NEW YORK: Trustworthiness is more impactful for celebrity endorsers than expertise or attractiveness when it comes to boosting brand credibility, according to a study of the airline industry published in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

Stephen W. Wang (National Taiwan Ocean University) and Angeline Close Scheinbaum (University of Texas/Austin) discussed this topic in their paper Enhancing Brand Credibility via Celebrity Endorsement: Trustworthiness Trumps Attractiveness and Expertise.

Trustworthiness and attractiveness “had significant positive effects on both brand attitude and brand credibility in the airline industry,” their research demonstrated.

Moreover, they discovered, “Of the source characteristics, trustworthiness most aptly explained consumers’ brand attitude toward the endorsed airline brand by celebrities among customers who had low involvement with air travel.”

For marketers, the academics proposed, “These results suggest that advertisers looking to enhance their brand credibility should invest in a celebrity endorser whom, above all, consumers perceive as being trustworthy.

Even better: “Advertisers using celebrity endorsement should feature an attractive celebrity who is perceived to be trustworthy to best influence both their low- and their high-involvement consumer base.”

Turning to expertise, the authors found it “was still important, however, and had a significant positive effect on trustworthiness.”

In their study, the two scholars “applied source-credibility theory to explain how the celebrity endorser’s source characteristics affect outcomes for the endorsed brand.

“The objective was to examine the impact of celebrity endorsers’ source characteristics, such as trustworthiness, expertise, and attractiveness on consumers’ brand attitude, brand credibility, and purchase intention for endorsed brands.”

Understanding these factors, they continued, “is important because advertisers cannot assume that celebrity endorsement equates to more successful marketing communications.”

Indeed, they added, “A celebrity source does not necessarily contribute to the message or a positive brand outcome. It can be risky for a sponsor to be associated with celebrities; modern celebrities’ lives are public and more global with the proliferation of social media.”

‘Enhancing Brand Credibility via Celebrity Endorsement: Trustworthiness Trumps Attractiveness and Expertise’ appears as a part of a special What We Know About Celebrity Endorsement in Advertising section in the spring 2018 issue of JAR.

Sourced from WARC