The Impact of Celebrity Designers on the Perception of Sneaker Brands

Martin Cordes

Student thesis: Master thesis


The utilisation of celebrities for promoting a brand is an often-used strategy in marketing practise. Due to its popularity, scholars have extensively studied the field of celebrity endorsement (Erdogan, 1999; McCracken, 1989). These studies indicate that a celebrity needs to posses a set of characteristics in order for an endorsement to be successful (Shimp, 2007). Moreover, several studies have come to the result that there needs to be a perceived fit between the brand and the celebrity (Choi & Rifon, 2012; Fleck et al., 1992). While the impact of these factors has been validated for the field of celebrity endorsement, no studies have yet explored the impact of celebrity designers on a brand’s perception. In the underlying thesis the impact of celebrity designers on brand perception has been investigated with a focus on sneaker brands. It has been examined whether the same factors that determine success for celebrity endorsers determine success for celebrity designers. Further, it has been investigated whether there are significant differences between these two types of brand-celebrity collaborations in their impact on brand perception. In order to theorise the impact of celebrity designers on the perception of brands, a conceptual model has been developed. The model was tested by conducting an experimental study (n=274). The results indicate that a celebrity designer’s trustworthiness, expertise, attractiveness, likeability and personality significantly impact the consumer’s perception of a sneaker brand. However, only the characteristics attractiveness and personality impact brand responses that effect the overall evaluation of the sneaker brand. It was further found that in addition to these two characteristics a perceived fit between brand and celebrity designer also has a positive effect on brand attitude. Comparing the impact of celebrity designers versus the impact of celebrity endorsers it could be found that celebrity endorsers do not have a significant impact on the social and emotional value of a sneaker brand. In addition, even though both partnership types significantly influence brand personality, it could be found that the impact of the celebrity designer is significantly higher. Hence, it can be inferred that celebrity designers are more effective than celebrity endorsers when it comes to impacting a brand perception change. The findings provide important new insights for marketing research and marketing practise.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages110
SupervisorsAnne Martensen