Celebrities and Shoes on the Female Brain: The Neural Correlates of Product Evaluation in the Context of Fame

26 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2009

See all articles by Mirre Stallen

Mirre Stallen

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

A. Smidts

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Gitty Smit

Radboud University Nijmegen

Vasily Klucharev

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); Radboud University Nijmegen; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Guillén Fernández

Radboud University Nijmegen

Mark Rijpkema

Radboud University Nijmegen - Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Date Written: August 26, 2009

Abstract

Celebrity endorsement is omnipresent. However, despite its prevalence, it is unclear why celebrities are more persuasive than (equally attractive) non-famous endorsers. The present study investigates which processes underlie the effect of fame on product memory and purchase intention by the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging methods. We find an increase in activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) underlying the processing of celebrity-product pairings. This finding suggests that the effectiveness of celebrities stems from a transfer of positive affect from celebrity to product. Additional neuroimaging results indicate that this positive affect is elicited by the spontaneous retrieval of explicit memories associated with the celebrity endorser. Also, we demonstrate that neither the activation of implicit memories of earlier exposures nor an increase in attentional processing is essential for a celebrity advertisement to be effective. By explaining the neural mechanism of fame, our results illustrate how neuroscience may contribute to a better understanding of consumer behavior.

Keywords: neuroeconomics, neuromarketing, affect transfer, celebrity endorsement, medial orbital frontal cortex, persuasion

JEL Classification: M, C44, M31

Suggested Citation

Stallen, Mirre and Smidts, Ale and Smit, Gitty and Klucharev, Vasily and Fernández, Guillén and Rijpkema, Mark, Celebrities and Shoes on the Female Brain: The Neural Correlates of Product Evaluation in the Context of Fame (August 26, 2009). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2009-048-MKT, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1462606

Mirre Stallen (Contact Author)

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Ale Smidts

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Gitty Smit

Radboud University Nijmegen

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

Vasily Klucharev

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

Rotterdam
Netherlands

Radboud University Nijmegen ( email )

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Guillén Fernández

Radboud University Nijmegen

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

Mark Rijpkema

Radboud University Nijmegen - Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour ( email )

Montessorilaan 3
Nijmegen, 6525 HR
Netherlands

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