Celebrity endorsements have been around for centuries, with celebrities recently making headlines by participating in promotions related to the cryptocurrency/blockchain space.
For example, Tom Brady, Matt Damon, and Larry David have all appeared in prominent advertisements associated with platforms that allow investors to purchase digital currencies.
Why do celebrity endorsements like this work in the first place?
The very topic turned out to be of interest to researchers working in a wide range of fields.
Literature in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and economics all contain research findings related to this particular subject.
There are many angles that can be used to answer this question, but this article provides a short list of possible explanations, looking specifically from the perspectives of neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and even consumer and behavioral psychology. Use.
Familiar faces = trust
One explanation for the power of celebrity endorsements lies in the fact that we are hardwired to recognize faces.
Jeff Steibel, an entrepreneur, investor, and former academic who has written extensively about the human brain, wrote a column for USA Today that found this ability to be essential for human survival in the wild. explained.
He explained that if tribe members can quickly identify another person's face, they can quickly determine whether that individual is an ally or a potential threat.
While it's easy to see why this ability would be useful, Steibel also points out that people aren't very good at distinguishing the friendly faces of people they know in real life from those on TV. Did.
Professor Michael Pratt, a neuroscientist who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and is director of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative, provided expert opinion on the topic.
When asked if humans have a natural ability to recognize faces, Pratt acknowledged that they do, saying in an emailed comment:
“Yes, we are hardwired to recognize faces. We also rely on physical attractiveness (as a signal to pursue mating opportunities) and power (which is important to always be aware of).” It’s like it’s hardwired to pay attention,” he added.
“I say hardwired because both monkeys and humans preferentially focus on these traits and pay for information about sexy or powerful people. “It's a spontaneous signal sent in brain areas that mediate attention, reward, and decision-making. So it's deeply ingrained,” Pratt said.
follow the leader
An article published in Knowledge at Wharton, a business journal published by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, takes a different approach in explaining the usefulness of celebrity endorsements and relying on authority figures when making decisions. It focused on human tendencies.
The aforementioned article cites an academic paper titled “How celebrity status and gaze direction in advertising cue visual attention to shape consumer decision-making,” which states, “Humans are also primates. “People of the same class will follow the guidance of individuals of high status and prestige.” Group by making eye contact or copying decisions. ”
“This behavior is also seen in the wild, when monkeys look up at what higher-status monkeys are looking at in trees or in offices, and when employees model their work after top-rated employees. “Sometimes seen,” the article says.
“When a leader is successful, there is less evidence needed for others to make the same choice.”
Mr. Platt provided additional background information on this matter.
“The decision to buy something, like any other decision, evolves over time through a process in which evidence accumulates in the brain. Where we look and what we pay attention to It is amplified in this process at the expense of other information,” he said.
“Because we and other primates follow the lead of those with high status or prestige, the object of our collective attention, in this case a particular product, is amplified, making it more memorable and more likely to be remembered.” “It's going to be expensive.'' Pratt said.
The halo effect is when a positive impression of one thing (for example, a celebrity endorses a product) carries over into a positive impression of something else (whatever it is that is being promoted) It's a cognitive bias.
For example, if we think that a particular celebrity is beautiful and attractive, we might associate the same virtues with the facial creams they advertise.
Richard Lehman, a professor, speaker, and author who teaches behavioral finance at the University of California, Berkeley Extension, said in a direct message on LinkedIn.
Lehman teaches at both UCLA Extension and California Polytechnic State University, and is the founder and director of education for BehavioralFinance.com.
The halo effect surrounding celebrities may be powerful, but it's the degree to which potential buyers perceive them to be aligned with the product or service they're promoting that matters, says the certified consumer psychologist. Dr. Simon Moore noted in an emailed comment.
“The perception of why a celebrity is 'there' is a key factor in the influence it has on a consumer's attitude towards a product or brand,” says John, now principal psychologist and chief executive at London-based behavioral strategy agency IB. Mr. Moore, who serves as CEO, said. .
“Indeed, what we've found in our client brand research is that the more viewers 'perceive' a celebrity's personal values and needs to align with the brand's values, the more It's about them coming to believe that they're not endorsing your brand on a psychological/ideological level. It’s the level of financial gain,” Moore said.
Psychologists provided additional background information on this subject.
“Research results show that when consumers perceive that a celebrity has endorsed them not only with money but also with the quality of the product, this has a significant positive impact on their attitude towards the brand,” he pointed out.
Pratt made a similar opinion, using the results of scientific experiments to explain the effects of the halo effect.
“We tested something similar in monkeys, building on multiple studies that have shown that monkeys prioritize information about attractiveness and power,” he said.
“We conducted an advertising study with monkeys in which we compared pictures of sexy or powerful monkeys with specific brands (e.g. Pizza Hut, Toyota) versus pictures of unattractive monkeys or lower-ranking monkeys. photos combined with other brands (e.g. Domino, Honda).''
“Then we tested the monkeys' preferences, for example between Pizza Hut and Domino's, or Toyota and Honda (there were many other brands). The monkeys consistently chose sexy monkeys and powerful monkeys. They liked ('bought') the brands promoted by the company,” Pratt said.
“Thus, this halo effect appears to have deep evolutionary roots, implemented in neural circuits that prioritize useful social information, which in turn biases circuits that gather evidence to support decisions. “, he concluded.
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