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Celebrities and shoes on the female brain: The neural correlates of product evaluation in the context of fame


  • Stallen, Mirre
  • Smidts, Ale
  • Rijpkema, Mark
  • Smit, Gitty
  • Klucharev, Vasily
  • Fernández, Guillén


Celebrity endorsement is omnipresent. However, despite its prevalence, it is unclear why celebrities are more persuasive than (equally attractive) non-famous endorsers. The present study investigates which processes underlie the effect of fame on product memory and purchase intention by the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging methods. We find an increase in activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) underlying the processing of celebrity-product pairings. This finding suggests that the effectiveness of celebrities stems from a transfer of positive affect from celebrity to product. Additional neuroimaging results indicate that this positive affect is elicited by the spontaneous retrieval of explicit memories associated with the celebrity endorser. Also, we demonstrate that neither the activation of implicit memories of earlier exposures nor an increase in attentional processing is essential for a celebrity advertisement to be effective. By explaining the neural mechanism of fame, our results illustrate how neuroscience may contribute to a better understanding of consumer behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Stallen, Mirre & Smidts, Ale & Rijpkema, Mark & Smit, Gitty & Klucharev, Vasily & Fernández, Guillén, 2010. "Celebrities and shoes on the female brain: The neural correlates of product evaluation in the context of fame," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 802-811, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:5:p:802-811

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heath, Timothy B & McCarthy, Michael S & Mothersbaugh, David L, 1994. " Spokesperson Fame and Vividness Effects in the Context of Issue-Relevant Thinking: The Moderating Role of Competitive Setting," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 520-534, March.
    2. Petty, Richard E & Cacioppo, John T & Schumann, David, 1983. " Central and Peripheral Routes to Advertising Effectiveness: The Moderating Role of Involvement," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 135-146, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jbuset:v:144:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3059-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Solnais, Céline & Andreu-Perez, Javier & Sánchez-Fernández, Juan & Andréu-Abela, Jaime, 2013. "The contribution of neuroscience to consumer research: A conceptual framework and empirical review," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 68-81.
    3. Ale Smidts & Ming Hsu & Alan Sanfey & Maarten Boksem & Richard Ebstein & Scott Huettel & Joe Kable & Uma Karmarkar & Shinobu Kitayama & Brian Knutson & Israel Liberzon & Terry Lohrenz & Mirre Stallen , 2014. "Advancing consumer neuroscience," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 257-267, September.
    4. Chiosa Ana Raluca, 2012. "Celebrity Endorsement Strategy," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 3, pages 75-79, September.


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