Consumer response to celebrity transgression: investigating the effects of celebrity gender and past transgressive and philanthropic behaviors using real celebrities

Nora J. Rifon, Mengtian Jiang, Shuang Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to develop and test a new research model of consumer response to celebrity transgression. It examines the effects of celebrity past transgression and philanthropic histories in influencing consumer acceptance (i.e. forgiveness and blame) of a single celebrity transgression behavior and the subsequent endorsement potential of the transgressed celebrity. It also examines consumer acceptance of celebrity transgressions from the gender perspective. Design/methodology/approach: By using real celebrities, this study conducted a 2 (transgression history: high vs low) × 2 (philanthropic history: high vs low) × 2 (celebrity gender: male vs female) between-subject online experiment with 823 US young adults. Findings: Results showed that forgiving (blaming) the transgressed celebrity was positively (negatively) associated with the celebrity’s endorsement potential. Transgression history had a significantly negative indirect effect on endorsement potential via its negative effect on forgiveness and positive effect on blame. Philanthropic history mitigated the negative indirect effect of transgression history on endorsement potential only for male celebrities, not female celebrities. Originality/value: This study contributes to the current human brand and celebrity transgression literature and fills the research gap by using real male and female celebrities to incorporate the real history of celebrities as determinants of consumer judgment of celebrity transgression. This study also makes its unique contributions by focusing on the celebrity-related outcomes and demonstrating the moderating roles of past philanthropic behaviors and celebrity gender for their potential to mitigate the negative effects of transgression history on consumer responses to a single transgression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-529
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Keywords

  • Celebrity brand
  • Celebrity image
  • Celebrity transgression
  • Consistency
  • Endorsement potential
  • Gender
  • History
  • Human brand equity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management

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