The effect of familiarity on associated sponsor and event brand attitudes following negative celebrity endorser publicity
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This research examined how familiarity with a brand influences how negative publicity related to a celebrity endorser is perceived. Specifically, the current research determined if familiarity with event and sponsor brands may temper any negative consequences of being linked with negative celebrity endorser publicity. Two studies were conducted to investigate this aim. Study 1 (n = 136) used unfamiliar brands and indicated attitudes towards the selected sponsor and the event brands were significantly reduced after negative publicity surrounding an associated celebrity endorser emerged. In contrast, individuals not exposed to negative publicity did not report reduced attitude scores. Study 2 (n = 272) used unfamiliar and familiar brands and found that negative publicity surrounding celebrity endorsers has the capacity to weaken attitudes towards associated event and sponsor brands. However, any negative impact was tempered by an individual's familiarity with the respective brand, indicating brand familiarity has a moderating effect on brand attitudes within the sports marketplace. This research furthers understandings related to sport sponsorship theory by assessing the role of brand familiarity in tempering information transference. Additionally, the paper provides insights to the events category which has not been researched previously. Brand managers can use this information to develop proactive and reactive strategies to employ to protect their brands when celebrity endorsers attract negative publicity.
Sports Management Review
Marketing Management (incl. Strategy and Customer Relations)