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Shintaro Sato, Yong Jae Ko, Kyriaki (Kiki) Kaplanidou and Daniel P. Connaughton

The purpose of this study was to examine consumers’ comparative judgment of athlete endorsers in back-toback advertisement settings. Drawing on the inclusion/exclusion model (Schwarz & Bless, 2007), the authors argue that (a) a recently observed athlete endorser impacts consumer judgment of subsequently presented endorsers, and (b) the valence of the impact depends on brand category membership of the consecutively presented endorsers. A 2 (representative endorser activation: present vs. absent) × 2 (brand category membership: membership vs. nonmembership) between-subjects design was administered across three experiments. Results demonstrated that the presence of a representative endorser increased a subsequently presented endorser’s perceived expertise when that subsequent endorser represented the same brand category. Results also demonstrated that the presence of a representative endorser decreased a subsequently presented endorser’s perceived expertise when that subsequent endorser did not represent the same brand category. Overall, these findings support both assimilation and contrast effects. The authors argue how this outcome can assist advertising managers to strategically position appropriate endorsers in marketing platforms.

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Younghan Lee and Jakeun Koo

The current study used a 2 × 2 analysis to explore the effect of athlete endorser-product congruence and endorser credibility on consumer responses, such as attitude toward the advertisement, attitude toward the brand, and purchase intention. Real people and actual brands were used as stimuli to enhance external validity and generalizability. Research results confirmed the interaction effects between athlete endorser-product congruence and endorser credibility on three specific consumer responses. The research further examined and identified the indirect path from attitude toward the advertisement and purchase intention, mediated by attitude toward the brand. The findings from the research fill gaps in the literature and extend the body of knowledge in endorsement studies in general and sport celebrity-endorsement studies in particular.

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Wonseok (Eric) Jang, Yong Jae Ko, Hee Youn Kim and Seung Hoon Jeong

The purpose of the current exploratory study was twofold: First, to outline current trends in athlete endorsement in the golf industry, and second, to discuss specific patterns of athlete endorsement in practice by considering an athlete’s world ranking and product type (low vs. high involvement and informational vs. transformational products). The results indicate that firms in 23 different types of industries are currently using professional golfers as athlete endorsers to position their products in their target markets. Specifically, the results of correspondence analysis indicate that highly ranked golfers tend to endorse high-involved, expensive, and informational products, while both highly ranked and lowly ranked golfers are similarly used as endorsers for low-involved, inexpensive, and transformational products. Implication, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.

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Joon Sung Lee, Dae Hee Kwak and Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove

Athlete endorsers’ transgressions pose a dilemma for loyal fans who have established emotional attachments toward the individual. However, little is known regarding how fans maintain their support for the wrongdoer. Drawing on moral psychology and social identity theory, the current study proposes and examines a conceptual model incorporating athlete identification, moral emotions, moral reasoning strategies, and consumer evaluations. By using an actual scandal involving an NFL player (i.e., Ray Rice), the results show that fan identification suppresses the experience of negative moral emotions but facilitates fans’ moral disengagement processes, which enables fans to support the wrongdoer. Moreover, negative moral emotions motivate the moral coupling process. Findings contribute to the sport consumer behavior literature that highly identified fans seem to regulate negative emotions but deliberately select moral disengagement reasoning strategies to maintain their positive stance toward the wrongdoer and associated brands.

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Yonghwan Chang, Yong Jae Ko and Brad D. Carlson

athlete endorsements have proven insightful, the current understanding of human branding and endorsement effectiveness may be further enhanced by considering metacognitive models of attitudes ( Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006 ; Rydell, McConnell, & Mackie, 2008 ). These models suggest that there are two

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Yonghwan Chang

, these assumptions are often compromised given the restraints of survey-based self-report rating measures (e.g., social desirability and response biases; Chang, Wann, & Inoue, in press ). For example, in the context of athlete endorsement, fans may consciously and temporally distance themselves from

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Beth A. Cianfrone and James J. Zhang

This study examined the differential effectiveness of television commercials, athlete endorsements, venue signage, and combined promotions as assessed by Generation Y consumers. A 2 × 4 independent-group experimental design was conducted, consisting of two experimental conditions (experimental and control) and four video footage interventions with different promotional procedures (television commercial, athlete endorsement, venue signage, and combined promotion). A total of 253 subjects were randomly assigned into the eight groups. The subjects responded to a questionnaire that measured brand awareness in terms of unaided recall, aided recall, and recognition. A factorial MANCOVA revealed that after controlling for differences in the consumption backgrounds of action sports among the subjects, all four promotional procedures effectively increased brand awareness during a televised action sports event. Television commercials were the most effective, followed by combined promotion, athlete endorsement, and venue signage.

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Kihan Kim and Yunjae Cheong

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.

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B. Colin Cork and Terry Eddy

The purpose of this study was to examine endorsement-related tweets from athletes and determine which characteristics of those tweets could increase the degree of electronic word-of-mouth marketing (eWOM) generated by the message. Previous literature has suggested that the retweet function in Twitter is a form of eWOM. Through the lens of eWOM, the concepts of vividness, interactivity, and congruence are used to understand what tweet characteristics generate the most retweets. A sample of professional-athlete endorsement and sponsored tweets (n = 669) was used and coded based on frameworks adapted from previous studies. Results indicated that the interaction between levels of high vividness and high interactivity generated the highest frequency of retweets. Reported findings could inform athletes and/or brand managers in ways to increase the eWOM of sponsored messages on Twitter.

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Joon Sung Lee, Dae Hee Kwak and David Moore

Marketing managers often face dilemmas when their athlete endorsers are accused of immoral behavior. However, research findings have been equivocal as to whether athletes’ transgressions damage endorsed brand evaluations. Using two experiments, we empirically demonstrate that consumers’ moral reasoning (i.e., moral rationalization, moral coupling, and moral decoupling) has differential effects on evaluations of a transgressor (Study 1). In Study 2, we examine the causal effect of moral reasoning choice on evaluations of the transgressor and the associated brand. Findings show that moral coupling has negative effects on the athlete and brand evaluations, whereas moral decoupling and moral rationalization positively affect brand attitude and purchase intent through positive evaluation of the athlete. Findings from this study provide empirical evidence to explain how and why some consumers continue or discontinue their support for a troubled athlete and associated brand.