NEW YORK: A new algorithmic selection model promises to provide marketers with new insights into matching celebrity endorsers with products and services.

Writing in the new issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR), Gila E. Fruchter (professor of marketing at the Graduate School of Business Administration at Bar-llan University in Ramat Gan, Israel) and Moti Zwilling (lecturer in marketing and information systems at Netanya Academic College in Netanya, Israel) unveil an approach that "maximises the number of consumers who will choose the endorsed product".

Based on a preliminary study that illustrated that consumers project part of the celebrity's attributes onto the products they choose, Fruchter and Zwilling further examined "the match of a celebrity and a product as an augmented product – a new construct made of the product itself and the celebrity who endorses it."

"There are any number of reasons a product endorsement succeeds or fails," said Nanette Burns, managing editor of the Journal of Advertising Research.

"This new study helps explain why Michael Jordan was such an effective spokesperson for an athletic-shoe company but a loser for a telecommunications company," she added. "Or what made Cindy Crawford such an effective spokesperson for brands as diverse as Pepsi and Revlon. And why Bruce Willis was a dud in his stint as a Seagram's endorser."

Relying on a theoretic framework of research in which a celebrity can serve as the source of a buying stimulus through their exposure in advertising, the authors set out to find the optimal combination of a celebrity's attributes and a product.

This combination ensured that the reference to the celebrity as the source of promotional stimulus was maximal.

Within this framework, the authors examined a number of products, which were sorted into different categories and characterised by different levels of involvement.

This grouping made it possible to test the efficacy of a proposed solution using the heuristic method on a varied range of products.

Fruchter and Zwilling explained: "The model makes it possible – even prior to the launch of the campaign – to predict the efficacy of the match between the celebrity and the product promotion with a higher level of accuracy. This factor can potentially save time and costs."

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research