhendi, Baskaran, Prakash and Balamurugan, 2012).
Equally, celebrity endorsement is the use of well-known persons’ face to help promote a product or service often through radio, television, newspaper, magazine, billboard and digital platforms etc. It also encompasses celebrity appearances at events of the company such as launching a new product, get together etc. It may embroil the use of celebrity to display or use their product in the public with the intention to boost sales volume and have positive impact on the product.
Meanwhile, companies use popular models/celebrity in hope that the positive image of the celebrity will also be passed on to the products or the brand. It should be added that companies spend huge amounts of money annually on celebrity endorsement contracts based on the belief that celebrities are effective spokespeople for their products or brands.
Biswas, Hussain and O’Donnell (2009), 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. Moreover, celebrity endorsement is increasingly being employed across various industries regardless of the product type. It is known to be playing the role of a signaling strategy.
However, though, lots of brands and companies are using celebrities to promote their brand and one of such foremost companies is Globalcom, Infinix, Pepsis and Airtel. 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. Similarly, the choice of the celebrity is of extreme importance and is usually done based on different considerations, popularity or even just a fictional figure to endorse a brand Advertisers often select endorsers as a promotional tactic to communicate the features of their product or brand.
It should be noted that 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. Companies use celebrity endorsement for very good reasons. It is believed that celebrity endorsement enables instant awareness and immediate action (Biswas, Hussain and O’Donnell, 2009).
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. According to a study by Till and Shimp (2018), presented an evidence that positive feelings towards advertising and products do not certainly translate into genuine behaviour 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.
Today, 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, radio, billboards and online. 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, Mofix, Kellox Coneflake 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.
May companies and brands do this but most notable ones among them include but 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 (Adeniran, 2020). To this end, the study assessed celebrity endorsement and product patronage by youths with a focus on Baze University students Abuja.