When the Star Beckons: Celebrity-Branded Products and Retailer Resonance: An Abstract
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Celebrity endorsements have been a long-standing fixture in advertising and marketing strategies. In recent years, however, more and more celebrities have transitioned from merely endorsing a product for a third-party brand, to creating their own product lines by leveraging their personal brand. However, despite an abundance of research on celebrity endorsements, there has been very little research on celebrity-branded products. The focus of this study is on how celebrity-branded product lines influence shoppers’ evaluations of retailers. Partnership arrangements between celebrities and retailers (e.g., Jennifer Lopez line at Kohl’s, Victoria Beckham line at Target, Shaquille O’Neal line at JCPenney) provide celebrities with access to retailers’ merchandizing and marketing expertise, while providing retailers with the ability to leverage celebrity products to differentiate themselves from competing stores and enhance their appeal to chosen target markets. Specifically, this study develops and tests a theoretical framework of the transference effects of celebrity-branded products on shoppers’ evaluation of retailers. Drawing from the brand resonance model, this study postulates that shoppers’ awareness and evaluation of the salience of celebrity-branded products sold in a retailer influence evaluation of the retailer, judgments about the retailer, and retailer resonance (i.e., active, intense loyalty toward the retailer). Data collected using an online survey of 443 adult shoppers show support for the transference effects of celebrity brands on retailer resonance and provide empirical validation of the brand resonance model. Specifically, results indicate that shoppers’ assessments of celebrity-branded products (i.e., celebrity-product fit, celebrity-store fit, and brand alignment) lead to higher derived performance evaluation (i.e., store attractiveness), which lead to positive judgments of the store (i.e., store uniqueness), and ultimately, active shopper–retailer relationships. Overall, this study demonstrates that, if properly designed, the partnership between celebrity-branded product lines and retailers can be mutually beneficial to both entities and can enhance shoppers’ engagement with retail stores. Based on the findings, implications are offered for theory and practice.