How to choose the endorser: An experimental analysis on the effects of fit and notoriety


  • Veronica Gabrielli University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
  • Ilaria Baghi University of Modena and Reggio Emilia


The present study is focused on the endorser topic following two different paths: firstly, proposing an extension of the theoretical match-up model, enlarge it through two other potential types of consistency: the typicality fit and the imagery fit. Secondly, the present study aims verifies the applicability of the same framework to the emerging situation with a brand linked to a not well-known endorser (internal as the
founder or external as a web influencer).
An experimental 3*2 (fit typology*high/low notoriety) between subject analysis was conducted in the food service domain. It showed some interesting considerations. From a theoretical point of view, the first relevant finding is that endorsement might be assimilated to a co-branding strategy, confirming the match-up model as an effective theoretical framework in this domain as well, with significant differences
among the three fit typologies investigated. The typicality fit reveals to be the less effective in increasing attitude and other behavioural effects on consumers in spite of the large adoption of this kind of fit by companies. Instead, the imagery fit, seems to be the most impactful in terms of positive word of mouth activation and viral communication activities, at the same level at the categorical one. Moreover, the categorical fit induces the wider range of positive effect on the dependent variables (attitudes, willingness to pay and willingness to buy).
Another interesting contribution is that the presence of an appropriate fit (in particular the categorical one) is able to compensate the absence of endorser notoriety and, on the average, the usage of a very popular endorser from the same domain of  the brand is not necessary more effective in comparison with a not well-known endorser form the same domain. This result is the peak of the present research from a managerial point of view, as it leads to consider the opportunity to support the emerging practices by which companies turn to not well-known people (disclosing the founder, or presenting some workers, or adopting a common consumer as an influencer). The endorser not well-known, but presented with an adequate story-telling might be the best choice: less onerous and more effective than a big unrelated celebrity.

Author Biographies

Veronica Gabrielli, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Economics

Ilaria Baghi, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Economics


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