Armani, Burberry, Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuiton, Gucci and Dolce & Gabanna, the iconic must-haves of the fashion world, all of these products signify wealth, high fashion, extravagance and of course the exclusivity of possession. Flaunted by actors and actresses, the wealthy and the entitled these products have come to be associated with being part of the fortuitous upper class of society and with it the accompanying glares and stares of the passerby as they note the ever present brand labels and realize the gap in stature between the observer and those being observed. Luxury brands normally comes at a higher price as compared to other products. Sometimes we find a certain attire being sold at a very exorbitant price just because it is of a certain brand. In spite of the high price, people still buy these products. Some even save to buy it while those who cannot afford can only wish that they could afford it. The supernormal price is normally associated with the brand that the attire bears. In other words, people are really buying the brand and not the product. This is despite the fact that luxury brands add no specific value apart from the perceptions of human beings. It offers psychological satisfaction.
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Luxurious brands are normally associated with the high-life which most people would want to experience. Celebrities too are normally considered to be at a higher social class. This is because their fans idolise them and consider them to be role models. This explains the important treatment they get whenever they visit some places. The thing about luxury brands is that when broken down into their basic components they are actually comprised of the same type of materials that can be found in other brands at less than a quarter of the price (Wilcox 2009). While brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuiton defend the quality of their products the fact remains that at times suppliers for luxury brands are also the same suppliers for other lesser known brands as well and the overall quality of what is being sent to each individual company is exactly the same.
It is true that the designs produced by luxury brands exceed those of most other companies in the same type of business however if the type of material used is the same and the only difference is the design then if the design could be replicated and the same materials used then would not that mean that the same type of product could also be produced as well? The main difference in such cases actually boils down to the method in which such brands associate themselves with celebrities in order to justify their inherently high costs despite being made of everyday materials. Through this method of association various fashion brands in effect justify their high costs by showing that they are the latest and “hippest” fashion to be seen in due to the way in which a celebrity wears and endorses their brand.
Luxurious brands are also attached to a higher social status. While wearing, any watch will give you the time whenever you read it, wearing a brand such as Rolex shall seem to have elevated you in the social stratus. One feels to be socially superior when in designer’s wear than in any normal wear. This has been amplified by musicians who sing songs praising the brands that they wear. Actors in different movies also appear in luxury brands.
The main purpose of this research paper shall be to find out how the developmental theory applies in the fashion industry. It also seeks to explain the psychological foundations of how celebrities contribute towards the fans’ behavior. It is important to understand fan behaviours as it is through them that fashion designers are able to attract people into the new fashion designs they have developed. Psychological understanding of a consumer is the first step towards penetrating the market. The theories shall include both para-social and social theories. The research shall also be done through assessing different theories such as the Attachment Theory and the Life Stage theories which seek to explain the desire to be like certain people.
The main issue that usually matters when it comes to discussing the degree to which Para-social as well as other social theories such as social attachments to celebrities have influenced a consumer is the mindset that is adopted by the consumer. The relationship between a celebrity and a fan is normally said to Para-social. This means that the celebrity appears to be communicating directly to the fan. For instance, when he praises a certain brand, it appears as if what he is communicating is that the particular brand is the best. The a fan gets this message and starts looking for that particular brand. The main question in the context of this research is how the fashion designer capitalizes on this?
Background of the Study
The youths of today are really trying hard to imitate their idols. These can be musicians, actors, great sportsmen and many more. While trying to ape the celebrities, the youth have ended up trying to dress like their popular celebrities. Most clothes designers have realized and tried to capitalize on this. They work hard to attach certain celebrities to their brands in order to attract the fans of the celebrity. For this reason, they have developed fashion in a lot of ways.
There is the emergence of what is referred to as the celebrity culture where people try and copy the behavior of the celebrities they like. This may range from the manner of speech, the manner of walking and of course the dressing manner. Some celebrities too have capitalized on this and ended up designing their own clothes. The celebrity culture is normally sold to the public through the social media as well as other digital forms such as videos. For instance, in most music videos of celebrities, there is always a connection between celebrity life and ostentatious goods. An illustration is made by the watches and the clothes they wear. Apart from their attire, their lyrics also offer lots of praise to luxurious life and brands.
The media also plays a very big role in the spreading of these styles and fashions. Most people being influenced by the celebrity when it comes to fashion choice are young people. The media is the mainstream source of the gossip on these celebrities. Young people tend to idolize the celebrity they love and are quite adamant about ensuring that they are up to date with any information on the celebrity’s life. Designers usually use this as a bait to lure these youngsters into buying their new fashions. Current trends in the apparel industry all have a habit of appearing one day and disappearing the next. Today’s fashion trends are all about uniqueness, with consumers wishing to have a sense of individuality in their clothes and dressing styles.
This has resulted in various companies trying to market styles which are distinctly “individual”. What most of them do not seem to understand is that achieving a unique individualistic looking style means forgoing the looks company’s sell and instead combining several different styles to create one unique one. In line with reasoning several companies cater to this particular style trend by allowing consumers to mix and match various styles towards their own taste. Companies such as Von Dutch, Hed Kandi and Nike allow certain levels of customization for their products which are not evident in clothes and various types of apparel sold in big box retailers. For instance, a fashion designer comes up with a new design and makes sure that he attaches a celebrity to that brand as a marketing strategy.
The designer then uses a celebrity figure to pose in their designs and then start circulating those pictures in the media. Media in this case includes both electronic as well as social media. The brands that these celebrities wear form luxurious brands. This is because most of them are just deemed to be goods of ostentation and not that they add any other special value in terms of function as compared to normal kinds of goods. There are many times that pictures of a certain celebrity have been in circulation showing him or her dressed in a certain fashion. This has the effect of attracting the celebrity’s loyal fans to buy the fashion and in its effect.
In trying to understand the symbiotic relationship between celebrity endorsements and advertisements, it is important to take note of the main goal of all marketing campaigns which is basically to entice consumers to purchase a particular product or service by virtue of the way in which the company promotes it. Utilizing the theory of rational behavior which assumes all companies will act rationally towards a particular goal it can be stated that the advertising campaigns of all companies will of course attempt to present the product that they are selling in the best possible light. While there are numerous methods of doing this such as traditional print ads or modern viral marketing campaigns some companies opt to take the route of utilizing corporate funded celebrity endorsement deals as a method of advertising their particular brand or product. This often takes the form of having some popular actor, actress or athlete showcase either their support for the product or their use of it in order to entice people to buy the product themselves.
The logic behind this particular method of advertising stems from the fact that people are more likely to purchase a product or utilize a particular service if they see someone else happily using it, studies even show that the likelihood of product patronage goes up astronomically if it is seen that a pop culture icon is utilizing a particular type of product. This speaks volumes of the influence of pop culture on consumer buying behavior however it is also indicative of the fact that companies are aware of what causes consumers to purchase a particular product and act accordingly in order to exploit it.
Various forms of consumable media in the form of print ads, billboards, commercials, online marketing campaigns and a plethora of other types of advertising initiatives are rife with the images of various popular individuals showing just how prevalent product endorsements are in the advertising campaigns of numerous companies. Of particular interest is the concept of celebrity marketing and how consumer patronage of particular fashion/sports brands are affected by the relationship between celebrity endorsement deals and advertisements. Based on the work of Fullerton and Merz, celebrity endorsement deals can be defined as “the activities of consumer and industrial product and service marketers who are increasingly using celebrities as a promotional vehicle”. In other words there has been an ongoing and increasingly expanding trend where companies utilize celebrities as a manner in which they promote the product of their company.
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What must be understood is that through the dynamics of public interest in pop culture which extends into the realm of corporate branding, people become increasingly fascinated with various celebrities/ sports stars to such an extent that they attempt to emulate them in every way possible. This results in them buying coats, t-shirts, shoes and sports jerseys in the same style and color as their favorite celebrity/athlete. This also entails them buying products which that particular celebrity uses and even drink the same type of drink they see a celebrity drinking. All of this conforms with the inherent notion that if a particular celebrity is using it then it must be good.
Companies exploit this by utilizing celebrity endorsement deals in the form of corporate sponsorship agreements by having certain celebrities always and only use their particular brand. Notable examples of this can be seen through athletes such as Michael Jordan and his endorsement deal with Nike which led up to the creation of the Air Jordan sneaker brand, Manny Pacquiao and his varied celebrity endorsement dealswith Nike, Everlast and Gillette and lastly Tiger Words and his association with nearly hundreds of brands the most notable of which was Nike. The result of these endorsements has been to bring the branding and knowledge of the product beyond what can be seen in advertisements and print ads lending it an extra sense of credibility since audiences always see their favorite celebrities/athletes utilizing that particular brand.
It must be questioned though if such initiatives have a prolonged impact on consumer buying behavior. Companies want consumers to buy their products and as such rely on a certain degree of “continued prolonged effect” of an endorsement deal in order to encourage product patronage and buying behavior. The purpose of all company sponsored celebrity endorsement deals after all is to make celebrities into walking advertising billboards by connecting that celebrity to the image of the brand. Various studies examining the impact of particular advertising campaigns on consumers show that by and large not all advertising campaigns have a prolonged period of impact on the mindset of consumers. Taking this into consideration it can also be assumed that not all corporate celebrity endorsement deals connected to particular celebrities have the desired effect of prolonged exposure as compared to billboards and commercials. In fact it can even be stated that since celebrities do not always sport the brands they are suppose to be endorsing this results in a situation where corporate sponsored celebrity endorsement deals are in fact less effective a method of advertising as compared to traditional print ads and commercials as well as modern viral marketing campaigns.
Several studies examining this particular phenomena point to the fact that sporting brands are under the assumption that they are “required” to sponsor athletes in order to create sufficient brand awareness. While it may be true that various marketing studies examining this particular aspect of advertising do point out that there is greater brand awareness when a particular product is endorsed by an athlete they always seem to focus on the concept of the athlete sponsoring the product and not on the fact that there was a massive marketing campaign in the form of commercials, print ads and billboards which was presented to the public.
In fact these particular studies fail to measure the degree of “prolonged” brand awareness versus “short term” brand awareness and instead group the brand awareness created by athletes under a generalized concept of merely bringing the brand into the public spotlight without measuring how long the degree of public awareness lasts.
As mentioned earlier athletes aren’t always in the public spotlight and they don’t always display the brands they are suppose to endorse thus limiting their ability to effectively advertise a particular product. This is important to take note of since a company paying an athlete several million dollars to endorse a product may in fact find themselves wasting money due to the short term awareness generated by the endorsement deal as compared to utilizing the same amount of money on other forms of advertising which would create prolonged brand awareness.
Aims/ Objectives of the Project
- The main objective of the research shall be to determine how celebrity endorsements can always be used to develop a new fashion and make it relevant in the market.
- The other objective of this research is to understand the psychology behind people copying celebrities. The aim extends to understanding how the fashion designers have been able to capture this to their advantage as well as how this also influences the new designs that they come up with.
- The research shall also seek to determine any connection that exists between celebrities and luxury brands. This shall extend into seeking to determine why most celebrities are always associated with certain luxurious brands.
- The research shall seek to compare the demographics of those people who are influenced and how they are to be influenced in making their fashion choices. In seeking to uncover the impact of these celebrities the research shall bear in mind the age factors as well as cultural and other background differences.
The proposed research shall seek to address the following questions:
- Whether the celebrities have any impact in shaping the trends that are fashion concerned. In this question, we shall be concerned with examining how some celebrity’s desire to create their unique fashions has contributed to the development of fashion.
- The proposed research shall aim to address how young people are influenced by celebrities in making their fashion choices?
- The research shall delve into how fashion and design are able to utilize the knowledge of the influence of the celebrities into developing new fashions that will be appealing to the target customers.
Significance of the Study
The value of this study is in its potential contribution to helping corporations make better advertising decision in relation to whether or not they should utilize endorsement deals or traditional advertising campaigns in their marketing strategies. Due to the oversaturation of celebrity endorsement deals in marketing today the case presented by researchers such as Fizel et al. (2008) in which they state that endorsement deals are becoming increasingly less effective does make sense when taking into consideration the fact that other studies examining the extent of fans being able to identify which brand to associate to which celebrity show increasingly haphazard results with few fans actually able to properly associate a brand with the athlete that endorses it.
While there are a few exceptions to this case such as sports mega stars Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Kim Kardashian, Brad Pitt etc. in most cases spectators have been shown to inaccurately connect particular brands with certain celebrities. This is indicative of the fact that endorsement deals are not accomplishing their goal of proper brand advertising and can even be considered a waste of money on the part of corporations. When taking into consideration the current state of the global economy with a financial recession in the U.S. as well as debt problems in mainland Europe if athletic endorsements are proven to be a form of wasteful spending on the part of corporations then such funds could theoretically be better utilized in creating more jobs for individuals in various communities thus helping to alleviate problems in the current economy. Another factor that should be taken into consideration is the fact that companies assume that endorsement deals are a sufficient form of brand promotion without taking into consideration the extent of how long awareness of the brand lasts among consumers. Since there have been relatively few studies that have attempted to examine how long brand awareness lasts this study will enable corporations to make informed choices as to whether or not the extent of brand awareness generated through corporate sponsored endorsement deals with celebrities is worth the amount paid to them.
While it may be true that in previous decades celebrity endorsements have netted corporations significant amounts of branding promotion the fact remains that the current oversaturation in the marketing industry today with multiple celebrities endorsing numerous brands has in effect created a situation where the general public is increasingly finding it difficult to associate one particular brand to a celebrity. This results in an ineffective method of advertising that costs the company more than what it actually brings in.
Many researchers have been conducted researches in an attempt to try and uncover the reason why celebrity endorsement is used mostly in fashion and design. Luxury brands are common where there are celebrities. It is not a coincidence that these two are always found together. Luxury brands are normally seen as superior goods as compared to other normal brands (Vickers and Renand 2003, p 460). They normally attract a price that is more than the normally price. While they attract big prices, they are normally advertised as fitting everyone’s pockets. They also use celebrities and try hard to show that everyone can afford them. They are also associated with the highest level of comfort.
Most celebrities have been used in promoting fashion and design. Musicians always want to stay unique. This ranges from how they dress to the manner of performing their work. As a result, they normally acquire personal designers who create for them their own fashions. These normally become to develop as a fashion trend as fans adopt the fashion. According to Cornell (2002, p. 47), the word luxury is said to mean beauty and in this context, it is the prettiness of art applied as a useful item. Kapferer (1997, p 253) defines luxury as the appendage that is associated with the ruling class. The ruling class in this case expresses those who are held to be very high in the social classes. Therefore any luxurious thing grabs the association of the most high in the society. Contrary to the necessities luxury goods are utilitarian objects which seek to achieve the purpose of relieving any discomfort. They are also discussed to be objects that bring pleasure and raise the social class of a person (McDonald 1994, p 22).
Psychological aspects of Luxury Brand
One of the theories that aim at explaining the desire to ape celebrities is the Social Learning Theory. This theory propounds that we are so attracted because in our lives we actually aspire to be like the celebrities (Mandrik 1996, p. 304). We hold their lives dearly and sometimes tend to think that they live in pure comfort. As a result, we end up working hard to reach their standards and copying their fashion styles in one of the ways in which we are influenced. The young people are much more obsessed with famous people and the desire to be famous. Since being famous is not easy, the idea of copying famous people normally offers a temporary gratification to those who copy their favourite celebrities. Another notion is that by copying these celebrities these fans are actually keeping their loyalty to their favourite celebrities (Mehta 1999, p. 84). The level of loyalty normally differs from one fan to another. There are some fans that would even spend a lot of money to buy an item they would not otherwise buy just because that particular item has their favorite celebrity’s signature on it. The question that arises is whether such a fan buys the product or the signature?
Parasocial theories also try to explain the reason why people normally try to copy the celebrities. Promoters of different fashions also know this and capitalize on it to boost their sales. The use of current technology in advertising is also important in the promotion of new fashion brands in the market. The coverage of celebrities in the local and international media has led to the easy spread of the news about the same. These media houses have become houses of celebrity gossip which avail information about the lives of these celebrities. The coverage is so wide that a fan can be able to feel like there is a direct communication between him and his favourite celebrity. The intimate gossip and information that recur in the media makes fans feel like the celebrities are within their midst. Thus, any communication from the celebrity via social media seems to be directly to the fan. Such communication has been used in other important messages. For instance, in wrestling, the celebrities normally address children against trying or copying whatever they see on the television. This is because there is belief that the youngsters watching wrestling are likely to heed the message from their favourite celebrity as opposed to an adult in the house. The same way, those wrestlers have adopted a habit of having their own custom made t-shirts and other gears. These are later on sold to the public. Some will buy these because it feels like the actual wrestler asked him to buy one.
The purchasing intention is a major reason that designers rely on to sell their fashions. The purchase intention differs with different age groups for different reasons (Phau & Gerald, 2000 p. 125). Mostly, young people’s purchase intention is to look cool. In fact, they sometimes fail to buy a dressing depending on the weather but rather stick to their brand loyalty. Purchase intention for a young couple is normally stemmed upon economising funds as they are still growing financially. Because of these reasons, fashion designers normally use celebrities to lure the younger generation as their purchase intention is to look hip and trendier rather than being driven by economic capacity.
Celebrities and Corporate Endorsement Deals
Fizel et al. 2008 (2008) in their examination of the impact of sponsorship endorsements on conventional athletic celebrities (not in the same category of fame as Lebron James, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant etc.) showed that the announced endorsement deals between companies and conventional athletic stars actually had an insignificant impact on the market value of the firm compared to instances where a product is endorsed by a mega star athlete which results in an increased stock price.
They state that there is little support of the conventional product-endorser match-up hypothesis advocated by advertisers (referring to endorsement deals generating greater product sales) and in fact Fizel et al. (2008) posits the idea that even endorsement contracts with mega star athletes are in fact no longer a viable method of advertising due to the excessive saturation of athletes that are associated with particular sports brands. Based on a statement from Brett Shevack, CEO of a New York advertising firm, that with a few exceptions (Lebron James, Kobe Bryant etc.) the oversaturation of company sponsorships for athletes has resulted in few consumers actually knowing which athlete endorses which brand (Fizel et al., 2008).
Taking the findings of Fizel et al. (2008) into consideration what must be understood is that currently advertisers connect sponsorship based endorsement deals as a method of brand recognition without taking into consideration whether the effect is short or long term. They assume that so long as the athlete is connected to the brand that this in turn is sufficient in order to entice consumers to purchase a particular sports brand product based on what they saw the athlete using or wearing. The problem with this particular method of thinking is that not all consumers will immediately buy a product after they see an athlete using it.
There are several factors that should be taken into consideration such as a consumer’s ability to afford a product, product availability in their area as well as competing interests in the form of other sports brands attempting to sway the consumer towards purchasing their brand instead. As such advertisers have to factor in whether a particular method of advertising has a short or long term effect on the degree of brand awareness on consumers especially when taking into consideration the fact that not all consumers can immediately buy a product.
While it may be true that numerous studies show that endorsement deals do in fact create product awareness the fact remains that such studies neglect to take into account the repetitive nature of sporting events (televised NBA season games, boxing matches etc.) and how this acts in the same way as a televised advertising campaign. What must be understood is that advertising campaigns in the form of television commercials function in a manner in which they are repeatedly presented to a consumer in order to entice them to purchase the product or service they are presenting. This works off the principal that repeatedly showing and enticing a person to buy a particular product actually has the psychological effect of causing them to be more likely to purchase that product when presented with the choice.
Televised sporting events repeatedly show athletes sporting certain brands which act as a way of connecting the brand to the athlete as a method of advertising. Due to the repetitive nature of sporting events where in a single season dozens of games occur with athletes sporting certain brands this acts in the same way a televised advertising campaign does by repeatedly presenting people with a brand and enticing them to buy it. In this case it can be seen that both methods use repetitive advertising yet it must be questioned as to which method is more effective in creating a prolonged effect in consumer brand awareness given the methods they utilize. When taking into account the oversaturation indicated by Fizel et al. (2008) in their study and how they explain corporate sponsored endorsement deals actually have an increasingly lower aggregate effect (or even no effect) on company profits due to the excessive saturation of endorsement deals it can be assumed that traditional print ads and televised advertising campaigns are superior in their ability to entice customers to purchase products since they have a proven aggregate effect on company profits when utilized effectively as proven by dozens of studies examining the effect of traditional advertising campaigns and their ability to entice consumers.
Impact of Celebrities on Fashion Trends as Seen in the Case of Child/Teen Fashion
Bare midriffs, spaghetti strap tops, skinny jeans and short shorts all once belonged in the realm of teen/young adult clothing yet as of late there has been a growing trend wherein such clothing choices have now become common place among children aged 12 and below (Gill, 137-160). This is due to the fact that shows such as Hannah Montana, iCarly, Lizzie McGuire, That’s So Raven and other such child/teen sitcoms have depicted the use of such clothing by their lead characters as being a completely normal and natural attire for pre-teen/teenage girls. Such is the influence of modern day popular culture and celebrities that sexualization and objectification has not been limited to adults and teens but has now begun to encompass children as young as 7 to 10 years of age (Bill, 1). What must be understood is that pre-teens/teenage girls look towards the stars of teen sitcoms shows as the standard by which they should be judged by. As a result, the hyper-sexualized clothing such stars often wear on their television shows and during live events has come to be known as clothes that are “in” and “hip”, thus creating a new standard wherein revealing outfits are the new norm for the present day pre-teen/teen generation.
First and foremost, what must be understood is that sexualization can be defined as a process where an individual’s sense of personal “value” is actually based on sex appeal or a predefined and narrow standard of attractiveness (Goodin et al. 1). In the case of the pre-teens /teen population that has been heavily influenced by current teen sitcoms, this has resulted in the proliferation of numerous clothing lines, products and even popular culture shows which place a certain degree of sexualization on children resulting in the creation of what is now perceived as a cultural norm when it comes to children wearing clothes or displaying behaviors with distinct sexual undertones that is many years ahead of when they should be displaying such attitudes (Bartlett, 106-11). What must be understood is that the current overtly sexual clothing seen on many pre-teens/teens at the present was not a result of a gradual transition over time, rather, it is actually a rather recent occurrence wherein sexually themed clothing was actually limited to those 18 and above, it was only in recent years that specific changes in modern day fashions have occurred resulting in the sexually themed clothing for children at the present.
Evidence of this can be seen in the clothing styles limited to children during the mid 1950s to the latter half of the 1990s wherein clothing for young girls was oriented more towards practicality, comfort and conservative clothing styles as compared to the styles that appeared starting from 2001 to the present which blatantly expressed an increasing level of sexuality. In trying to determine the origin of this change, the researcher looked towards the work of ( ) which examined the changes in television content aimed at children. It was discovered by ( ) that over time, the outfits worn and promoted by the main characters of these types of targeted programming changed over time and became increasingly more sexualized.
Actresses such as Amanda Bynes, Mary Kate and Ashely Olson, Hillary Duff, and Miley Cyrus were seen as being pivotal influential figures during this particular time period wherein the types of sexualized fashions they wore and endorsed on their shows actually launched new types of fashion trends within the pre-teen/teen populace which led to the proliferation of sexualized clothing among female consumers within this particular demographic. In fact, ( ) states that without the influences of these and other actresses promoted by channels such as Disney and Nickelodeon, it would not have been possible for clothing of such a sexual nature to have even grown in popularity among such a young demographic, especially when taking into consideration the fact that this particular group of consumers have yet to develop even the proper ideas regarding what sexuality is in the first place.
Even parents themselves have been influenced by child celebrities and have even contributed to the modern day adoption of the idea that it’s perfectly alright to employ a certain degree of sexualization on children as evidenced by their continued patronage of toys, clothing styles and TV shows for their children that have themes depicting early child sexualization (Albiniak, 1). Based on this, it can clearly be seen that due to the influences of child stars and types of fashion they wear and promote, children have been sexualized at an even earlier age as compared to their counterparts form 30 years ago.
Negative Influence of Popular Culture on the Concept of Beauty and Sexuality
The influence of popular culture on modern day society can be interpreted as a form of irrational exuberance which is defined as the act of people modeling their behavior on the actions of other people without sufficient justification for doing so. In the case of children models/child actors seen in magazines and print ads children/parents see these models, which pop culture defines as the epitome of beauty, and attempt to emulate them by buying the products that the magazines say can help you achieve the same level of flawlessness as them (Schwed, 19). Yet this beauty is nothing more than a false image made to entice the masses towards buying a particular product however this doesn’t stop people from attempting to emulate them in whatever way they possibly can. What must be understood is that ours is a culture obsessed with the idea of perfect beauty; flawless skin, blemish free features, thin waistlines, striking eyes, perfect noses and not a pimple in sight yet such an obsession has been fueled by nothing more than lies and hypocrisy which has all been for the sake of making money (APA: Analysis Of Published Research Shows Sexualized Images Harmful To Girls, Women, 1).
The fashion industry alones makes billions of dollars a year by presenting women with products and clothing styles that are meant to emphasize sexiness or make them look more like the “standards” of physical attractiveness that many magazines espouse. Yet this is nothing more than a farce; such beauty and elegance can be summed up in one word “Photoshop”; they are not real, no one has eyes that striking, no one has legs that flawless, people don’t glisten in natural light, they really aren’t that thin, and hair doesn’t normally shimmer that way as if they stepped straight out of a Palmolive commercial. It is fake, unnatural yet it has created an obsession with beauty and perfection that has dominated the fashion industry resulting in the proliferation of photoshopped imagery on almost every page of major fashion magazines around the world (Reynolds, 9).
Not only that, sensuality and sexiness have now become so integrated into modern day popular culture that the sheer proliferation of ads, commercials, movies and TV shows that emphasize the necessity of women appearing in this particular fashion has begun to affect children wherein they themselves look at the sensual and the sexy and develop the notion that this is what they should be (Harris, 1). Evidence of this can easily be seen in the current proliferation of modern day media in the form of TV shows and movies which also show child stars and actors in various revealing styles of sexualized clothing, scenes or basically wearing a lot of makeup that is more suitable for adults (Odone, 18). This has furthered reinforced the message being presented by photoshopped model images in that in order to be considered beautiful you must try to emulate the model that the pictures in magazines show (International Business, 12).
Several studies examining early childhood development do indicate that a child’s formative years (age 4 to 12) is a period in which they begin to develop the behavioral characteristics and ideologies that influence their subsequent adult behaviors and actions. Aspects related to religion, culture and ideologies introduced during this early stage of development reflect well into adulthood and become an integral aspect of who a person is to become. It is based on this developmental backdrop that parents and society developed the notion that early onset exposure to sexualized content will have an adverse effect on a child’s development and as such children should be inculcated early on with positive societal messages in the form of cooperation, peaceful action and other similar behavioral characteristics that espouse the creation of a socially acceptable persona (Kopkowski, 220).
Other studies though have stated that sexualized media in modern day popular culture such as those seen in TV shows, movies and magazines and other similar forms of consumable media actually have a positive effect on children resulting in the development of independent, socially well adjusted children that from an early age are capable of utilizing what they perceive from sexualized media to become more socially well adjusted as compared to their peers that have been exposed to little if next to no sexualized content. What such studies are attempting to suggest is that the early sexualization that children are exposed to as a result of modern day pop culture and the media actually leads them to experience the full gamut of emotions denied to them by their parents and society as a direct result of the prevailing social idea that children should not exposed to sexuality at an early age (Merskin, 119-129).
In the words of Melanie Moore “it enables them to explore the inescapable feelings that they’ve been taught to deny and to reintegrate those feelings into a more whole, more complete and more resilient selfhood”. While such notions are relatively alien to the current prevailing societal consensus regarding children and sexuality it does make a valid argument. Sexuality is an aspect of normal human behavior, while society disparages its utilization and expression it must be noted that it is a normal feeling that has been with humans since the beginning of evolution. Coming to a complete realization of its effective utilization while at the same time limiting its use through calm analytic thinking is actually a rite of passage for most individuals. Based on this, it can interpreted either way whether the influences of celebrities on fashion and society can be considered a good or bad thing, however, what this section has proven is that celebrities, no matter the age, can have a dramatic impact on the styles of fashion adopted by consumers that admire and idolize them.
Popular culture plays an important role in defining what is beautiful and what is not, unfortunately it so happens that the present day definition is one akin to considering individuals that are white and pale as being beautiful (Chan & Chan, 2010: 9 – 12). Evidence of this can be seen in the relatively “white dominated” covers of the U.K. editions of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar etc. (2005 till the present).This is not to say that racism dominates the U.K. and European fashion industry, far from it, there have been a plethora of black models such as Naomi Campbell (British), Anais Mali (French), Rebecca Ayoko (Togolese), Minah Ogbenyealu Bird (Nigerian) and dozens of others who have become prominent models for numerous fashion brands and have been part of dozens if not hundreds of magazine spreads within the aforementioned magazine brands. This shows that the concept of a “white stereotype”, if present, is not as endemic as most people make it out to be. Instead, what is apparent within the fashion industry today is an appeal to the concept of a “socially acceptable” presentation of beauty wherein fashion brands and magazines tend to favor a particular ratio of race within their contents (Wigley & Provelengiou, 2011: 141 – 162).
Media/Social Media that Causes Kids to be Sexualized at an Early Age
Action figures, dolls and cartoons are an ubiquitous part of the childhood of most people within the U.S., with various individuals owning/ watching some variation of these aspects of popular culture in one form or another. Based on various studies of childhood development children actually looked up to and tried to emulate the attitudes and characteristics of the cartoons they saw on television. When examining past and current trends in cartoons, action figures and dolls a rather strange phenomenon was noticed wherein over the years since the 1980s action figures and cartoon heroes took on greater degrees of musculature and size resulting in almost freakishly large heroes as compared to their counterparts prior to the 1980s. Even dolls for girls took on greater degrees of overtly sexual characteristics with emphasis being placed on looks, sexuality and fashion. Yet, what must be understood is that just as kids admire the action figures and dolls they buy, so too do they admire the people they represent on television. Within the past few years there has been a distinct shift seen in the imagery depicted by teen sitcoms wherein it shown that being ripped (i.e. muscular), incredibly fit or wearing revealing types of clothing is a norm as a opposed to a condition belonging to only a small portion of the population. However, children begin seeing that such a condition is normal and attempt to emulate it in their behavior and clothing styles.
While most individuals merely categorized this as a changing trend which was a direct result of the shifting nature of popular culture it must be noted that such changes had a distinct impact on the mannerisms, attitudes and manner in which children believed they should act and mature into. Studies examining the resulting developmental characteristics of children who grew up prior to the overly muscular and sexual trend of the 1980s showed nearly opposite developmental beliefs compared to children who grew up during and after the 1980s trend. It was noted that male children who grew up during and after the trend developed the notion that being overly muscular was normal and a state to develop into. It was a notion that was completely at odds with the idea of children who grew up prior to the trend who believed an average non-muscular physique was normal and what should be attained.
This particular difference was also noted in female children who believed that the overtly sexual style and concentration on appearance, fashion and sexuality was what they needed to become in order to be considered normal as compared to the popular notions among children prior to the 1980s which showcased a vastly different and more conservative view on what was considered normal (Helping Kids Manage Their Media, 37). The main influencing factor that studies such as ( ) have shown was that it was the way in which the celebrities/main characters depicted themselves (i.e. in the mannerisms and styles of clothing they wore) in the programming the children watched that resulted in them developing ideas related to musculature and sexuality that lead to new developments in fashion and views regarding fitness. In fact, ( ) explains that such a behavior is actually quite similar to what occurs in adults wherein the outfits and mannerism expressed by celebrities they idolized often result in the development of new fashion and fitness trends that become popular with the masses.
What must be understood is that the resulting cultural impact of celebrities into either overly muscular or overly sexual characters was noted as being one of the reasons behind the prevalence of various individual behavioral characteristics today such as the belief that looking muscular will make a person popular, that overly sexualized clothing is normal and that violence is a regular aspect of life (Helping Kids Manage Their Media, 37). While it may be true that such characteristics do not define a majority of the population it is still prevalent in large percentages with various studies confirming that one of the reasons behind their prevalence is their connection to the trend mentioned throughout this paper that began in the 1980s and continues to this day. What this proves is that celebrities and present day cultural trends are intertwined to such a degree that it can be stated that celebrities are in fact the origin of many of today’s fashion trends and cultural nuances due to the way in which they are utilized as a measure of what can be considered standards of fashion and normal behavior.
Pop Culture and Identification
Studies examining the effect pop culture has on children reveal that on average children, especially young children, have the tendency to emulate child pop culture icons such as Hannah Montana, Spongebob Squarepants and other similar forms of identifiable imagery (Nairn, 54-60). In fact this behavioral aspect is even noted in members of the adult community. What must be understood is that at the present, people often identify standards of beauty and appearance based on the celebrities they see on television on a daily basis. From the way in which they apply makeup, to the very outfits they wear, all of these become synonymous with the way in which people identify pop culture trends and attempt to emulate them as much as possible in order to blend in due to the prevalence by which people assume that what appears in pop culture as exemplified by celebrities is what is needed in order to become acceptable in the eyes of society. Moving forward to the issue of appearance, the present day definition of beauty is not part of a set standard (aside from considering symmetry to be beautiful), rather, throughout the years there have been various definitions of beauty ranging from hour glass figures, full figured women and even those who by today’s standards can be considered fat.
All of these standards of beauty have been in one way or another influenced by the prevailing popular culture at the time (Jansson & Power, 2010: 889-904). It is only within the past decade due to the greater level of interconnectivity brought about by globalization and the internet that a set international standard for beauty has been created wherein celebrities have become the standards by which the general concept of beauty is measures against (Chakrabortty, 2012: 72 – 76). This is not limited to the way in which their faces look; rather, it also happens to encompass what they wear. In fact, ( ) states that celebrities are in fact considered to be the main trend setters in the modern day era since people assume that if a celebrity is wearing a particular design or is utilizing a particular type of service then it means that such a design or service must be popular. At the present, it is rare to find a photo in a fashion magazine where a celebrity has not been whitened, cropped, thinned, smoothed, sharpened and otherwise warped into what the fashion industry considers “the ideal woman” with millions of ardent followers attempting to emulate everything about them to the style of their hair, the cut of their dress to even the very shoes they have on their feet (D’Aveni, 2010: 1).
For example, in the case of Gabourey Sidible in Elle Magazine’s U.S. September 2010 edition which featured a black woman on the cover, her features were all digitally enhanced to be whiter which actually resulted in numerous African American women at the time assuming that being whiter was the best which resulted in a surge in sales for a variety of whitening creams. The same can be said for the portrayal of Rhianna on the cover of Vogue’s mid season December 2011 edition which makes her look almost Caucasian which started a jump in sales for skin whiteners as well. Such a case was even taken to it extremes in the recent May 2012 edition of Elle magazine where Rhianna looks almost ghost like due to the sheer amount of skin tone whiteners that were applied which she was endorsing at the time.
All of these examples are clearly evidence of the fact that corporations are well aware of the influence of celebrities on the buying behavior of consumers and, as such, have attempted to take as many steps as possible in order to utilize this influence in order to sell more products. The influences of globalization on the perception of beauty is not limited to the U.S. and U.K. editions of major magazines but it can also be seen in the case of Elle’s February 2011 edition in Russia which features a variety of celebrities all of whom are depicted utilizing a particular type of brand or utilizing a specific type of makeup, all for the sake of increasing the sales of such a product o behest of the corporations that are sponsoring them.
Fashion brands and magazines are businesses and as such they tend to want to appeal to their consumer markets (Reimer, 2009: 65 – 73). Within the U.K. and Europe, Caucasians outnumber blacks 10 to 1 (especially in terms of economic power and the types of fashions and beauty products bought) and as such it makes sense to want to appeal to appeal more to this particular demographic (Rantisi, 2011: 259-265). It must also be noted that popular culture predilections regarding “white beauty” also happens to play a significant factor in the decision to have more white models within a magazines and feature a white model on the cover. For example, in Vanity Fair’s 2012 Fresh Faces of Hollywood edition it can clearly be seen that there is not a single black actress on the cover despite the fact that there were several new black actresses that were popularized during this period. The same thing can be seen in the 2011 Fresh Faces of Hollywood edition wherein there was also a conspicuous lack of black actresses. It makes sense though that fashion magazines would develop the tendency to utilize white models on their front covers since for them it is both in line with popular culture predilections and a method of directly appealing to their target market which consists mostly of people believing that being white equates into being beautiful (Bhardwaj & Fairhurst, 2010: 165 – 173).
Types of Advertising
Advertising is a way in which a company generates interest in a particular product line in order to encourage greater sales within specific markets, but also to generate a certain degree of “hype” and product patronage for the products/services that the company is offering. In some product markets though, certain types of consumer goods and services require “an extra push” so to speak when trying to conduct normal business operations. In such instances, as explained by Professor John Zang from the Wharton School of Business, “if customers aren’t buying, more often than not it is an indication that a company is targeting the wrong people“. Taking this into consideration, it can be assumed that in cases where a hard to sell product is involved it is not that the company is experiencing a situation where the consumer does not want to be a customer but rather the company is merely targeting the wrong consumer market. It is in such instances that techniques such as informative, reassuring and persuasive advertising are utilized in order to gain the patronage of the market segment that the company is aiming for.
Effective Use of Advertising
While advertising is an effective means for a company to communicate with its customers and deliver its intended message, this doesn’t mean that all types of advertising are suitable for delivering a message for a particular type of company or a specific kind of product. Studies such as those by Kopf, Torres, and Enomoto (2011) elaborate on this by showing that mass produced items meant to appeal to a large but diversified consumer demographic tend to use informative advertising through television as their primary method of advertising. Examples of this can be seen in the products of Pepsi, Coca Cola, Unilever, Kraft foods and a variety of other companies that specialize in producing what is commonly known as “junk food”. What you have to understand is that such companies operate within an incredibly competitive market environment with quite literally thousands of different products made by hundreds of competitors, all of whom are vying for a greater market percentage. Thus, in this particular case, what is needed is to have a product standout by way of informative advertising.
This is often done by presenting a particular snack food item as either being tastier, healthier or more affordable than other brands within the market today. Since most consumers can be considered as being rational consumers they would of course tend to patronize a product that they believe is within their price range, is of exceptional quality and has a higher degree of total utility compared to similar products within the market. This would result in consumers having a greater likelihood of buying a product that they saw through informative advertising since for them it fulfills all the prerequisites needed for effective consumption. Based on the work of Kopf, Torres, and Enomoto (2011), it can thus be seen that informative advertising is more suited for overly saturated markets with heavy competition which necessitates the need for increasing product awareness. What must be understood though is that in the case of informative advertising customers already want to buy a specific product and as such it is only a matter of convincing them to buy the type of product made by a company. Such a case doesn’t quite exist in situations involving persuasive advertising since in such instances it often involves a customer that does not necessarily want to buy a particular product or utilize a specific type of service.
Examples of this can be seen in the advertisements utilized by insurance companies wherein they use the phrase “what if” as the argumentative basis behind their insurance plans. As Goldfarb and Tucker (2011) explain, persuasive advertising is utilized as a means of changing a consumers mind by presenting a need that didn’t previously exist. In the case of insurance companies, this comes in the form of possible accidents, illnesses or deaths that may occur and as such they “manufacture” the need so to speak by preying on human fears. While preying on fears is not always the case when it comes to persuasive advertising it does follow the same structure of “need manufacturing” wherein the element of persuasion is dependent on effectively convincing a person that they truly need to buy a product or utilize a service by a particular company. Last, but not least, is the concept of reassuring advertising; this particular method of advertising is actually slightly different as compared to the previous two since it technically doesn’t convince a person to buy a particular product but is rather aimed at ensuring the continued patronage of existing customers.
Gal-Or, Geylani, and Yildirim (2012) explain that its aim is to reassure customers into believing that their purchase decisions were correct and that they should continue to buy that product or utilize that particular service. Common examples of this particular method of advertising are actually heavily employed by the cigarette industry wherein their advertisements don’t necessarily attempt to convince people to continue to buy cigarettes but rather relay the message that smoking cigarettes is perfectly fine and is actually popular. This often takes the form of having some popular actor, actress or athlete showcase either their support for the product or their use of it in order to entice people to continue to buy it due to the correlation between popular culture figures and propensity towards the continued patronage of the products they use by virtue of the fact that they use them. The design justification behind this form of advertising is basically one which involves creating an association between a new product and a pop culture icon. This speaks volumes of the influence of pop culture on consumer buying behavior however it is also indicative of the fact that companies are aware of what causes consumers to purchase a particular product and act accordingly in order to exploit it.
International advertising initiatives such as those done by Unilever, Pepsi and Kraft Foods all attempt to target new markets within foreign countries due to flat growth in their main consumer markets (i.e. the U.S.) They do this by utilizing various local pop culture icons in print ads and television advertisements in order to create an association between such stars and the product the company wants to sell thus resulting in a far greater degree of sales and product patronage. In this case, this is a form of informative advertising wherein companies seek to create greater awareness for their products/services.
Technology and its impact on people
The use of technology is so ubiquitous to present day society that its usage is attributable to nearly 70% of an average person’s day with the remaining percentage going towards eating, sleeping and miscellaneous other activities (Sehgal, 24 – 27). Technology has in effect changed the landscape of human actions; it has enabled better methods of communication, more convenient forms of transportation, better methods of collaboration and finally a far easier lifestyle for most people. Based on this it can be said that due to the introduction of modern technology to the human lifestyle, changes have occurred in both the behavioral and cognitive responses of various populations. As such it can be said that the use of technology creates cognitive and behavioral changes which in effect changes the way people perceive and interact behaviorally and socially due to the amount of time devoted to technology related activities.
People have begun to spend more time doing non-productive activities resulting in more time wasted per day within a given year. For example, on average people in 1st world countries such as the U.S., Canada U.K. spend an average of 3 hours a day watching TV, this results in 21 hours in a week, 84 hours in a month and 1008 in a given year (Oder et al. 1998, 15). These surprising numbers are only beaten by the growing proliferation of internet usage with people on average spend nearly 4 hours a day online resulting in 1,344 hours in a given year. While many may argue against such assertions the fact remains that the 1008 hours used watching television or the 1,344 hours spent online is evidence of an incredible amount of wasted time that could have been devoted to better and more productive activities.
Activities such as watching TV and using computers promote a growing degree of social isolation within various populations since these are activities which don’t require other people to be accomplished. An analysis of current trends in human behavior show that there is a growing percentage of people that prefer to stay indoors to watch TV or use a computer as compared to 3 decades ago. This change in human behavior is related to the fact that as technology has continued to grow over the years so to has its inherent capacity to provide various forms of entertainment. On average people with cable TV connections have access to nearly a hundred or so channels from which they can choose a variety of programs to entertain themselves compared to the situation in the 1950’s to 1970’s when there were fewer than 10 channels to choose from. Computers have also come a long way since their inception during the mid 1900’s resulting in a higher degree of commercialization, better graphics and access to the internet which can provide an almost limitless amount of information to the common user. As a result of such developments people find it almost unnecessary to directly interact with people resulting in a growing degree of social isolation among the populace.
The proliferation of entertainment media on TV, the use of cellphones, listening to music on iPods as well as other daily forms of technological immersion has actually resulted in a form of “technology addiction” where people seem to prefer using technology compared to direct social interaction. One clear example of technology addiction can be seen in South Korea, one of the gaming capitals in the world, where people often play 12 hours or more on the popular game Starcraft 2. Several studies and documentaries examining the extent of addiction in such settings show that the responses selected subjects gave regarding playing the popular game are similar to those given by drug addicts (Drezner 2010, 35). On the other hand the topic of TV addiction has already been explored by numerous studies with nearly all of them showing that people obsessed with TV develop similar behavioral responses to people suffering from obsessive compulsive syndrome where they can’t help but watch TV due to a form of compulsion similar to addiction (Horvath 2004, 380 – 385).
Based on the findings of this paper it can be seen that with the benefits of technology also comes the negative aspects of addiction, isolation and wasted time. While it is uncertain how society will continue to look like as technology continues to evolve and change it is certain that if the current implications of technology are to continue humanity will one day be an overly isolated society so addicted to technology that social contact will become a rarity.
Direct face to face interaction in order to communicate ideas and gain insight has been replaced with the convenience and rapidity brought about by the today’s popular methods of communication. With the loss of direct interaction comes a growing trend of isolation wherein people prefer being able to communicate with each other through short rapid fire messages rather than the long eloquent styles often seen in face to face interactions (Denial of Isolation, 10). As a result, emotional cues and responses usually evident in most direct conversations are absent resulting in more individuals becoming isolated both emotionally and socially from the world around them due to the lack of interaction (Cole and Cole, 40).
It is due to these factors that there has been an increase in social awkwardness among young adults who have become so used to popular methods of communication that when placed in an instance of direct social interaction they tend to stumble around the conversation because of a certain lack of practice in direct communication. It is due to instances such as these that certain individuals have begun to prefer technologically based methods of communication since they are able to avoid problems related to their inability to properly communicate and socialize in public. This in turns continues to promote the trend of social isolation resulting in possible problems later on in life for individuals who experience this apparent “side-effect” of modern day communication.
Advantages of Online Retail
When dealing with online retail operations it must be noted that such methods of selling to customers do not suffer from the regular limitations that affects in-store selling. One aspect of regular retail stores and outlets is that they require employees in the form of cashiers, stock clerks, baggers, store managers and an assortment of other personnel within the store that enables a store to operate and give a customer a pleasant shopping experience. With an online store a company is able to save money on employee salaries, benefits and bonuses since the entire process has been automated using computers resulting in the potential for a greater product to profit ratio due to the lower costs involved in operations.
In fact most online retail stores employee skeleton crews of website editors, procurement specialists and online marketers which enable the company to run a website with fewer employees needed yet are able to display their products in a much more efficient and attractive way than in a store and are able reach a much larger market due to online marketing campaigns. Another problem attached with in-store retail is the fact that utilities such as electricity and rent come into play when taking into account the cost of running such an establishment. With online retailing most of the framework of a site is either run of servers which requires much less electricity than a retail outlet and there is no rent involved. The only cost involved in such a venture would have to be the cost of the domain name or in the case of rented online capacity the cost of cyberspace which is actually negligible considering the fact that the cost of putting up an online retail today is equivalent to only a quarter of single employees salary in most retail outlets in the U.S. Finally and one of the most important factors is that a website unlike a store never closes, it is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is capable of catering to a global consumer base unlike an ordinary corporate retail store that can only accommodate customers within the immediate area.
The sheer proliferation of social media platforms such as blogs, wikis and online forums has created an unprecedented opportunity for companies to take advantage of this new social trend in order to promote particular products and services via online social platforms. Nearly 22% of all online activity within the U.S. alone is spent on social networking websites and as such is indicative of the consumer market share that social media platforms could potentially provide to the company should it utilize such a marketing tool (Pullen, 59 – 61). Furthermore it has been proven using social media programs such as viral marketing initiatives that a certain degree of “hype” can be generated for a particular product or service yet only cost a fraction of a standard advertising campaign (Kaplan and Haenlein, 253 – 260).
Thus from a cost-benefit standpoint the utilization of social media platforms as marketing tools is not only advantageous for the company in terms of brand promotion and gaining a certain degree of market penetration into potentially untapped consumer segments but it can do so at a relatively low cost and as such presents numerous potential avenues of approach by which the company can generate consumer awareness of its products (Kaplan and Haenlein, 253 – 260).
One way of utilizing social media in advertising a company’s products and services is to create a Facebook fan page for the company in order to help better connect itself with its current customer base. What must be understood is that by creating a fan page this allows subscribed Facebook fans to receive updates from the company in the form of product launch dates, overall product availability, performance and other factors that can contribute to its sale (Wilner, 71 – 81). In fact a fan page creates a “human” face for the company in that by posting daily news regarding the particular industry the company is in this helps consumers to better understand the company and thus create a greater degree of product awareness which translates into a higher likelihood of product patronage.
It is also interesting to note that through the fan page the company can also better facilitate particular promotions such as discounts, special contests and other such methods of promotional marketing that are meant to entice greater public interest over a particular product (Wilner, 71 – 81). Various companies ranging from the alcoholic beverage maker Jack Daniels to the computer manufacturer Asus have Facebook fan pages and this has enabled them to create a larger consumer fan base since instead of the company merely being a nameless entity that consumers buy products from it is subsequently transformed into an entity with particular views, positions on current events and even a sense of humor when it comes to posting its daily wall posts (Wilner, 71 – 81).
It is based on the various perspectives that I have elaborated on that I highly recommend that a company venture into at least some form of social media marketing in order to better connect itself with its customers. There is little risk in utilizing this particular marketing tool and the potential rewards are massive in terms of greater brand awareness, better consumer relations and the creation of a particular image for the company that goes beyond merely being a business entity but rather is one connected to an open attitude regarding current events, the needs of consumers and being a company that is modernizing instead of being stuck in the dark ages of consumer marketing.
What must be understood is that Ethos can also refer to the way in which a person portrays themselves in an argument, in a sense that it is a method in which persuaders present an “image” to people that they are attempting to persuade. This particular “image” refers to a persuaders “character” in the sense that a person is attempting to persuade another person of the righteousness of their statements based on their inherent character. In the case of the celebrity ethos this takes the form of celebrities attempting to convince other people of the righteousness of their cause on the basis of the image that they are portraying, namely, as individuals that have a great deal of experience and knowledge regarding computer systems and how they work. It is this argument on the basis of a projected image that is a cause for concern since basing it on a person’s knowledge and experience alone doesn’t justify the action itself. For example, a person may argue for the righteousness of a cause on the basis of their knowledge of the event yet this attempt at persuasion may in itself be self-serving for the person that is attempting to persuade other individuals.
An examination of the motivations behind the celebrity ethos reveals that should individuals accept their ethos and implement it, it benefits celebrities more so than regular individuals. The celebrity ethos in itself is actually self-serving towards celebrities themselves since it justifies their actions under the basis of a righteous cause yet in the end is more beneficial to them than to other individuals. In the case of ethos what must be understood is that it is “artifice”, meaning that is created, manufactured, made, constructed etc. It can be considered a type of surface image which may in fact have an entirely fictitious relationship to what is actually true. For example, a teacher could show up in class one day wearing cowboy boots, a ten gallon hat and long sleeved t-shirt with a large image of a cactus on the front, the next day he can wear an average suit and tie while the day after that he could wear a Scottish kilt, bagpipes and one of those patterned hats.
The reason I mention this is due to the fact that despite the different outfits he wears the person and the ideas that are being presented have not changed at all however what is changed is the perception of the audience regarding the idea being presented. The same can be said for ethos wherein the method in which the idea is “packaged” drastically changes the perception of the audience towards accepting the idea itself or the validity of its statements. In the case of the celebrity ethos it can be seen that when boiled down to its very essence it is merely a statement which says the following: “let me do what I want with computer systems and programs”. It is in the way that it is packaged and presented to the public that changes the perception of the public to the idea that is being presented. What the public sees is an argument for freedom and innovation what it is in essence is a statement to be allowed to do whatever they want.
Based on the presented information it can be seen that ethos can be manufactured and created for a certain purpose and in the case of the hacker ethos it basis is one which advocates the freedom to let hackers do what they want. The fact remains that due to reasoning of the hacker ethos that keeps on justifying itself on the basis of the knowledge of hackers regarding certain systems, programs and methods of operation it shows itself to be inherently flawed. The ethical flaw in this particular case is the fact that basis a system of ethos on inherent knowledge and expertise creates far too many risks in terms of the ethical principles behind the creation of the ethos itself. In fact further examination of the hacker ethos reveals that it seems more self-serving to hackers than to the general public. As it was established earlier the concept of ethos can be shaped and molded in order to entice greater public support for a particular issue. That is what is being seen right in the hacker ethos wherein the justification for actions are based on an ethos that has been molded to create positive public opinion but in fact is nothing more than a method of allowing hackers to do what they please.
Introduction to Methodology
This section aims to provide information on how the study will be conducted and the rationale behind employing the discussed methodologies and techniques towards augmenting the study’s validity. In addition to describing the research design, theoretical framework, and population and sample size that will be used in this study, the section will also elaborate on instrumentation and data collection techniques, validity and reliability, data analysis, and pertinent ethical issues that may emerge in the course of undertaking this study.
Role of the Researcher
The role of researcher in this particular study is primarily that of a recruiter and aggregator of data. This takes the form of the researcher being the primary point of contact when it comes to negotiating with the appropriate public relations personnel, companies, recruitment agencies, actors, marketers, industry leaders etc. in order to obtain the necessary amount of subject data from the various individuals within the areas where recruitment and direct face to face interviews will occur. During each individual interview/ questionnaire distribution, the researcher will be the only point of contact with the research. This unfortunately brings up the issue of “interpretation bias” wherein what was stated by the research subject is interpreted in such a way that it conforms to what the researcher is attempting to prove via the study.
In order to prevent accusations of unethical manipulation of all data, industry related interpretations of particular types of data (i.e. terminologies, practices and procedures unique to the industry being examined) will primarily be handled by an external party for aggregation (i.e. compilation) with the data only being corrected for grammatical consistency in order to be effectively understood. This ensures that the research data is consistent with proper academic ethics. It must also be noted that prior to the start of the data collection process via interviews the researcher will also need to play the role of a “teacher” so to speak in order to properly coach the research subjects being examined regarding the purpose of the study and the various terminologies that will be utilized. This particular aspect of the data collection process is absolutely necessary due to the potential that particular terminologies utilized by the researcher may not be understood at all by the research subjects. As such, by ensuring that they are properly informed, this reduces the instances where problems may arise related to collected data that has very little relevant information that can be utilized within the study.
The present study will utilize a primarily quantitative research design to explore the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry. This methodological approach will objectively answer the key research questions. Hopkins (2000) noted most quantitative research designs are concerned with determining the relationship between independent variables and dependent variables in a study framework. Sekaran (2006) observed most quantitative studies are either descriptive or experimental. The study will utilize a descriptive correlational approach because participants will be measured once. Furthermore, it is imperative to note that the study will employ an interview based method of examination for the purpose of collecting participant data.
According to Sekaran, an interview based technique is used when the researcher is principally interested in descriptive, explanatory or exploratory appraisal, as is the case in this study. The justification for choosing an interview based approach for this particular study is grounded on the fact that participants will have the ability to respond to the data collection tool by way of self-report, thus, this project will utilize a self-administered interview schedule for purposes of data collection. An analysis of related literature will be used to compare the study findings with other research on the impact of impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry. Such analysis, according to Sekaran (2006), is important in identifying the actual constructs that determine efficient analysis because “it goes beyond mere description of variables in a situation to an understanding of the relationships among factors of interest” (p. 119).
As mentioned earlier, this study will utilize a set of interviews in order to examine the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry. This can consist of an examination of the impact of the media on the perception of consumers towards particular types of fashion, the influential capacity of particular celebrities to incite fashion trends, the view of marketing departments regarding the power of celebrity endorsements as well as the way in which particular brands view the influential capacity of celebrities as an integral aspect of their marketing campaigns. Another factor that should be taken into consideration is the necessity to choose people who are more aware of celebrity endorsement deals and who take a more active part in this process. This can consist of talent agencies, the agents of celebrities as well as the brand owners themselves who actively seek out celebrities as promoters of their products. Cluster sampling will be particularly helpful for the purpose of this study. This approach will enable the researcher to find the respondents quickly and above all safely.
The data gathering procedure for the interview will be held over a 3 week period spanning various agencies, selected corporations, business owners, brand managers, marketing departments, celebrities (if possible) as well as other entities involved in the endorsement process. For each entity the researcher will spend approximately 3 to 4 days in order to gather the necessary research data. For the first day the researcher will contact the necessary organizations and inform them of the intentions of the study and set the necessary appointments while the next two to three days will be spent arriving at the various organizations that were contacted beforehand in order to begin the data gather process.
The process will be divided into two distinct types of interviews with one focusing on gaining an economic perspective referring to how business owners, brand managers and marketing heads view the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry while the second type of interview will focus on the societal aspect of celebrity endorsements and how it affects people on an individual basis. This takes the form of inquiries regarding how people view a fashion style/product once a celebrity uses/endorses it, their likelihood of buying the product for themselves as well as the possibility of them telling their friends about it once they see a celebrity use a particular product. This method of analysis will also attempt to view the rate by which a particular type of fashion becomes popular based on whether or not a popular celebrity endorses it or not.
The research subjects for this particular study will consist of individuals recruited from various advertising agencies, companies, as well as the Screen Actors Guild. Furthermore, the individuals who will be utilized in the study must fulfill the following requirements in order to be considered viable enough to be included:
- Must have a high degree of literacy in order to understand the concepts that the interview entails.
- Must have a general awareness regarding the regarding the concept and impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry.
- Should be an urban resident and must have stayed within the city for at least 5 years.
- Should fulfill either one of the following requirements: a marketing professional, an agent for an actor, an employee for an advertising agency, a business owner, a brand manager, a CEO, an actor (if possible).
- The research subjects should also fall under the age demographic of 23 to 55 years of age in order to ensure that they have developed sufficient awareness and experience regarding the impact of impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry in their daily lives.
- Lastly, the research subjects that are included in this examination should only be local residents within the U.K. and should not merely be “visiting” or located in other countries due to possibility of a diverse array of participant views regarding the impact of celebrity endorsements.
While it may be true that the level of research subject discrimination implemented by the researcher is indicative of a certain degree of undue manipulation of the study results, what must be understood is that due to the fact that most people are not entirely aware of how celebrity endorsements actually impacts the fashion industry, this has, as a result, created a population set that has very little knowledge or even awareness regarding the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry and a variety of similar topics which would be relevant to the study. Since it is the intention of the researcher to analyze the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry it would of course be necessary for the research subjects involved to actually have a certain degree of knowledge regarding this so as to produce a relevant contribution to the research material. Thus, the level of research subject discrimination is justified in this particular case.
While the recruitment method and type of participants that will be utilized has already been explained, this section will detail the population set from which they will be obtained from. On average the population of the various areas of the U.K. that are a part of this study can be considered as being sufficiently “well to do” in both educational capacity and monetary resources. As a result, this has enabled many of the local residents to have access to a variety of media sources such as magazines, television, the internet and other such sources of media. Such a level of immersion through traditional media has thus enabled the creation of a society that is more easily influenced by what they see through the media as compared to merely developing such opinions on their own through an immersion in the fashion industry on their own (i.e. talking to people on what is currently fashionable).
These factors result in the creation of a population set that is not only unaware that they are in effect being unduly influenced by a the media to make purchasing decisions that they otherwise would not have made at all. What this means for the research process is that it entails a more selective recruitment of individuals that are more in tune with the various aspects related to the concept of celebrity influences on the fashion industry. What must be understood is that various studies which have examined the population of the U.K. have shown that, on a local level, few individuals are even aware of the concept of celebrity influences on the development of fashion let alone understand the impact of social media has on their lives. This in effect justifies the criteria the outlined by the researcher regarding research subject selection since it is imperative that the responses must come from individuals that are directly involved in the fashion industry and how it is influenced through the actions and endorsements of celebrities.
This methodology exposes the participants to an assortment of risks that need to be taken into consideration during the research process. The main risk the participants will encounter is if any of their answers that criticize or indicate dissatisfaction with the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry leaks. This may have consequences on the attitude and opinion of various corporations and industry officials towards them and can result in victimization. To eliminate this risk, the responses will be kept in an anonymous location. This way, the only way to access the information will be through a procedure that involves the researcher. The project thus observes research ethics in sampling as well as during data collection process.
Deciding on the Questions to be used in the Interviews
The questions for the interviews were based on an evaluation of the research questions and the data and arguments presented in the literature review section. The aim of the researcher was to develop the questions in such a way that they build up on the material utilized in the literature review. Thus, the questions place a heavy emphasis on confirming the data in the literature review, reveal the extent by which celebrities influence developments within the fashion industry as well as the impact of public perception on celebrity endorsements on their buying behavior.
As explained earlier, the methodology that will be utilized within this particular study will be comprised of an evaluation of interview results given to a variety of managers, agents, actors, business owners and CEOs regarding their perception on the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry.
The following questions were created based on an assessment of the research question, the data that the researcher would need and how pertinent they would be in terms of the participants actually being able to answer them. Also, the research questions will be divided into different sets based on the type of respondent that the researcher was able to get in contact with. This results in the creation of interview questions that are geared towards business owners, CEOs and managers as well as those pertaining to everyday consumers
The questionnaire shown below may differ from the one utilized during the research process due to the semi-structured process that the researcher will utilize in talking to the research participants. The subject and context of the research questions utilized will remain the same with a few alterations based on the discretion of the researcher.
The first set of questions that will be given to the research subjects encompassing average consumers who are directly impacted by celebrity endorsement of particular fashion trends.
- Within the past 10 years how has your choice in fashion been influenced? Would you attribute it to a particular social trend, personal taste, or is it due to what you see celebrities wearing?
- When it comes to choosing particular outfits to buy, what specific factors influence your decision?
- Does celebrity endorsement of a particular brand impact your choice of brand patronage?
- In your opinion, does celebrity endorsements make it easier or harder for people to get to know more about a specific type of fashion trend?
- If you see your celebrity wear a specific type of outfit or endorse a new product, what is your likelihood of purchasing it?
- Do you believe that celebrities impact the development of specific trends in fashion? Explain.
- Do you generally agree with the concept that the celebrities can and often do have a significant impact on social trends and the adoption of new fashion styles and trends? Elaborate on this please.
- How many times have you seen celebrities endorse a particular product and the rate by which members of your immediate circle of acquaintances (i.e. friends, family, coworkers etc.) buy or adopt the product/fashion style that was utilized by that celebrity?
- Do you believe that the opinions of celebrities on fashion matter or do people adopt the fashions utilized by celebrities merely because they want to emulate their idols?
- When purchasing particular types of celebrity based fashion brands, do you believe you are doing so since you are trying to emulate the celebrity that is endorsing that product?
- Please elaborate on your current ideas regarding the impact of celebrities on modern day society.
- Throughout the years there has been a multitude of different fashion trends; yet, it has only been within the past few years that pre-teen/teen clothing has adopted a far more “sexualized” orientation as compared to previous periods in the past. Would you say that pre-teen/teen celebrities and the fashions they wear on television shows are one of the reasons behind this current trend?
- Lastly, do you believe that the proliferation of online social media has had an impact on the way in which people see the fashions utilized by celebrities and their subsequent adoption?
This section deals with questions related to CEOs, business owners, brand managers and marketing professionals. Its main purpose is to determine their overall perception regarding the impact of celebrity endorsements and how this influences present day fashion trends
- Have there been any significant improvements that you have observed which has resulted in better business conditions for you ever since you utilized celebrity based endorsements of your fashion brand?
- In your opinion, does celebrity endorsements make it easier or harder for people to get to know more about a specific type of fashion trend?
- What percentage of your current product lineup is being endorsed by a particular celebrity?
- Based on your experience within this industry, do you believe that celebrities are one of the main influential sources for fashion trends? Explain
- What is your opinion regarding the impact celebrities have on modern day society?
- Do you believe that celebrities are in fact the origin of many of today’s fashion trends?
- How often do fashion companies such as yours incorporate celebrity endorsements in order to “get the word out” so to speak regarding your brand and the type of fashions you produce?
- Do your target markets respond better to normal advertising campaigns or do celebrity endorsements result in better sales?
- Over the long term, do you have any plans of utilizing other methods of increasing the popularity of your brand or do you believe that celebrities continue to be an effective facilitator of increasing brand awareness?
- Is it easier to use celebrities as compared to other methods of marketing?
- Based on your own personal experience, do you believe that developing a new fashion trend can succeed without a celebrity being utilizing as the primary method of influence?
Data Collection Process
Anderson (2004) notes that research that is performed in a rigorous manner can lead to more effective practices than decisions based mainly on intuition, personal preferences, or common sense. It is based on this that the researcher will utilize the views garnered through the interviews that will be conducted along with the literature review data in order to develop a sufficient platform from which effective and above all accurate conclusions can be developed. The data collection process will actually be quite straightforward; several weeks prior to leaving for the various offices and agencies involved in the study, the researcher will utilize the internet in order to find businesses, agencies and a variety of other appropriate establishments that appear to be effective locations where the appropriate type of data can be located. The researcher will then compose an introduction in order to inform the organization of the intent of the researcher and whether it would be possible to conduct a series of interviews based on an attached overview of the questions that will be asked in order to examine the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry.
By asking permission prior to the data collection procedure this ensures that the researcher will not waste time in having to contact the necessary organizations upon arriving and can immediately proceed in collecting the needed data. The interviews will be conducted individually to ensure its alignment with the aforementioned anonymity of the study results. It will also be necessary to assure the participants of the safe storage of information before the interview begins to encourage them to give genuine answers. It was determined by the researcher that responses will be more favorable if the interview is conducted privately. This approach will mitigate accommodation costs thus making the project more cost effective. After collecting and analyzing data, the final report, together with recommendations will be presented to the study participants via email in order to show the impact of their opinions and ensure that responses were utilized in such a way that it complies with views that the participants intended to give out and are completely anonymous thus preventing any possible victimization from occurring.
Alternative Procedure based on Potential Data Gathering Problems
In the event that the researcher will be unable to venture into the various offices and agencies due to a variety of potential problems (i.e. adverse weather conditions, availability of necessary funding, travel restrictions etc.) this alternative data gathering procedure should enable the researcher to continue to gather the necessary data despite the potential problems that may arise. The procedure will include one interview with each individual. Sedgwick & Spiers (2009) state that collecting qualitative data by interviews from participants who are geographically spread out can present a challenge to any researcher (Sedgwick & Spiers, 2009).
Since the researcher will contact a variety of businesses and institutions beforehand it is possible to arrange an interview via alternative means. Communication technology such as videoconferencing can provide a solution. As communication channels evolve with new technology, researchers continue to experiment with new qualitative options. Zaltzman and Leichliter presented two categories of qualitative options: real-time (synchronous or live) and not real-time (asynchronous). Video conferencing will fall into the real-time or live option with a one-on-one interview between the researcher and the participant. However, the researcher must be aware of the pros and cons of using these technologically new methods. Challenges of video teleconferencing include the fact that the participant may not be comfortable appearing on a live video (Zaltzman & Leichliter, 2012), confidentiality issues, trust of the researcher, possible accessibility issues, and security of the technology (Matthews & Cramer, 2008).
The strength of video sessions includes increasing the researchers’ ability to access hard-to-reach populations and a greater comfort level for the participant interacting in their own space (Zaltzman & Leichliter, 2012). There is also a benefit to the researcher in terms of decreased cost (Sedgwick & Spiers, 2009). Conducting the interview by video teleconference also decreases the inherent cost of data collection, while at the same time provides the interviewee with the opportunity to participate in the comfort of his or her own office. In relation to the research participants, this method may provide a comfortable and relaxed environment that may give them a feeling of control and possibly encourage a free expression of knowledge and attitude regarding the impact of regional integration on trade and human migration. If any program manager is uncomfortable with this method, other data collection accommodations will be made, such as travelling to meet with that individual personally. With the permission of the participants, the interviews will be digitally recorded in order to ensure that the researcher can properly review what was stated.
Evaluating the Questionnaire Responses
Two methods may be used to score the test, raw score and relative. Both will be used for comparison in the study. The raw score method is a simple sum of the responses within each scale. This involves merely examining which responses seem similar to each other or which are widely divergent. The relative scoring method compares scales for relative contribution to the overall score. The relative proportion for each scale is found by dividing the individual mean score for the scale by the combined means for all scales. What must be understood is that unlike other types of interviews administered through similar studies, this interview method does not utilize a score or point system wherein responses are limited to a set amount (i.e. picking from a set of 4,5,6 etc.).
The reason behind this is quite simple; the researcher is attempting to gauge the individual accounts of the research subjects in the form of data which involves their own personal accounts and experiences regarding the impact of celebrity endorsements in fashion trends. As such, the resulting answer cannot be quantified in the same way as other forms of information. Do note though that the researcher did take into consideration the use of a generalized research questionnaire form, however, based on the necessity of personal responses it was deemed a method that would divulge the type of data needed given the necessity of examining individual experiences at the local level. Thematic analysis will also be used to identfy themes. Patton (2002) describes this type of analysis as inductive analysis and states that most qualitative analysis is inductive in the early phases, when the researcher is trying to identify categories, patterns, and themes. As such, it is expected that by utilizing the process of reading and re-reading the data, emerging themes within the collected data sets can be identified.
Fereday and Muir-Cochrane (2006) point out that thematic analysis can help the researcher to demonstrate rigor. Having other individuals review the transcripts will enable different individuals to form themes from the data (Golafshani, 2003). When the reviewers have completed their reviews of all the interview data, they will come together as a group, present and discuss their identified categories and themes derived from the data, and identify the main common themes. This researcher will then review these main themes and use this information to assist in establishing the key findings of the study. This method of data analysis is appropriate for a qualitative design study. Patton (2002) discusses several competencies involved in thematic analysis. One such competency is pattern recognition, the ability to see patterns in a wide array of information. Content analysis involves searching the data for common words or themes. Both of these competencies will be used by this researcher to identify common themes. With such an analysis, the findings will be obtained in an unbiased manner.
Reliability and Validity
Shank (2006) explains that the researcher must present the findings of qualitative research in written form. The identified themes will be presented along with implications. Because the researcher will be using the interview process to obtain the information, the data reporting will include narratives of responses expressed by the individuals on their attitude about impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry. The method of storytelling may also be used as an effective way to present a scenario offered by one or more of the interviewees.
Handley (2005) noted reliability in any research process implies that the same set of data would have been collected each time in repeat examinations of the same variable or phenomenon, otherwise referred to as consistency of measurement. To realize reliability of the study findings, the researcher will certify that items incorporated in the survey schedule will only capture data that are of interest to the broader objectives of the study. The range of measurement of the sets of the survey schedules will also be adjusted upwards to enhance internal consistency of the study findings. In addition, the researcher will utilize multiple indicators to ensure the collection of objective unabridged data.
Handley (2005) determined validity is a measurement that is used to describe a measure or instrument that correctly reflects the variable or phenomena it is intended to evaluate, thus reinforcing the conclusions, assumptions, and propositions made from the analysis of data. Internal validity, which denotes the soundness of a study or investigation, will be achieved through the establishment of a framework for the application of effective sampling techniques and employing a validated and reliable survey schedule for the propose of data collection. The same procedures in combination with the recruitment of a representative sample size will be used to achieve external validity, thus ensuring that the study findings can be generalized to other settings.
For this reason, the involvement of other professional colleagues to review the data, will contribute to the validity of the study. The researcher will determine the validity and integrity of the study with, according to Golafshani (2003), the appropriate attributes of trustworthiness, rigor, and quality. Trustworthiness is the degree to which the reader can trust the findings (Shank, 2006). Shank points out trust is not really established, but rather built and nurtured. This researcher will first try to cultivate trust in the study participants by conveying to them the research goal is simply to determine how they feel about regional integration and their views on it as well as its impact on their daily life. The researcher will emphasize to the participants, verbally and in the informed consent form, that there are no ulterior or personal motives with this research project. The researcher will present the findings in a way that the reader knows the study was conducted in a manner that produced trustworthy results.
The rigor of the study must be evident when the researcher presents the findings. A rigorous study is one that is designed, conducted, and analyzed properly (Shank, 2006). The researcher will demonstrate the study’s rigorous design by reporting in the method section that the study was developed with the expert guidance of University faculty, reviewed and approved by the thesis professor, and that the study was conducted by closely following that approved design. According to Fereday and Muir-Cochrane (2006), rigor may be demonstrated through the process of thematic analysis. A comprehensive process of data coding and identification of themes must be used. This researcher will select an appropriate template approach from the literature to assist with data analysis.
The quality of the study must be high in order to obtain true and valid data. Validity of qualitative research may be described as the use of quality concepts (Golafshani, 2003). The goal of the researcher will be to portray the high quality of this research study to the participants and the readers. Through the analysis methods, the researcher will demonstrate that the conclusions were obtained through unbiased methods. Constructivism enables the researcher to appreciate the fact that people have multiple realities in their mind (Golafshani (2003). The individuals who will be study participants will have multiple realities that will contribute to their attitude about regional integration. Golafshani states that the open-ended perspective of constructivism is consistent with engaging in multiple methods such as observation, interviews and recording. Implementing these methods into the study design will contribute to its validity. By conducting the interviews in person or via video teleconference should the need arise, the researcher can observe the reactions of the individual to the questions, conduct the interview process, and verbally record the responses. Transcription of the recorded interviews by an independent person will provide objectivity to what was said by the interviewee. A combined data review that includes the researcher and other professionals will show that the data were reviewed in an unbiased manner.
The researcher has a responsibility to present the data in such a way that the reader can make an informed judgment about the issue (Schram, 2006). Patton (2002) describes the concept of extrapolation in which the researcher speculates on how likely the findings would occur under other similar conditions. It is the goal of the researcher to identify themes about the attitudes of local residents on the impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry in order to see the level of influence celebrity endorsements have on patronizing particular types of fashion trends..
Possible ethical considerations that may arise through this study consist of the following:
- The potential for unintentional plagiarism through verbatim lifting of information, arguments and points of view from researched source material.
- The use of unsubstantiated information taken from unverifiable or nonacademic resources (ex: internet articles).
- The use of a biased viewpoint on issues which may inadvertently result in an alteration of the questionnaire results.
- Presentation of data without sufficient corroborating evidence or a lack of citation.
- Falsifying the results of the research for the benefit of the initial assumptions of the study.
- Using views and ideas without giving due credit to the original source.
According to Saunders et al. (2000), “Ethics refers to the appropriateness of your behavior in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your work, or are affected by it” (p. 130). In addition to seeking approval from the masteral thesis board, a letter of consent will be sent to the head of the program to request individual indulgence and approval in conducting the study. Mailings will be sent to the individual institutions, agencies, businesses etc. explaining the main objective of the study and requesting their consent for participation. Further communication will proceed between those who agree to take part in the survey and the researcher via email to ensure that all individuals understand the requirements for the study. The researcher will also take time to elaborate the rights of participants during the study process, including the right to informed consent and the right to confidentiality. By addressing these concerns through guidelines on proper ethics and research, it is expected that there will be few ethical concerns that will need to be addressed.
Impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry
You are cordially invited to participate in a research study involving the examination of impact of celebrity endorsements in the development of the fashion industry. You were selected as a participant based on your knowledge involving the fashion industry, social media, the impact of celebrity endorsements on brands as well as the impact endorsement deals have on product sales. Prior to participating in this study, please read through this form in order to familiarize yourself with the responses expected of you. Should you have any questions or concerns please voice them out to the researcher at any time. This study is being conducted by (PLACE NAME HERE) who is a masters degree candidate.
The purpose of this study is to determine the full gamut of effects associated with celebrities and their inherent influence on the development of particular fashion trends due to their level of influence. The main objective of the research shall be to determine how celebrity endorsements can always be used to develop a new fashion and make it relevant in the market. The other objective of this research is to understand the psychology behind people copying celebrities. The aim extends to understanding how the fashion designers have been able to capture this to their advantage as well as how this also influences the new designs that they come up with. It is expected that this research study should provide an enlightening account regarding the positive and negative aspects of the processes involved in celebrity endorsements.
Should you agree to participate in this study; the following will be expected of you:
- Sign the consent form indicating that you are willing to participate in this study and that you are allowing the researcher to utilize the information you give as part of the data analysis.
- Give clear, concise and above all honest answers during the interview process
- Fill out all the segments of the statement of consent
- Indicate your demographic data statement of consent
Assurance of Anonymity
All information that will be obtained via this method of data gathering will be kept strictly confidential with all research participants being assured of the anonymity of their responses. None of the responses will be released with any indication that they were given by a particular individual. The results will be quantified into basic statistics to ensure that no personally identifiable information can be identified. Information gathered from respondents of the survey will be destroyed after a period of 10 years to further ensure that no personal information will be leaked in any way.
Voluntary Nature of the Study
Your participation in this study is strictly voluntary. Your decision whether or not to participate will not affect your current or future relations with anyone involved in the study. You may withdraw from the study at any time without any penalty, even if you initially decide to participate.
Risk from Undertaking the Study
While there are no outright risks in participating in a study of this nature there are some long term risks that should be taken into consideration. There exists the possibility that participants in the study may face victimization or undue criticism due to the views they present which may or may not appeal to the “image” that various corporations and private entities wish to portray themselves as. In order to prevent such problems from occurring, all the data will be sealed within a locked cabinet and will not be presented without ensuring that all possible methods of identification have been removed beforehand.
Impact of Regional Integration on Trade and Human Migration
Contacts and Questions
The researcher conducting this study is (First Name Last Name). The researcher’s adviser is XXX XXXX, Ph.D. You may ask any questions you have now. If you have questions later, you may contact us.
|Contact info for researcher:||Contact info for advisor:|
You will receive a copy of this form from the researcher.
Statement of Consent
I have read the above information. I have asked questions and received answers. I consent to participate in the study.
Printed Name of Participant: _________________________________________
Signature: _________________________________ Date: _____________
Signature of Investigator: _____________________ Date: _____________
Participant Pseudonym: __________________________
Over a period of one month, the researcher was able to collect participant data from 60 research subjects spanning categories such as marketing professionals, brand managers, business owners, CEOs (over digital methods of communication) as well as several agents, average consumers and members of the entertainment industry (small time actors).
A breakdown of the number of participants per category is depicted below:
|Research Subject Category||Range in Study Data|
|Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)||5%|
|Small Time Actors||5%|
As seen in the participant data, the researcher divided the study into two distinct categories, those directly involved in the process of utilizing celebrities as endorsers of particular fashion trends and average consumers who are the primary target of the processes that are being put into effect by the other half of the examined population data. By creating a cross comparison between those involved in the process of product endorsement and those who are the primary target of such methods of promotion, it can be expected that this method of analysis will yield a significant amount of data showing the impact of celebrity endorsements in the fashion world.
Consumer Based Examination
Based on the results of the interview, it can be stated that the reason why some consumers prefer to buy branded fashion designs that are endorsed by celebrities as compared to cheaper and similar fashions that are not endorsed by celebrities is due to the way in which people perceive the patronage of such brands as a means of being associated with a celebrity. One particular saying comes to mind when taking into the reactions of the consumers that were interviewed and the reasoning behind her continued purchase of celebrity endorsed goods and that is “appearances are everything”. This means that within present day society, an individual’s physical appearance whether it encompasses their body type or the type of clothes has come to such a point that their very character is judged from the way in which they conform to distinct categories in society that associate particular types of physical appearance to an individual’s level in society. With celebrities normally being considered the epitome of modern day society, the more a person looks like them, the better their status is perceived as by other members of society.
The association of luxury goods with wealth and prestige is actually the result of the influences of popular culture on society today. Magazines such as Vogue and Elle frequently show numerous celebrities sporting luxury items, T.V. shows, movies, and even interviews frequently show instances of product placement from numerous actors and actresses. Popular culture has an effect on society wherein people who view their favorite actors and actresses or see models sporting certain products in magazines automatically want to look and be like them. Unfortunately for most the amount of money needed for such an endeavor frequently exceeds that of an ordinary individual. To this end a lot of people tend to turn to fake brand name goods in order to conform to their image of what they think is beautiful.
While this is a slight unintended result of the celebrity endorsements, it does help to further reinforce the notion that celebrities do indeed have a considerable impact on the way in which society views particular fashion trends. From a short interview with a friend that will go by the name of “Amy” who had a tendency to buy luxury goods using her credit card, the supposed reasoning behind her purchases of original rather than ordinary products was due to the fact that the mere ownership of such an item and knowing that it was original is a far better feeling in her opinion than having to resort to owning “just” a bag. She mentioned that since Kim Kardashian owned one and was in effect promoting it, this in effect made it a desirable item to have since it accorded to her a distinct level of association with the reality TV star by way of owning the same bag.
The results showed that conventional athletes that endorsed certain products created a significantly lower level of brand awareness connected to them over a prolonged period of time as compared to big name athletes. In the case of the sport of golf there were steep declines in all cases but the results similarly showed that big name athletes created a slower level of product association inaccuracy over a given time as compared conventional athletes.
It must be noted though that in all cases presented in this study there were product association declines which means that given a set period of time between when subjects are exposed to an athlete endorsing a product to when they are not it is likely that subjects will eventually be unable to properly associate athletes with certain products after a certain length of time.
It must also be noted that during the initial session the participants in the study were able to have a higher brand association accuracy rate with big name athletes as compared to conventional athletes. It was seen both in the case of golf and basketball that for conventional athletes the study participants were barely able to reach a 60% accuracy rate in associating brands with certain athletes during the initial session with steep declines thereafter during the 2nd and 3rd sessions.
On the other hand for athlete mega stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter the degree of product association accuracy was much higher during the initial sessions often reaching 80% or more in certain cases. Not only that it was also seen that the slope of the degree of inaccuracy for athlete megastars was not as steep compared to the slopes of conventional athletes which showed a very steep downward slop in product association accuracy. During the 2nd and 3rd session questionnaires the study participants were asked what influenced their accuracy of their answers the most, the participants responded that the fame of participants factored heavily into their answers with several of the respondents actually being professed fans of several of the big name athletes featured in this study.
What was curious about this study was that it did not reflect the same results as the Fizel et al. (2008) study where it was noted that golf should have had a higher product association response rate as compared to basketball. When trying to examine the reasons behind this the researcher could only assume that the differing results was due to different types of demographics utilized in both studies. For this particular research study what was utilized was a distinctly younger demographic as compared to the Fizel et al. (2008) study which most likely factored heavily into the differing results. As such based on the results of this study it cannot be stated that consumers are likely to adhere to product patronage through golf endorsements rather than basketball endorsements but rather the type of athlete endorsing the product is more likely to factor into the creation of sufficient brand awareness.
Based on the results of the study it can be seen that over a prolonged period of time brand recognition utilizing athletes continues to decrease with conventional athletes showing a marked increase in product disassociation compared to big name athletic stars. Given the decrease in brand association it can be stated that the use of athletic endorsement deals as a means of advertising can only be effective if big name athletic stars are utilized, in cases where conventional athletes are used the degree of brand recognition has a markedly lower rate which indicates an ineffective method of advertising.
It must also be noted though that given the decrease in brand association for popular athletic stars and the fact that athletes are not always in the public spot light this shows that endorsement deals do not provide a continuous stream of brand exposure which makes it a less than ideal method of advertising. While it may be true that numerous studies support the practice based on the results shown by stars such as LeBron James and Tiger Woods the fact remains that such cases are exceptions to the rule with a vast majority of cases showing a market decrease in brand association.