Discuss about the Celebrity Social Communication In Advertise.
Celebrity endorsement is a popular means of promotion in marketing communication. The celebrity culture is a high volume perpetuation of the personal lives of the celebrities across the globe. Inherently, celebrity culture is tied to the consumer interests, in which the celebrities, particularly the fame which they have earned, help in becoming the product brands (Zimmerman & Ayoob, 2004). Culture is something which can be identified physically, in an easy manner but when it comes to celebrity culture, it exists only as being a collection of desires, of the individuals, for getting an increased viewing of the celebrities. It is not the celebrities who form such identifiable or cohesive groups, which they identify themselves with, but the people following them do the same.
The strategies of celebrity endorsement are competitive in nature and also are saturated in different brands and products of the competitors. As a result of the high advertisement clutter, no room is left for actual differentiation in product in the markets; and for this purpose, the role of celebrities is enhanced as the only differentiation in product is due to the right celebrity being found (Erdogan, 1999; Keller, 2008). Though, a thing which remains questionable in this context, is that the celebrity holding the transfer effect, matches up the features of the different brands, or not. This discussion is focused on highlighting the different factors which transform the manner in which the interaction between the celebrities and the brand cultures take place.
Celebrities and Brands
Celebrities can be found in a range of communities and in activities, which include music, fashion, politics, acting, and sports. The per se “culture” is created upon this becoming a common knowledge in a particular society that the people have an interest in the celebrity and that they are enthusiastic about modifying their life in order to take part in the life of the celebrity. This culture is initially identified through the factors which are out of the celebrities and later on is augmented by the involvement of the celebrities in the publicly construed culture. This popularity of celebrities is what makes them attractive to the brands, particularly for the purpose of brand awareness. The higher the popularity of the celebrities, the more brand endorsements the get. For instance, in Taiwan, Jay Chou endorsed between eight to ten different brands in a single year for different type of products (Yang, Lo & Wang, 2014).
Consumer and their choices
The popularity of celebrity culture has a number of phases. The very initial examples of this include the broadcasts on the TV programs in which the individuals had the capacity of reaching a far wider audience and group of individuals, which could result in the rise of fame of such individuals. With the release of newer technologies, there has been a change in the manipulation of audiences. The individuals, particularly the entrepreneurial ones started to recognize the financial value for promotion some of the individuals in a purposeful manner, and this resulted in a consumer approach towards celebrities as being the brands being put forward. With this, a culture started shaping up where the consumers accepted the celebrities as being a part of the society. Along with this acceptance was the tactical and clever marketing, which perpetuated the celebrity culture in context of the ever changing shifts in the beliefs and customs. This is the reason why celebrity culture is viewed as being a synonym of the celebrity industry in which the celebrities are treated in a manner as are the products to be sold treated. There is a difference between the celebrity culture and the consumer culture in the sense that the former is just a part of the latter. There could be no existence of the former without the latter. The choice of the consumers is, for these reasons, influenced by the choices of the celebrities (Barron, 2014).
The consumers allow the celebrities to be a part of the collective society by following them, which is created through the presence of this celebrity culture. And as stated earlier, the presence of the celebrity culture is propagated in an unknowing manner by the consumers only. Included in the celebrity culture phenomenon are the celebrities themselves as participants, which allows them in being aware of the brand which they create and also in attaining the financial gains by using their own status and the same, in addition to the foundation of the pre-branding of such celebrities. In view of Lapham (1993), this idea is based upon the naturally taking place relationship in between the regular people and the pedestal ones. In a number of religious books, examples have been covered who are well known by the people in general public. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt ensured that their fame was carried on for the centuries to come. Earlier, the celebrity culture was restricted to the mythical, biblical and royalty figures and they were found in the majority of sectors in society which included publishing, business and also included academia. Each of the scientific advancement is touched with the name that led to the discovery. Particularly in context of thee larger contributions to humanity, a lot of honour and respect is given to the contributors. With the advent of mass media, the power and exposure of the celebrities has increased. With this a trend has been developed which is carried on by the celebrities with the rise in the social capital, in comparison to the earlier times. Every cultural or national community has their own celebrity system which is independent; though, there has been a decline in this owing to globalization (Barron, 2014).
In the last decade, the TV across the globe has seen a grown focus on teaching the audience regarding how their daily lives have to be managed and optimized by a flawless focus on health, grooming, style, home decoration and food. Owing to this interest, there is introduction of the audiences to rigors of lifestyle management and self-care which is followed by a number of popular lifestyle express being brought forward in comparison to the traditional experts. In this regard, the growing celebritization and the branding of the ordinary experts have a key influence on the lifestyle expertise of people. There is an abundance of literature regarding the role played by the celebrities as being the prominent cultural authorities (Marshall 1997; Turner, Bonner & Marshall. 2000; Corner & Pels 2003; Turner 2004; Evans & Hesmondhalgh 2005). In the popular expertise realms, there have been a number of scholars who have turned their analytical gaze over the rising number of domestic experts and lifestyle specialists who make appearance on the primetime TV, where they carry out the discussion on the rising focus and influence over the issues which concern the conduct of self and included in this pool of scholars is Moseley (2000), Taylor (2002), Hollows (2003), Palmer (2004), Attwood (2005) and Bonner (2005).
Consumers in life of Celebrities
In the traditional manner, the experts and the celebrities have been deemed as existing in different spheres of public life and had been linked to diversified sets of logics and values. As is the case of intellectuals, the experts were associated with high culture and with modes of rational techniques and knowledge regarding social organization followed with the rise of modern state. A stark contrast to this is the trends of celebrity which are seen as being in existence with the consumer and popular culture, coupled with mediatised public field in which the entertainment is deemed as more privileged in comparison to the information, thus having an affect over the meaning (Lewis, 2001). In the representation of the two different kinds of cultural authority, the celebrity and expert are nonetheless characterized with similar tensions in-between the claim of elite or the exception status and also the type of public representativeness. In the rise of the celebrity expert, a key role is played by the media culture, particularly in reconfiguration and flattening of the distinctions which are between the ordinary and expert discourse, owing to the process of celebritization (Lewis, 2010).
There has been a clear link in the intimate lives of the ordinary people shifting in commodity culture and in the enhanced focus upon the consumption of domestically oriented advice, goods and services, and lifestyle. Owing to the instructional role played by the celebrities as being the life specialists, along with their highly visible lifestyles, being an example for the consumers, the celebrity lifestyle plays a major part in the affirmation of some of the modes of the consumption based personal values and also on the ways of living. This is passed on and devolved on the broader issues of community responsibility and the ethical decision making towards the general public. The branded lifestyle expertise is seen as logical extension of privatized politics and this can be established in the examples like Martha Stewart who offer an all encompassing lifestyle blueprint amidst the large array of choices (Lewis, 2010). The work of Lury (2004) and Arvidsson (2006) has suggested that the relationship present between the branded lifestyles and consumers is not a passive one in necessary manner. This is a dynamic relationship, along with being an interactive process in which the consumers forgo the brands’ meaning and also create social relations’ wide set where the brand is given value. This means that even though consumption was earlier viewed as non-productive activities, but with the growth of informational capitalism, there have been decision-making and imaginative processes which are associated with the daily, private and domestic consumption. This in turn has valorised the lifestyle expertise (Lewis, 2010).
The celebrities have been made such a brand that it has also turned into a negative direction. This is particularly in context of the hounding of celebrities where their privacy is invaded and which goes beyond the boundaries of propriety and even enter in illegality of harassment (Roberts, 1997). A proof of this is the death of Princess Diana in 1997. Even in the aftermaths of 9/11, the sobriety culture of celebrities was presented, where the celebrities like Tom Hanks and George Clooney bringing support to the America’s real heroes, which included the police and the fire-fighters who gave their life in order to save other during the collapse of Twin Towers (Beach, 2001). These cases highlight the celebrity culture being represented by an unwanted excess, which was required to be reined in the civil society’s structure. All these raised questions on why do the celebrities and the celebrity culture continue to hold such a fascination. In short, why do the celebrities still address so significantly to the contemporary culture even with the shift in the structure of entertainment and media industries.
The very first dimension of the answer to such question is that the celebrity is a pedagogical tool which helps in discourse of self. For the most parts of the 20th century, the celebrities serviced as being the beacon of public word and they helped in defining zeitgeist of specific movement, which is the structure of feeling on which reliance is made on mediation through popular music, TV, radio and films. Hence the stories on how the hairstyle of women in 1920s to 1940s had been determined by the screen icons who were in the Hollywood industry in US represents just a very basic example of how the preventatives move in cultural dimensions. The singlet of Clarke Gable or the hatless inauguration of JFK shaped the sartorial style in US at the very least. There have been a number of examples of power which the icons on screen held for embodying a particular mood. For instance, a general feature amongst the youth culture of 1950s was seen owing to the role of James Dean in Rebel without a Cause. The impact of music videos also cannot be denied which provided attitude and panoply of styles which migrated with surprising force in a transnational manner. Some celebrities also held the power of capitalizing such changes in powers and in the origins of the presentations. A leading example of translation of sub cultural style for wider media through music, music videos and performance was Madonna, who did this successfully for over two decades. This style later on became a fashion and a popular culture (Marshall, 2010).
The impact of celebrity has served a number of purposes across the 20th century. The generations had been taught by the celebrity on how to engage and make use of the consumer culture in order to make oneself. In the numerous treatises on consumer culture and advertising, the cultural critics identified the manner in which the people could be taught on how they have to consume and also on how the value of consumption has to be recognized by them for their personal advantage. This could be easily established in the works of Story (1999), Toland and Mueller (2003), and most important in Leiss, Kline & Jhally. (2005). Ewen (1975) shed light on wage slavery where it was stated that in place of making close, it was easier to get these made for the person and use the wages for capturing the latest fashion, along with the most recent style. This is the reason why the shops provided a way to the consumers where the potential and possibility was represented in addition to participation on the connected wider culture which had been cross linked with the stars and their entertainment culture (Schudson, 1984).
Something which is not much developed in these criticisms regarding the consumer culture relates to the academic work which was performed for transforming a more traditional culture in consumer culture which is dependent to a big extent on the celebrities and also in their capacity to embody transformative power which is larger part of the consumer culture. As a result of the celebrities being central in self-production, the celebrity gossips, which are quite elaborate, provide continuity to the discourse which is around the presentation of self for the consumption of public. There has also been a cultural and technological change in this regard, particularly in context of the social networks to the presentational media. Amongst the key elements of discourse and celebrity culture in the previous century is the different types of address. This is because the celebrities present themselves as the cultural forms of performers and also were present in celebrity gossip settings and interview strictures. The intercommunicative dimension of the online social networking identifies the need for the celebrities, in staying connected to the shifted relationship, in a specified manner to the public and to the audience. There is a need for the engagement of the celebrities which in past had been partly handled through the celebrity industry’s ancillary press and now could implicate the celebrity in interpersonal communication flow. Irrespective of this, the celebrities are in the front position with their fans, regarding the etiquette of engagement. There is a pragmatic understanding in the para-social self in which is crucial for communicating with millions in individual manner (Marshall, 2010).
The level of engagement of the celebrity with fans is usually related to the relative power of position of the celebrity in the representation culture. This is the reason why Oprah Winfrey has been amongst the most successful talk shows in the nation and across the globe and had been very helpful in expansion of her reach in the Twitter world and has also raced her in attaining followed in the first half of 2009 alone. There has been a minimalistic reply to the huge fan following which she had attained and she simply follows a handful. Just like her, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were the celebrity royalty of Twitter, and they in turn followed merely 113 and 261 individuals, respectively. However, an effort is made by them in replying to the messages of the fans. They also work on promoting a number of issues and also continue to maintain the exchange of information, which has in turn resulted in Twitter becoming one stop for all things celebrity. An example of this is the post of Ashton Kutcher being deemed as a normal tweet, which becomes special, owing to the number of users on Twitter, relaying the link, showing their interest. These are the factors why the celebrity culture continues to proliferate, continue and prosper as a powerful influence (Marshall, 2010). The brands usually go for such celebrities who have a higher presence on the social media, in order to garner more traffic or inertest of the consumers, towards them (Blue, 2007).
Technology as a factor
With the growth in technology and that of publicity apparatuses, the celebrities became more and more visible and were integrated in the discussions. The growing visibility, in views of Gamson (1992) poses a threat over the myth that fame is natural cream rising to the top phenomenon. In the earlier half of this century, this threat had been controlled largely but the same had not been muted in its entirety. This is because the audiences were invited in real life of celebrities, which discerned the reality behind an image and suggested that the publicity apparatuses were in control of audience. The history sketches the position where there has been switch in two 20th century, which is concentrated on being famous. The main struggle is the presentation of celebrity to be keeping up with the economics of stardom and keeping it intact by making the admiration of the celebrities a coherent enterprise. Production of celebrity is coupled with a threat. This is particular in context of the lost control over the texts in the latter half of the century and the same being decentralized.
The negative aspect
The interaction between the celebrities and brand culture can further be explained in context of the negative impact which can take place. As has been touched upon earlier, a celebrity is used as a medium of endorsing the products of the company. The celebrities are used by the brands for their promotion, based on the image of the celebrity and the type of fan following which they have. Where a sports person is the celebrity, the individual would be used for promoting products like shoes, health drinks, clothing merchandise, and sports equipment. The situation in which the celebrity gets involved in a negative event or information, whereby the reputation of the celebrity is damaged, the brand has to bear the reciprocal results of such event. A leading example of this is Tiger Woods where a number of brands had to pull back their contracts with Tiger Woods after his extra-marital affairs, which put him in negative image amongst the views of the followers. A reciprocal effect which can happen in interconnectivity of celebrity and brand image is that that where owing to a negative event or information, the reputation of the brand is damaged, the effect of the same transpires on the celebrity and leading examples of this happening are Coco-cola and McDonald’s. Thus, a number of issues are raised where the consumers examine the endorsing party and the brand decision based on the perceptions of negative or positive information. In addition to this, the awareness of brand has significant effects over the decision-making of the consumer, which influences them entering in consideration, and in context of the influence over the selected actions of brands (Keller, 1993; Macdonald & Sharp, 2000).
Gaining an understanding to the transfer effectiveness in between the brand and the celebrity continues to be an issue of significance for the practitioners and the academics. This includes the case of McCracken (1989), Louie and Obermiller (2002), and Ilicic and Webster (2011). The celebrity endorses do share a well known feature of style, recognition, popularity and attractiveness, where each celebrity has their own unique image which is featured in the brand (Kamins, 1990; Ohanian, 1990). The consumers usually idolize the celebrities in emulating the behaviours and styles. This could view some meanings or images of celebrities to be relevant to the ideal self-image and also to the purchase brands which are endorsed by the celebrities in the hope that some become same as their looked upon celebrities through the consumption of such brands. The celebrity image, in this view, plays a key role in the process of endorsements (Choi & Rifon, 2007). In an alternative manner, the features of brand usually stem from the different mannerism which includes distribution channels, price, brand name, advertising message, symbol and the like (Batra & Homer, 2004).
Advertisement is deemed as an effective manner where the brands and celebrity have attributed to the matches. There is a focus on the suitable fit between the celebrity and the brand which they endorse. By pairing the brand with celebrity, the brand is enabled to take the leverage of their positive and unique secondary associations from the celebrity; and they also obtain consumer awareness, build brand image, transfer positive association to tying up the celebrity to brand and ultimately for enhancing the equity of the endorsed brand. In this regard, where a particular celebrity could prove to be the right choice for one brand as its endorser, the same celebrity could prove to be completely wrong for another owing to the perception of the consumer based on their distinctive image (McCracken, 1989). An instance of this has been highlighted by Kamins and Gupta (1994), the tuning between the brand and the celebrity results in positive attitude towards the brand and a lack of tuning resulting in negative brand evaluations. The advertisement is thus more effective where there is a mutual matching of the brand and the celebrity endorsing it (Yang, Lo & Wang, 2014).
Comparison of UK, US and India
In UK, the interest in the celebrities gets reflected in the TV shows, sales of magazines, social media usage and internet searches. The idea of what forms a celebrity continues on expanding. This is the reason why the celebrities of a particular nation are not confined to it. In particularly, the world class athletes and the Hollywood stars compete with the reality TV stars and the glamour models for getting attention. The celebrities in the contemporary consumer cultures give the possibility of purposefully contributing and knowing about the projects of self. And yet the behavioural studies have put the focus over the work of celebrities being in the promotional roles, instead of being on the active interaction of the celebrities with the consumers. Such interactions could include reworking or playing with the images of celebrity instead of accepting the meanings which have been imbued in the brands, celebrities and products passively (Banister & Cocker, 2010).
In the United States, around twenty percent of the advertisements feature the celebrities and in other nations, the use of celebrities in advertisements, for instance in Japan, is even higher in comparison to US. The traditional explanations of the persuasion effects of the celebrity endorsements are based on the source effect literatures. As per these literatures, the celebrity endorsements are used by brands as they help in increasing the attention which is placed on an advertisement; due to the attractiveness of the celebrities, the consumers can be persuaded and it helps in social acceptance and forming positive opinions about the brand, particularly when the product relates to the attractiveness; the celebrities which are usually well liked by the majority, which possibly leads to the persuasion of consumers and towards their identification, as an attempt towards seeking certain kind of relationship with the celebrity. In the conventional dual process models, the celebrities are usually considered as the peripheral cue and they are deemed as significant in persuading when the consumers are not involved in the processing of the advertisement and in the product category. Though, the celebrities also bring forth the key information which is a crucial aspect in the matching up of the product with the celebrity. In context of the effective peripheral cues, the endorsements by the celebrities help in leading the media weight for getting an impact over the sales particularly in the mature categories (Escalas & Bettman, 2018).
There is a big market of celebrity endorsements in India and this market continues to grow on yearly basis. Yet, despite the rampant usage of the celebrities in the nation for the purpose of endorsement, all of the endorsements by the celebrities have not been as successful. There is a long list of failed instances of celebrity endorsements which depicts that to simply consider the endorsements by celebrities as an effective response towards the media clutter in every situation, irrespective of the intensity of people being involved, is wrong. As per Abhishek and Sahay (2013) this is due to the lens of culture with which the propositions have to be developed regarding the manner in which the consumer attitudes are shaped towards the celebrity endorsements, which is a function of cultural parameter in the developing nation like India.
Talking about India, which is a nation with a number of cultures and sub-cultures, generalization on the basis of broad sample strategy which represents the entire population of the nation is a difficult task. In this regard, the difference between the celebrity advertising processes carried on in India and in US provides relevance to this issue. US follows broadly a single culture, whilst there are varied cultures in India; this is in addition to the diversion of movie segment in India as Bollywood, Tollywood, and the regional ones, whilst US has a single Hollywood (Saran, 2014). Such factors and more help in fixing the focus of celebrities in US easily in comparison to India, which requires a detailed focus on the celebrity being selected for a particular brand. So, even the culture comes into play when it comes to the various factors which transform the manner in which the celebrities and the brand cultures interact. The construction of identity of the consumers in the postmodern culture becomes more complex than ever. This is due to the change in the needs of the consumer where they no longer need a consistent, stable or authentic identity. This makes the aspects of self-identity more significant (Escalas & Bettman, 2018).
To conclude, there are a number of factors which transform the manner in which the interaction between the celebrities and the brand cultures takes place. One factor which was discussed earlier is the image of the celebrities, which is created in the minds of the consumers, which makes them select a brand, based on the positive image which they hold; and which also has the capacity of the consumer being taken away from the brand, owing to the negative image created of the brand. The next factor having an impact on this interaction is the perception of the celebrity which is tapped by the brand and used to promote their brand. This particularly relates to the goal of the consumers in being associated with the celebrity, which again helps the brands in selling items, as they sell the products which are promoted or signed by the celebrities. Culture is another aspect which acts as a key factor in influencing the relationship between brand and the celebrity, and even shapes the choice of such celebrity. The engagement of the celebrity on social media is another technique which in the present digital age, is used by the brands, to further their cause. The more popular a celebrity is, the more favourable they would be for a brand endorsement choice. It is thus the consumers and their perceptions which act as the major factor in deciding the celebrity being selected by a particular brand. This is the reason why the advertisements are tailored by the brands, where the celebrities are selected based on their association with a particular aspect. Essentially, there is an interplay between the brands and the celebrities, which is used by both interchangeably, to attain gain for them; which at times, can at times prove negative for the other.
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