THE EFFECT OF ATHLETE ENDORSEMENTS ON THE PURCHASE BEHAVIOUR OF STUDENTS
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The increasing crescendo of marketers ‘borrowing faces’ to raise brand awareness has led to this study being developed. This topic is current, as the number of athletes who have diverged from their credible image has increased. The following project explores this marketing strategy; the effects that athlete endorsements have on university students purchase behaviours, including their opinions on controversial athletes, gender balance amongst endorsers and whether the athlete’s attractiveness or ability plays more of an influential role. A questionnaire was sent out to 31 Cardiff Metropolitan University students which included 10 open ended questions. The results of the study revealed some significant findings; respondents believe athlete endorsements are an effective marketing strategy, however are un-influential to them, rather more influential amongst the younger generation. Respondents proposed that as a student, the price of the product was the most influential factor. It was also determined that male athletes are dominant as endorsers, however it was believed this was becoming more balanced since the success of British female athletes during the 2012 Olympic Games. Additionally, respondents believe the less credible an athlete, the lower their selling ability, yet the athlete’s misdemeanours do not appear to affect the image of the brand. Finally it was concluded that attractive female endorsers and talented male endorsers were most successful, however this was dependent on the product being endorsed. With the consumer society displaying such high levels of emotional attachment towards sport, this research highlights suggestions for marketers and brands. Talented, credible, attractive athletes will be the most successful endorsers, and brands should invest more frequently in women endorsers, as the popularity of women’s sport is increasing. Furthermore, brands should consider reducing endorsed product prices to appeal to the student consumer group. The study progresses recommendations for further research in this field, which include the use of niche athletes and the exploration of athlete and brand characteristic matches.
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