The Vampire Effect: When do Celebrity Endorsers Harm Brand Recall?

Carsten Erfgen, Sebastian Zenker, Henrik Sattler

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Although many brand managers favor the use of celebrities in advertisements, others worry that celebrities overshadow the brand and thus impair brand recall. Practitioners refer to this overshadowing as the vampire effect, defined as a decrease in brand recall for an advertising stimulus that features a celebrity endorser versus the same stimulus with an unknown but equally attractive endorser. Because there is no agreement about whether this overshadowing really exists, this research analyzes the existence of the vampire effect and its moderators in a series of experiments with a total of 4,970 respondents. The results provide important insights into how to avoid the vampire effect by creating appropriate conditions, such as high endorser–brand congruence or a strong cognitive link between the celebrity and the brand. Surprisingly, brand familiarity does not significantly moderate the effect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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