The purpose of this study was to examine consumers' comparative judgment of athlete endorsers in back-toback advertisement settings. Drawing on the inclusion/exclusion model (Schwarz & Bless, 2007), the authors argue that (a) a recently observed athlete endorser impacts consumer judgment of subsequently presented endorsers, and (b) the valence of the impact depends on brand category membership of the consecutively presented endorsers. A 2 (representative endorser activation: present vs. absent) × 2 (brand category membership: membership vs. nonmembership) between-subjects design was administered across three experiments. Results demonstrated that the presence of a representative endorser increased a subsequently presented endorser's perceived expertise when that subsequent endorser represented the same brand category. Results also demonstrated that the presence of a representative endorser decreased a subsequently presented endorser's perceived expertise when that subsequent endorser did not represent the same brand category. Overall, these findings support both assimilation and contrast effects. The authors argue how this outcome can assist advertising managers to strategically position appropriate endorsers in marketing platforms.
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