Celebrity Endorsement Psychology

Celebrity Endorsement Psychology 

A while ago, we looked into why you should perhaps involve celebrity endorsements in your influencer marketing campaigns. However, here we investigated the world of the consumer and why audiences become so attached to people they’ve never met. An alternative perspective of celebrity endorsement psychology and the power they have over consumers.


Celebrity Worship Syndrome

Celebrities and even influencers in the form of micro-celebrities are often adored by their fans. Some would say too much. The over-adoration has been titled celebrity worship syndrome, which is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The platform and status of the celebrity allow them to take a prominent position in the mind of the audience. Therefore, vulnerable consumers are in the position whereby they can easily become obsessed with the personal life of celebrities. Likewise, this explains the continuous rise of influencer marketing and why consumers are also obsessed with influencers.

The term ‘Celebrity worship syndrome’ was initially mentioned in an article entitled “Do you worship celebrities?” by a journalist at the Daily Mail called James Chapman. However, amongst academic researchers, the term ‘celebrity worship’ was initially used by Dr. Lynn McCutcheon and her research team during the start of the 21st century.

The combined exposure of celebrities on televisions, laptops, tablets and mobile phones have enabled fans to follow their idols’ lives within a closer, virtual proximity. As a result, this may have given birth to a more worrying generation of idolatry.


Three types of ‘Celebrity Worship’

Dr. Lynn McCutcheon and her team of researchers investigated the fascination with celebrities using a small sample and came to the conclusion that there was a single ‘celebrity worship’ dimension. On the other hand, future research using larger samples have subsequently established that there are three identifiable forms of celebrity worship. And these were named the entertainment-social, the intense-personal and the borderline pathological.

• Entertainment-social, a type of celebrity worship that relates to attitudes where individuals become attracted to a celebrity because of their perceived ability to entertain and to become a social focus of the conversation.

• Intense-personal, a dimension of celebrity worship that relates to audiences that have intensive and compulsive feelings about a celebrity.

• The borderline-pathological dimension of celebrity worship relates to those who have uncontrollable behaviours and fantasies relating to a celebrity.

Crowd - Influencer marketing agency

Celebrity Power

A study in Taiwan found that consumers remembered products better if celebrities had endorsed them. Most noteworthy, this didn’t matter if the consumers were fans of the celebrities or not. As everybody knows, audiences see celebrities as if they are people they actually know. Celebs are unavoidable, hence celebrities can really improve your audience’s recognition of your brand. As you should know, audiences associate celebrities with the brands they collaborate with. Likewise, you can apply this to the Chromo-Influencer®, who usually come in the form as local micro-celebs.


18 – 24 years old

Consumers in the 18 – 24 years old age bracket are the most likely to follow celebrity endorsements. This was found in a study carried out by the University of Arkansas and Manchester Business. Subsequently, they discovered people of 18 – 24 years of age and more likely to develop their appearance and identities based on celebrities.


Different age groups 

Nielsen performed a study in 2015 that broke down the level that celebrity endorsements resonate with different generations.

celebrity endorsements psychology chart

Especially relevant, from this graph is that you can see celebrity advertisements clearly resonate the most with people from 15 – 34 years old (Gen Z and Millennials). The data above provides a strong correlation between age and influence, therefore the older your target market, the less likely celebrities may be important for you. Nonetheless, this is a correlation and should not be taken as proof. Celebrity endorsements influence people of all ages.


Celebrity Endorsement Psychology

To conclude there is no doubt celebrity endorsements play a prominent role in the psychology of brand association and influencing consumers. Consumers often adore celebrities and influencers. In the form of celebrity worship, consumers become over-obsessed with them and can form too much of a connection with them. This is simply a worrying reality we have to come to terms with.

On the other hand, celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing play a major role in the world of marketing, as influencers, alike celebrities are very influential and hold strong ties with their fans. Influencer marketing can deliver you an ROI of 960% when done correctly and such psychological research provides evidence to why influencers and celebrities can be so influential.

However, not all influencers and minor celebrities are so influential, or as admired as you would assume. In fact, most are not. 3% of influencers are actually more influential than the rest and these influencers are the main reason why so much money is returned in influencer marketing campaigns. And that’s why we, at PMYB have developed a new empirical approach to discover which individuals are actually worth using in your influencer marketing campaigns. As a result, we can now distinguish the high-performers from the low-performers. To be educated on the process of identifying high-performing influencers, drop us a line here.


Chris Wilson, PMYB Marketing Director
Chris Wilson, PMYB Influencer Relations Director
PMYB – Pioneering the process of identifying high-performing influencers

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons