This study examines the moderating effect of athlete-audience ethnicity match in athlete-endorsed advertising. Attitude toward the brand and purchase intention were measured after participants were exposed to a stimulus advertisement featuring an athlete endorser whose ethnicity either matched or mismatched the participant’s ethnicity. A week before the advertisement exposure, the preexisting attitudes toward the athlete and the brand were measured. Consistent with the notion of ethnic self-awareness, findings from full and multigroup path analyses revealed that attitudes toward the athlete and the perceived athlete-brand fit had a more positive impact on postattitude toward the brand when the athlete’s ethnicity matched, rather than mismatched, the participant’s ethnicity. Subsequently, the postattitudes toward the brand had a positive impact on purchase intention. The preexisting attitude toward the brand had a positive and direct impact on the postattitude toward the brand and purchase intention, regardless of the athlete-participant ethnicity match.
Kim is with the Dept. of Physical Education, Seoul National University, Seoul, S. Korea. Cheong is with the Dept. of Advertising and Public Relations, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.