Arrest Record or Openly Gay: The Impact of Athletes’ Personal Lives on Endorser Effectiveness, pp. 70-79

Heidi M. Parker
Janet S. Fink

Many companies use athlete endorsers to help promote brands and sell products, and athletes are paid considerably for allowing companies to marry the athlete’s image and persona with their products and/or services. Thus, understanding what makes an effective endorser is an important question. Grounded in source credibility and match-up hypothesis theory, this study examined how knowledge of an athlete’s prior arrest or knowledge about an athlete’s sexuality would impact perceived source credibility characteristics of attractiveness, trustworthiness, and expertise, as well as perceptions of endorser-product fit and purchase intentions. Results indicated that being openly gay or having been previously arrested had no impact on source credibility characteristics when compared to heterosexual/non-arrested athletes. Results also revealed trustworthiness, attractiveness, and expertise positively affected product-endorser fit, and further underscore the importance of product-endorser fit on purchase intentions.