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  • Social Media Influencers & Transgressive Celebrity Endorsement

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Social media influencers & transgressive celebrity endorsement in consumption community contexts

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E-pub ahead of print
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Marketing
Number of pages32
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date8/03/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to elucidate instances whereby celebrity endorsements by social media influencers (SMIs) embedded within online consumption communities are perceived as transgressive by their fellow community members. In doing so, this study provides insights into the new challenges and considerations that such community contexts present for celebrity endorsement.

Design/methodology/approach
The research team conducted a longitudinal, netnographic study of the YouTube beauty community, involving an initial phase of netnographic immersion followed by an investigative netnography that examined community members’ response to celebrity endorsements by 12 SMIs within the community.

Findings
This study identifies five recurring celebrity endorsement transgressions, each violating an established moral responsibility within the community. The paper explores how community members attribute responsibility for transgressive endorsements and identifies consequences for both the SMI and the endorsed brand.

Research limitations/implications
This study focused on a single consumption community, developing a deep understanding of the distinct moral responsibilities that shape the reception of celebrity endorsements within this context.

Practical implications
The paper presents managerial recommendations that will aid both SMIs and brands in implementing celebrity endorsements that avoid communal perceptions of transgression.

Originality/value
The analysis extends prior study on celebrity endorsement by SMIs by explaining when and why SMI endorsements are likely to be perceived as transgressive by the community and providing new insights into community member responses to transgressive SMI endorsements. It also extends wider theories of celebrity endorsement by highlighting the influence of consumption community contexts upon endorsement reception and examining consumer responses to celebrity endorsements perceived as transgressive in and of themselves.

Bibliographic note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.