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EMAC 2023 Annual

Overshadowing Effect of Celebrity Endorsers in Advertising: An Eye-Tracking Approach

Published: May 24, 2023


Terri Chan, Hong Kong Baptist University; Bolton Chau, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


While the endorsement literature prescribes that engaging celebrities and other well-known public figures is an effective way to arouse consumer interest and build brand credibility, ad practitioners worry that viewers may only remember the celebrity but not the brand. Thus, this paper takes on an eye-tracking approach to investigate the overshadowing effect of using celebrity endorsers in advertising and how to mitigate such an effect. A large-scale eye-tracking study of over 100 real-life brand advertisements reveals that the overshadowing effect of celebrity endorsers is prominent as viewers fixate significantly longer on celebrity faces than other ad elements. In addition, a controlled eye-tracking experiment demonstrates that celebrity-product contact can minimize the overshadowing effect. Both the theoretical and managerial implications of the findings are discussed.