People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) is the largest animals rights organisation in the world with more than three million members and supporters. It uses a variety of avenues to bring forward its campaign and one of them is through the use of celebrity endorsements. (PeTA, 2012) As a result, there is a need to analyse the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement in furthering the agenda of PeTA. In particular, due to the vast differences in types of celebrities as well as industries that the celebrities are based in, consumers may have a different perception of these celebrities as well as the organisation that is being endorsed.
As such, a negative perception of a celebrity and his/her industry may result in transference of negative perception to the organisation being endorsed. (White, Goddard & Wilbur, 2009) This is especially applicable to PeTA who endorses celebrities that come from many different industries and each celebrity varies in terms of social standing as well as reputation. As such, an investigation into the effects of celebrity perception resulting in negative information transference to the endorsed organisation will be most suitable to be undertaken for research by PeTA.
Based on the problem stated above, there is a need to investigate the various aspects of a celebrity and its effect on PeTA as the endorsed organisation. Three independent factors have been established that form the perception of a celebrity and the dependent variable of the endorsed organisation. (Please refer to figure 1) RBUS2900 Business Research Method Assignment 2 Part B 1 Figure 1 – Relationship Model Diagram 1. 2 Importance The importance of this research study is to ensure a suitable fit between the celebrity and PeTA.
This fit is determined by the perception of the celebrity and its effect on the perception of the organisation. By ensuring a good fit, PeTA will be able to focus more specifically on a target market that might have been otherwise unreachable due to the unsuitable fit between celebrity and PeTA. This is with the pretext that there is a positive correlation between perception of celebrity endorser and perception of organisation. RBUS2900 Business Research Method Assignment 2 Part B 2 2. HYPOTHESES DEVELOPMENT 2. 1
Perception of the organisation (Dependent variable) Perception of the organisation is the dependent variable in the case of this study as it seeks to elaborate whether the below-mentioned independent variables will have an impact on the consumer’s perception of the organisation after they have been subjected to the exposure of the independent variables. A similar test conducted by Trimble and Rifon (2006), stated that the attitudes of the audiences toward a non-profit organisation increased when it was endorsed by a celebrity with a positive image.
The variables mentioned below are similar in context with what Trimble and Rifon have done but analyses different variables and will provide a different conclusion. 2. 2 Attractiveness (Independent variable 1) Attractiveness of a celebrity has always been a factor of consideration when selecting an endorser for a product. This is particularly the case when evaluating the celebrity endorsers that have been chosen by PeTA whereby physically attractive celebrities are chosen as endorsers. It is seen that physical attractiveness is able to facilitate attitude change (Baker & Churchill 1977; Caballero & Pride 1984; Chaiken 1986; Horai et al.
1974; Joseph 1982; Kulka & Kessler 1978; Mills & Aronson 1965; Mills & Harvey 1972) However, not all research has demonstrated that it increases attitude change in that it causes the consumer to develop a positive perception of the product/organisation being endorsed. The Source Attractiveness Model, derived by McGuire (1985) in a study, suggests that similarity, familiarity and likeability of a celebrity endorser will determine their effectiveness in endorsing a product. This suggest contrary to the list of articles stated that the RBUS2900 Business Research Method Assignment 2 Part B 3
attractiveness in the sense of likeability of a celebrity endorser can indeed increase the positive perception of the product/organisation that is endorsed. Hence, by studying the physical attractiveness of a celebrity endorser, especially in the light of how PeTA strongly uses physical attractiveness as an important consideration in selecting endorsers, it would be most suitable to study how the supposed perception of physical attractiveness of a celebrity will indeed affect the perception of PeTA.
The hypothesis derived from this variable is as such: H1: The perceived physical attractiveness of an endorser will result in an increased positive perception of the endorsed organisation 2. 3 Over-endorsement by celebrity (Independent variable 2) Mowen and Brown (1981) in their analysis of the effectiveness of celebrity endorsers have suggested that a natural occurrence from the vast number of products endorsed by celebrities is that some celebrities tend to endorse a number of products.
While ideally, it is stated that endorsers should not be tarnished by their associations with other products (Foote, Cone & Belding 1978), having a “virgin” endorser would generally be highly expensive and such would not be practical. Hence, the issue of multiple endorsements by a celebrity is especially pertinent in this case because PeTA is seen to have endorsed many celebrities that might endorsed products that are contradictory to the nature of PeTA, which is to protect animals. This may cause a disparity in the perception consumers will now have over the endorsement of such celebrity of PeTA.
Kaikati (1987) and Mowen and Brown (1981) have further substantiated that a celebrity endorser may be perceived to be less credible should the celebrity choose to endorse more brands and products. RBUS2900 Business Research Method Assignment 2 Part B 4 Hence, it is brought forth in the next hypothesis: H2: In situations whereby celebrities are seen to endorse multiple products that might be contradictory to the nature of the organisation, there will be a decrease in positive perception of the endorsed organisation. 2. 4 Perceived celebrity income from endorsement (Independent variable 3)
When endorsing a product, celebrities are often paid for their services. This is very much accepted as a service rendered, is expected to be paid for. However, the issue in studying this is especially pertinent as by being paid, it is questionable whether that celebrity is truly endorsing the product out of genuine belief in the product or solely for the monetary benefit involved. In the case of PeTA and its endorsed celebrities, it would be especially appropriate as protection of animals is more often a lifestyle and not just the usage of a particular product.
The celebrity endorsing the product is expected to believe in the protection of animals and not just for the monetary benefit involved. However, does this perception of being paid for the endorsement result in a related decrease of positive perception for the organisation endorsed? Correspondence Bias (Gilbert & Jones, 1986) refers to the observer’s exaggerated use of dispositional attributions, assumptions that the actor does what he does due to his internal dispositions.
Kardes (1993) has related this to endorsement advertisements whereby consumers disregard the situational constraints such as the money being paid to the celebrity, due to correspondence bias and thus contributes to the effectiveness of endorsement advertisements. Cronley et al. (1999) found support for the above-mentioned theory in that participants of an experiment actually assumed that the endorser actually liked the product regardless of whether the endorser was paid or not.
This was correlated to the participants’ attitudes toward the advertisement, the product and the endorser. RBUS2900 Business Research Method Assignment 2 Part B 5 However, a study conduct by Sorum, Grape and Silvera (2003), had opposite results to Cronley’s 1999 experiment. There was no correspondence bias found in the study. As such, it would be most appropriate the study the supposed effects of correspondence bias on the consumers who see the PeTA advertisements and whether there is a disregard of situational constraints much like in the experiment conducted by Cronley et al.
(1999) The hypothesis put forth is thus: H3: The more a celebrity is perceived to be paid for the endorsement, the more negative the perception of the organisation. 2. 5 Moderating variables This study will utilise three moderating variables in the study of the effects of perception of the celebrity endorser in relation to the perception of the endorsed organisation. It is proposed that as age decreases, the effects of each independent variable on the dependent variable will decrease as well due to the decreased perception of the consumer of the variability of the independent variables.
The Selectivity Hypothesis (Putrevu, 2001) has suggested that gender differences in information processing emerge because men are more likely to be driven by overall message themes and women are more likely to engage in detailed elaboration of messages. Hence as a moderating variable, it can be seen that gender is expected to have a moderating effect on the independent variables. Lastly, a study by Daneshvary and Schwer (2000) has concluded that education level is seen to have an impact on perception of endorsement.
Lower levels of education are more impressionable to association endorsements than individuals with a college education. Education provides individuals with analytical skills to decipher information and make an RBUS2900 Business Research Method Assignment 2 Part B 6 informed purchase rather than just relying on one source of information. As such, it can be said that education will have a moderating effect on the independent variables. 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3. 1 Research design The research design chosen for this study will be causal in nature as it seeks to understand the cause-and-effect relationships that exist.
In particular, it will seek to explain the variance in the perception of the organisation, by analysing the independent variables involved and looking to infer theories and data analysis results to draw a conclusive cause of the variance in the perception of the organisation. As elaborated by Zikmund et al, “before causal studies are undertaken, researchers typically have a good understanding of the phenomena being studied. ” (2010) Hence a causal design is selected due to the vast knowledge already in existence in terms of the literature on perception of an organisation as well as the perception of a celebrity endorser.
However, little has been done to show any appropriate causation between the two variables especially one that is particular to the nature of a non-profit organisation. 3. 2 Research method Due to the nature of the research design, an experimental design of a pretest-posttest control group design will be used to explain the cause-and-effect relationship that is proposed between the independent and dependent variable. The subjects in the experimental group are tested before and after being exposed to the treatment. The control group will also be tested at both times but would not be subjected to the treatment.
In using this design, Dimitrov and Rumrill Jr. have suggested three considerations in terms of validity of the design. The first two are pertinent to internal validation, which is the degree to RBUS2900 Business Research Method Assignment 2 Part B 7 which the experimental treatment makes a difference in the specific experimental settings and the third one is in consideration of external validity which is the degree to which the treatment effect can be generalised across populations, settings, treatment variables and measurement instruments. (2003, p.
159) Maturation, an internal validity issue, occurs when biological and psychological characteristics of research participants change during the experiment, thus affecting their posttest scores. History, also an internal validity issue, occurs when participants experience an event that will affect their post-test scores. Whereas the interaction of pretesting and treatment, an external validity issue, happens when the pretest sensitises participants so that they respond differently to the treatment as they might have without the pretest. (Dimitrov & Rumrill Jr.
, p. 160) Maturation and History will not be an issue for the conduct of our experiment as the time lapse between the pretest and posttest phase is negligible and thus should not allow for any changes in Maturation and History. To prevent the participants from becoming sensitised and perform the experiment differently from what they would have without the pretest, we are utilising a fictional situation in order to control the knowledge of the participants on the subject. Please refer to the Data Collection portion to gain a better understanding.