The Use of Sport Celebrities in Advertising: A Replication and Extension, p. 132-142

Brody James Ruihley
Rodney C. Runyan
Karen E. Lear

The use of sport celebrities in advertising campaigns is an important aspect in marketing to a target market of sport fans. With many star athletes becoming increasingly involved in negative off-field issues, it is questioned whether ads featuring athletes have decreased over time. This study replicates, extends, and breaks new ground on the topic of sport celebrities in advertising. Using a content analysis, the study replicates the work of Stone, Joseph, and Jones (2003). By replicating the Stone et al. content analysis, we provide validation for the earlier work, as generally called for by many leading researchers. Extending the study into the most recent decade enlarges the current literature, as it enables the identification of changes in the way advertisers use celebrity athletes in print advertising. By investigating the issue of race in such ads, we extend the current literature to explore advertisers’ use of African-American endorsers to promote products. We find general support for the earlier study; however, not all trends predicted by Stone et al. materialized. Other results indicate a significant discrepancy in the endorsement activity of African-American athletes compared to Caucasians, with Caucasians receiving a disproportionate amount of endorsement opportunities compared to their participation rates.