THE INFLUENCE OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT ON CONSUMER BEHAVIOR: A STUDY OF AUN STUDENTS

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ABSTRACT

This study assessed how celebrity endorsements influenced consumers’ behavior and other factors that predispose people to buy products. To do this, a number of products sold at the AUN Campus Store and  Top  10  Store,  all  located  within  Yola  Town  and  which  are  endorsed  by Nigerian celebrities were selected and students of AUN were surveyed based on the assumption that they patronize the shops and also have the required exposure to provide smart answers to the questions posed. The objectives of the research were to find out why manufacturers engage celebrities to endorse their products, to identify  whether  endorsements  by celebrities influence consumers to buy  products,  to  determine  other  factors  that  predispose people to patronize products and services, and to show whether AUN students are satisfied with products endorsed by celebrities. To achieve these objectives, a survey method  was  adopted  and  the  multi-stage  sampling technique was used in selecting 350 respondents for the study. Out of the number, a total of 321 respondents completed and returned the questionnaires to the researcher. Data obtained were collected and analyzed using excel sheet. The study showed that while majority of respondents expressed satisfaction with the products endorsed by celebrities, a  greater  number  held  that  celebrity  endorsement  does  not  influence them to purchase a  product. The study also found out that quality and price are some of the most important factors consumers consider when purchasing products. Instead of spending millions in celebrity endorsement deals, the researcher among other things, recommended that manufacturers pay serious attention to improving the quality of their products while also offering reasonable prices, to attract patronage.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

Advertising is an essential marketing tool for both new and existing products and businesses. It is a special form of communication directed at selling or making people aware of the availability of goods and services. It also helps to build relationships between producers and the ultimate consumers. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines advertising, “as communication techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions, or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way.” (Search, 2016).

Advertisers worldwide have acknowledged the use of celebrities as a technique for enhancing trade. Advertising and marketing managers spend large amount of money in order to make celebrities endorse their products (Sushil & Ashish, 2013).

A lot of people generally tend to look at celebrities as some kind of role models. Many more put in so much effort, time, energy and resources to look like their favorite celebrity. Others go as far as dressing like them, mimicking the way they speak, and walk and act. And yet, others go to the extent of patronizing goods and services endorsed by a celebrity without considering the fact that they do not need the product at that particular moment (Marshall, 2014). They are just happy to purchase the product, as far as they can own what their favorite celeb has endorsed.

The Business Dictionary defines celebrity advertisement “as a form of brand or advertising campaign that involves a well-known person using their fame to help promote a product or service,” (“Celebrity Endorsement”, 2016). Advertisers often believe that a product or service will have more sales once a celebrity is involved.

Celebrity endorsement is, therefore, an advertising campaign in which a famous person uses their fame to support a product or service. Manufacturers now, more than ever, use celebrities to advertise their products by making use of several media channels such as television, newspapers, magazines and online.

Producers and advertisers try to figure out several ways to reach the consumers by studying their consumption behavior and producing products to satisfy the identified behavior and needs. According to Sushil & Ashish, (2013), “Consumer behavior is the study of individuals, groups or organizations and the processes involved to select, use and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and impacts that these processes have  on the consumer and society”. Based on this definition, consumer behavior contains more than just trying to understand what items a consumer purchases. It tries to understand other factors capable of influencing the basic decision process of the consumer. There are a number of factors which  affect  consumers‟  choice  and  these  include;  internal  and  external  factors.  Celebrity endorsement is one of such factors, (Uttera & Asthana, 2015).

Advertising agencies are constantly looking out to find different ways to make their products and or services sell better than the competition and that is where celebrity endorsement comes into the picture. Nigeria has quite a number of celebrities, who have endorsed several products and services. Some of the frequently used celebrities include Tiwatope Savage-Balogun (Tiwa Savage), Olubankole Wellington (Banky W), Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (Wizkid), Funke Akindele, Ayodeji Richard Makun (A.Y), Kate Henshaw, Ali Nuhu, Genevieve Nnaji, etc. These celebrities have endorsement deals with several companies and products ranging from detergents, toothpastes, phones/gadgets, drinks, food, fashion items, stationaries, etc.

This project studied some of the products endorsed by Nigerian celebrities and sold at the AUN Campus Store and Top 10 Store located about a kilometer from the university, from where students buy their essential and non-essential products. The aim of this study was to find out if consumers (students) buy products because some celebrities endorsed them. It also tried to find out other reasons people have for buying products. The products selected for this study were; Samsung brand of phones endorsed by Kate Henshaw (a popular Nigerian actress) and Olubankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W. (a popular Nigerian musician), Peak  Milk endorsed by Ayodeji Richard Makun popularly known as A.Y (a famous Nigerian comedian and an actor), Pepsi soft drink endorsed by Tiwatope Savage-Balogun popularly known as Tiwa Savage, and Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun also known as Wizkid (both of them are popular musicians) and lastly, Omo detergent, endorsed by Funke Akindele, Chioma Chukwuka and Ali Nuhu (All popular Nigerian actors). The Omo endorsement is quite interesting because it has been endorsed by three celebrities, who come from the three main ethnic groups in Nigeria. (Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba also known as Wazobia).

Omo detergent is a product of the Uniliver Nigeria Plc. The company started as Lever Brothers (West Africa) Ltd on April 11th, 1923. The founder had interest of trading with Nigeria and West Africa as far back as the 19th century. The company started off as a soap making company, but after a long while, they branched out into marketing and production of foods, non- soapy detergents and personal care products. “The company changed to Unilever Nigeria Plc in the year 2001, with Nigerians presently having 49 percent of equity holdings. Unilever‟s products include; food brands such as Blue Band, Knorr, Lipton, Royco, personal care brands

like Close up, Life buoy, Lux, Vaseline and home care brands like Omo, Sunlight” (“Unilever: Corporate Nigeria”, 2011).

Samsung brand of phones are produced by the Samsung Company, a South-Korean multinational company that was founded in 1938. The firm started off as a trading company, but presently, it is one of the largest South-Korean companies. Samsung accounted for nearly 15 percent  of  South-Korea‟s  GDP  in  the  year  2012.  Their  other  products  include;  refrigerators, laptops, tablets, memory cards, camera, etc. (“Samsung Story| Success Story”, 2016)

Pepsi is a product of the 7Up Bottling Company Plc. The company started its business in 1960, the same year Nigeria got its independence. “It was founded by a Lebanese, Mohammed El-Khalil, who came to Nigeria in 1926. The company introduced Pepsi in the early 1990s when Pepsi International took over Seven-Up International. Other products produced by the company include; 7Up, Mirinda, Teem and Mountain Dew and Aqua Dana Table water” (“Seven-Up Bottling Company “, 2016).

Peak milk on the other hand is a product of Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc. “Royal Friesland Campina is a multinational dairy company wholly owned by the dairy co- operative Zuivelcoöperatie Friesland Campina, which has 14,800 member dairy farms in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. It was established in Nigeria in 1988. It mainly distributes dairy products and offers its products throughout Nigeria” (“Friesland Wamco Nigeria Plc: Corporate Nigeria”, 2016).

The AUN Campus Store is one of the primary outlets for this research because that is where majority of the sample (AUN students) shop. The store is located inside the university premises. Because hundreds of students do their shopping in the store on a daily basis, it therefore, fits into the research plan.

The AUN Store was established in 2011/2012. The products on sale comprise of general supplies, such as food stuffs & soft drinks, as well as textbooks, stationary, cosmetics, clothing, electronics/gadgets etc. The store is under the supervision of Mr. Tunde David Animashuan. He has managed the store right from its inception. Another reason which makes the Campus Store spectacular is the fact that it has a convenient payment pattern for everyone in the AUN community. Both students and staff can equally use their school identity card to purchase products and the money is removed from their accounts respectively, without having to pay cash at the time of purchase.