Advertising is an aspect that has been embraced in marketing for many decades. This implies that there are numerous advertisements around the world. This puts an extra requirement to companies to identify ways of advertising their services and products to make them shine beyond others. Many companies have resulted to use of celebrities especially popular athletes as the spokespeople to assist in promotion of their products through advertisements. Undeniably, athlete endorsements are a positive way to promote the products of companies through advertisement, which helps companies to achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace. The athletes are taken to have substantial manipulate to the image and the brand of the company by linking the public image and the triumph of the athletes to image of the company, as well as their products.
There has been a substantial increase in sales due to the universal appeal of sports. As a result, advertisements with athletes’ celebrities have had better performance than those without them. Two main reasons for this are normative social influence and social influence. Social influence implies that the athlete influences the consumer and convinces them to purchase the products. Normative social influence implies that the consumer is influenced to conform and want to be like the athlete thus wants to use the products like the celebrity (Gwinner 1999).
The athlete influences the consumers through two processes of identification and internalization. Identification inspires the consumers to be like the athlete making them adopt their lifestyle and behavior. Internalization goes further making consumers follow the behavior and attitude of the athlete’s celebrities. These endorsements create an emotional connection between consumers and the athletes. This is because the consumers unconsciously or consciously link products with the image of the athletes. This implies that the consumers feel close to their idol as they identify with the athlete through the products they advertise. This creates a positive consumer feedback which encourages other companies to use athletes in endorsement of their products. This also may result to the athletes getting additional contracts from the same companies for other products.
Notably, athlete endorsements have been effective because many people have athlete celebrities they aspire to be like or look up to as their models. Noteworthy, there are factors and attributes considered when choosing a perfect athlete for advertisement. These include believability, credibility, trustworthiness, consistency and likeability. There are also some crucial factors that the consumers use in purchasing products that are endorsed and advertised by celebrity athlete. The consumers will believe in the athlete depending on their credibility and trust that the product has high standards (Louie 2001). The athlete should also be attractive and likeable to make the consumer accept and desire identifying with the athlete and the products. The perception of the athlete in the world through lifestyle, status and class is transferred to the product because the product is perceived to carry these traits.
The concept of athlete endorsements in advertisements has both benefits and downfalls for both the endorser athlete and the company or products endorsed. Some of the benefits include an opportunity for the athletes to earn a good income and salaries from the companies offering them the contracts. This may sometimes be more than what they earn in their athlete contract. This also increases the popularity of the athletes among the people who take them as role models because they admire their traits such as strong, wealthy, fast and attractive. The advertisements act as a way of popularizing the athletes among other potential companies and potential contracts within the same companies. This is because athletes who increase sales of products through advertising have higher demand to advertise other products and promote them. This makes them competitive thus increasing their income through various contracts.
The company or the products being endorsed also reap benefits such as increase in stock and sales of products. This is a result of increase in attention and sales for the products. The athletes have substantial influence on the consumers regardless of them using or not using the products they are advertising on a daily basis. This is because the society places the athletes extremely high making most people aspire to be like them. This has been the point of success for the athlete advertising and endorsements. In addition, there are many advertisements all over the globe, which makes it, complicated to have the attention of consumers or viewers. To catch their attention, athletes have been used in advertisements especially those at the peak of their athletic careers. This is because people have a specific interest in them and desire to discover a lot about them (Karen 2009).
Using athlete celebrities in an advertisement is an advantage because sports attract large interest groups to view ranging from participants, athletes and spectators. Athletes have 'stopping power' due to their influence and power to get the attention of the viewers. They are capable of making the consumers buy the products through their popularity, credibility, success and likeability. Familiar athletes are capable of capturing the eyes of viewers rather than random persons. Companies record positive consumption through the promotion of their products by choosing perfect celebrity. The company has the guarantee of positive effects due to the perceived similarity between the endorsers and the product.
However, the downfalls that come along the athlete endorsements cannot be underrated. The consumers may not buy products in cases where the athlete is endorsing multiple products. This causes a decrease of the consumers trust and credibility of the opinion of the athlete on the product. This is because the consumers need to believe that the athlete uses and believes in the product, in their daily lives. They do not want athletes to endorse products just for money as this eludes trust in these products. Therefore, this limits the athletes’ power of endorsing multiple products as it may result to damage of reputation of products (Michael 1989). In addition, the companies spend large sums of money in athlete endorsements. This is merely because every company strives to create a convincing and eye catching advertisements. This implies that the athletes are in high demand and thus companies raising their salaries in order to get the most popular athlete. Notably, not all athlete endorsements results to increased brand awareness and sales of products. This implies that the company will make a loss due to the money invested in the endorsement. The millions used on athlete endorsements can also be used in other better marketing tactics and strategies.
Noteworthy, many companies are nowadays using athlete endorsements in advertising their products. This implies that every company is setting high standards of marketing. However, rise in continuous athlete endorsements may result to decrease of effectiveness. This especially happens to companies who fail to correctly match endorsers and products to maximize the potential of advertising to the fullest. Such instances of ineffective imply immense losses in money invested in this process.
Additionally, negative behavior from the endorser is a potential risk. This is because the athlete becomes the spokesperson and the model of the company. Therefore, negative behavior eludes the positive image created by the endorser. The endorsement contracts are also risky to the athletes because the company can act or make contrary statements contrary to the athletes' beliefs (Chris 2008). This can result in loss of credibility the athletes have attained from the society.
Noteworthy, the athletes can risk their professional image through these endorsements. The public outcry can permanently damage their reputation. This is because the endorsements increase their popularity and thus putting them under public scrutiny. They get in trouble when they engage in any acts of immorality by damaging their reputation and also losing their contracts. Most companies stop contracting with these athletes in fear of damaged reputation of the company and their products. For instance, many endorsements contracts have sections of moral clauses allowing the company to terminate the contract with athlete celebrities acting in unacceptable ways. This can be their point of downer especially in the perception of the society. Their acts of misconduct can result in a negative perception of brands and lost profits for the companies. Furthermore, such termination of contracts contributes to damaging of endorser’s reputation.
For instance, criminal actions of the athletes such as Tiger Woods sex scandal shows the detrimental effects on the image of the athletes and the reputation of the company. The report shows that, after his sex scandal, all brands he was endorsing suffered declines in their stock market value. Some of his endorsement deals with Nike and Gatorade lost more than 4% in the cumulative market value. This is evident of how celebrity scandals can have devastating effects on brands and companies.
There are also cases of conflict in endorsements where an athlete is endorsing a different product form the governing body. This results to conflict because the athletes insist on promoting their brands, which is restricted, by the governing body. This may result to ruin of their career image as they may be pressured not to participate in their areas of specialty (Karen 2009). The athletes also face the challenge of endorsing unwholesome products that are non-sporty. This becomes an area of scrutiny in the endorsement of products such as tobacco, alcoholic beverages and casinos. These endorsements results of significant debates, which have resulted, in regulation changes. These have resulted in most countries having governing bodies that restrict such endorsements as a way to reduce promotion of such products. Furthermore, endorsing such products may result to the society doubting their credibility and trust due to health issues and morality concerns associated with these products.
Therefore, athletes endorsements are a positive way to promote the products of companies through advertisement. This is because the athletes are considered to have considerable influence to the image of the company by linking the public image and the success of the athletes to image of the company and their products. Notably, the company should choose an athlete who believes in their products and those with good public image. The company and the athlete should avoid negative impact on each other during the contract. This is prevented through inclusion of clauses in case a mishap occurs between them (Louie 2001). However, it is essential to note that, despite the potential negative impacts and risks associated with athlete endorsements, there are many companies who are using them nowadays. Most of them have reported substantial sales and stock increase through them.
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