The Shareholder Online The alumni magazine of Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

The Power of Celebrity, Part 1 of 5

Octavia Spencer, Auburn University, Oscars

“In 1863, the popular European beverage Vin Mariani began earning some of the very first celebrity endorsements, including Britain’s Queen Victoria and Popes Leo XIII and Pius X. The reason for Vin Mariani’s popularity had a lot to do with the fact that it was a mix of Bordeaux wine and coca leaves exact. When it was imported to the United States as a patent medicine, Vin Mariani’s cocaine content was higher than its European counterpart”. -Elliot Feldman

Celebrity endorsements have been around for hundreds of years – evoked by clever businessmen, brands and agencies-of-record. But how much do we really know about the psychology and economic impact of these partnerships?

Drs. Astrid Keel and Rajan Nataraajan, both faculty members at Auburn University, have turned their studies to the topic of marketing celebrity. Keel and Nataraajan published “Celebrity Endorsements and Beyond: New Avenues for Celebrity Branding” in Psychology & Marketing. In the paper, the pair review different models of celebrity selection, outline several case studies and investigate a number of topics that require further research.

Upcoming blogs here on will cover some of these important topics. Be on the lookout for these upcoming articles:

  1. Case Studies: The Celebrity “Eclipse” – What is “eclipsing”? How can it be avoided? What are some case studies that demonstrate synergy between celebrity and product?
  2. Discussion: What’s in a Name? Celebrity Backed & Branded Products – What happens when a celebrity goes one step beyond endorsement and actually develops a product or licenses their name for the product? Think celebrity perfume and clothing lines? We’ll take a look at the current research!
  3. Discussion: Consumer Reactions to Celebrity – Does age matter when it comes to celebrity endorsements? Are certain demographics more “vulnerable” than others when it comes to celeb endorsements?
  4. Discussion: Celebrity and Philanthropy – The Jerry Lewis Foundation. Angelina Jolie as the UN’s Goodwill Ambassador. The list of celebrity-backed non-profits is ever-growing. What are the shifts in perception – good and bad – when a celebrity gets involved!

For a link to the full article, please click here!

Dr. Astrid Keel is an Assistant Professor in Auburn University’s Department of Marketing. Auburn University’s College of Business is a preeminent public institution located in America’s beautiful Southeast, consistently named a top 100 business school by Forbes and a leader in executive education by European CEO.

Dr. Rajan Nataraajan is Professor and Director of Consumer Economics within Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts.

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(4) Comments

  1. Pingback: The Power of Celebrity, 2 of 5 | The Shareholder Online

  2. Pingback: The Power of Celebrity, 3 of 5 | The Shareholder Online

  3. Pingback: The Power of Celebrity, Part 4 of 5 | The Shareholder Online

  4. Pingback: The Power of Celebrity: Part 5 of 5 | The Shareholder Online

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