Marketing Project Topics

A Critical Investigation of Celebrity Endorsement of Charitable Campaigns and Its Impact on Awareness Creation in Ghana




 Background of study

The word “celebrity” is derived from the Latin adjective “celeber,” which means “renowned” or “celebrated,” according to Franklin, Hogan, Langley, Mosdell, and Elliot (2009, p. 37). A celebrity, according to them, is “a person who is widely recognized in a given society and commands a significant amount of public and media attention.” “People who enjoy public recognition by a big share of a given set of people,” according to Schlecht (2003, p.3). From these definitions, it can be concluded that public recognition or fame is an important factor in determining who a celebrity is. Even while fame is a well-known requirement for achieving celebrity status, there must also be a level of public interest in the individual. The source of the celebrity’s renown may or may not be related to the cause for the attention. A public figure such as a gender campaigner, for example, may be well-known but not have the status of a celebrity unless something else (such as who she is dating) piques the public’s or mass media’s interest. Other types of famous people, such as those in the entertainment industry, such as singers, actors, and athletes, virtually always guarantee celebrity status, even if they actively avoid media attention (Franklin et al., 2009). Celebrities are known for a variety of qualities, including their appearance, particular skills in sports, entertainment, public speaking, and living remarkable lifestyles (Schlecht, 2003). Actors, sports, models, musicians, and, most lately, preachers are examples of people who are considered celebrities. Individuals may achieve celebrity status in other cases based on their wealth, ties to a famous family, background, lifestyle, or controversial actions, particularly in the new media era, where an individual can become a national sensation overnight simply by posting a large number of nude photos or videos on social media (Franklin et al., 2009). Who a celebrity is is a subjective concept that is heavily influenced by a country’s or cultural community’s celebrity system. For example, in Ghana, some persons may be well-known, and the audience may be interested in them, but they may not be well-known elsewhere. As a result, while a celebrity in Ghana, such a person may not be seen as one in other areas of the world. Politicians may be seen as celebrities in some nations, but not so in others (Franklin et al., 2009; Schlecht, 2003). It’s tough to categorize any one celebrity due to the varying levels of celebrity in different countries and locations (Franklin et al., 2009). Some celebrities have global renown and are known as A-listers, which refers to the most well-known and powerful, with practically all of them being high-ranking political, religious, entertainment, and sports figures. In a hierarchical hierarchy, entertainers are classified as B-list, C-List, or Z-list, depending on their global degree of renown (Franklin et al., 2009). Athletes in ancient Greece, who were returned home as heroes with songs and poetry made in their honor before the arrival of new media, were important individuals who were regarded famous and would be considered celebrities today (Miller, 2004). In addition, they were given free food and gifts (Miller, 2004). Oprah Winfrey, television host; Jennifer Lopez, musician and actress; Beyoncé, musician; Taylor Swift, musician; and Floyd Mayweather, boxer are among the most popular Alisted celebrities according to Forbes 100 in recent years, specifically between 2010 and 2018. Celebrities are thought to have great persuasive power, according to Spry, Pappu, and Cornwell (2011), and are capable of improving advertising effectiveness, brand recognition, brand memory, buy intentions, and purchase behavior.

According to Spry et al. (2011), most well-known celebrities use their authority in various ways due to the power they have. Acting as brand ambassadors, spokespersons for various organisations or causes, and product and service advocates are just a few examples (Kambitsis, Harahousou, Theodorakis, and Chatzibeis, 2002). Many businesses are making multimillion-dollar partnerships with celebrities in the hopes of attracting customers, achieving a “unique and relevant position in the eyes of consumers” (Temperley & Tangen, 2006, p. 97), and “offering brands a touch of glamour” (Reynolds, 2000 as cited in Nwokah & Nwulu, 2015, p. 26). The use of celebrities as a signaling strategy is referred to as “playing the role of a signaling strategy.” (Mustafa 2005, p. 26; Nwokah & Nwulu, 2015). Celebrity endorsement is now more than ever being used by a variety of organizations to attract audiences, regardless of the product kind (Thorson, 2008; del Mar Garcia de los Salmones, Dominguez, Herrero, 2013). Celebrity endorsement, according to Jain (2011, p. 69), is “the practice of celebrities being exploited for giving services other than executing their actual employment.” This suggests that celebrity endorsements are really a by-product of celebrities’ main employment. Consumers are more likely to remember a product [or cause] promoted by a celebrity, according to a Taiwanese study, whether or not they are true admirers of the celebrity (Chi, Yeh, and Tsai, 2011). A mere statement from a company signing on a celebrity or athlete can lead to stock prices rising modestly and raise sales by 4% on average, according to Market Watch, a financial information website that covers business news, analysis, and stock market statistics (Hock, 2015). Furthermore, “celebrity endorsement is typically considered as a realistic alternative for firms to boost awareness, build credibility, and promote products,” according to White, Goddard, and Wilbur (2009). (p.6). They went on to say that ‘around 14-19 percent of ads aired in the United States featured celebrities endorsing products and businesses, a proportion that is significantly higher in other markets’. Nike, a sportswear company, is claimed to spend $475 million a year on convincing athletes to support its brand (Khan & Lodhi 2016).

Celebrities have not been left out of the not-for-profit industry. They contribute to the industry in various forms, including setting up their own non-profit agencies; associating themselves (one-off) with particular agencies whose cause they might be interested in; lending their names to be associated with advertising for products or services; permanently aligning themselves with an agency and partaking in their activities; and by donating money or rending their services. The most important objective, however, is why most organisations use celebrities is to raise funds and create awareness for their brands. Celebrity involvement with charitable and humanitarian causes has thus become even more common over the past two decades. This has partly been attributed to the fact that “offering support for global charities has become part of the contemporary celebrity job description and a hallmark of the established star” (Littler, 2008; p. 237). Also, according to Harris (2003), such involvement offers celebrities the opportunity to prove to their audiences that they are trustworthy and humane. There may, however, be celebrities who support charitable causes with the genuine intention of helping the disadvantaged in society.

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 Statement of problem

With the recent surge in charitable organizations’ demand for celebrities to endorse their causes, as well as celebrities’ increasing interest in charitable causes as part of their jobs and a measure of accomplishment, the idea of celebrity endorsement of charitable causes is here to stay (Soden, 2007). Celebrities have been advocating, promoting, and raising awareness of a variety of causes, either on their own, through their foundations, or through offering support to charitable organizations. However, celebrity endorsement of products, brands, services, health programs, and even political parties is not a new trend. Celebrities have been used by businesses and organizations to advertise and give credibility to their products, brands, and services since the dawn of time. As a result, there has been a lot of interest in such endorsements, leading to a lot of research.


Celebrity endorsements of philanthropic organizations, on the other hand, have gotten very little scholarly attention, despite the fact that they have become increasingly popular in recent years (Park & Cho, 2015). Furthermore, some of the limited but existing literature suggests that there is a link between charity and celebrities, that celebrities do raise awareness and help with sales, lending credence to the notion that celebrity endorsements do have an impact on product sales and charitable cause awareness (the “celebrity effect”). However, there are differences in opinion about the amount of influence [and impact] (Brockington & Henson (2014).

Numerous causes, charities, and charity-related activities are backed and/or championed by celebrities in Ghana, and despite the trend’s rapid spread, it remains mostly unstudied from a scholarly standpoint. Furthermore, whether or not celebrities have an influence on their campaigns-in terms of raising awareness, whether the impact is positive or negative, and the magnitude of the impact (the extent)-highlights the need for more academic research in this area. This study will answer the question of whether celebrities in Ghana create any awareness when they promote or campaign for charity causes, despite the fact that they can not answer or hope to solve all of the concerns raised above. It will also examine the efficacy of this emerging trend in charitable advertising in Ghana. The study will be based on celebrity endorsements and campaigns for the “UNICEF Influencers Campaign” (Wiyaala, M.Anifest Gary Al-Smith, Ameyaw Debrah, and MzVee) and the UNFPA Ambassador for Obstetric Fistula (Mr. John Dumelo).

Objective of study

The basic aim of this research episode is to  investigate celebrity endorsement of charitable campaigns and its impact on awareness. The study will further delve into determining the relationship between exposure to celebrity endorsements of charitable campaigns and public awareness of the charitable campaigns. And examining the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements for awareness creation of charitable campaigns.

Research Hypotheses

The study will test the validity of the following hypothetical statement.

H01: There is no significant relationship between exposure to celebrity endorsements of charitable campaigns and public awareness of the charitable campaigns.

H02: Celebrity endorsements is not effective in creating awareness for charitable campaigns.

Significance of study

This study aims to determine whether celebrity endorsements, in whatever form, increase awareness, and if so, by what amount. This will give charitable organizations and agencies a basic grasp of the relationship between celebrity endorsements and public awareness of philanthropic efforts, allowing them to make informed judgments about celebrity endorsements for their campaigns. It will also provide guidance to non-profit organizations on what to consider when developing and implementing communication plans that include celebrity endorsements in order to achieve the appropriate level of exposure. The study will once again provide celebrities with the opportunity to learn about their impact on the public when lobbying for charity causes, as well as, if possible, the most effective method to take. This study will contribute to the current literature in this field and will also serve as a resource for academics, researchers, and students who may want to do future research on this or a comparable topic.

Scope of study

This study investigates the impact of celebrity endorsement of charitable campaigns on awareness creation with specific focus on the relationship between exposure to celebrity endorsements of charitable campaigns and public awareness of the charitable campaigns. And the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements for awareness creation of charitable campaigns. Due to the nature of the study, the students of Ghana University Legon will serve as enrolled participants for this study.

Limitation of study

Finance,inadequate materials and time constraint were the challenges the researchers encountered during the course of the study.

Definition of terms

Celebrity: Celebrity is a condition of fame and broad public recognition of an individual or group, or occasionally a character or animal, as a result of the attention given to them by mass media.

Endorsement: The action of endorsing someone or something.

Awareness: Awareness is the state of being conscious of something. More specifically, it is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events.

Campaign: An organized course of action to achieve a goal.



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