You Are My Friend, But We Are from Different Worlds: Actor-Type Effects on Audience Engagement in Narrative Video Advertisements

Matthias Glaser, Heribert Reisinger, Arnd Florack

Narrative video ads often use either celebrities or unknown actors to engage consumers and convey their messages. Although research suggests that celebrities (versus unknown actors) may enhance the effects of narrative videos on brand attitudes, this hypothesis has yet to be empirically tested, and the mechanisms behind such potential effects remain unclear. We compared the effects of celebrities and unknown actors in narrative video ads on brand attitudes and examined potential pathways through which actor type might increase or decrease persuasion. In Studies 1(a) through 1(c) and 3 we used a narrative video in two distinct versions: the original with a celebrity and an alternative where we used face-swapping technology to replace the celebrity with an unknown actor. In Study 2 we analyzed responses to unmodified ads. In Studies 1(a) through 1(c) and 2 we found no evidence that the celebrity actor increased transportation into the story or identification with the actor, but we consistently observed that celebrities increased perceptions of a parasocial relationship with the actor. However, this effect was not enhanced for a narrative video ad compared to a nonnarrative one in Study 3. Furthermore, celebrity actors were associated with reduced retrospective reflection in the path models.

Department of Marketing and International Business, Department of Occupational, Economic and Social Psychology
Journal of Advertising
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Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
502020 Market research
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