An exploratory study on perception of celebrity endorsement in public services advertising

  • Kara ChanEmail author
  • Ting Zhang
Original Article


An exploratory qualitative study was conducted to examine how young adults perceive the mechanism of creation and the influence of celebrity endorsement in public services advertising. Face-to-face interviews were carried out with 29 persons aged 18 to 24 recruited through a quota sampling. Interviewees were asked to recall a government public services advertisement with celebrity endorsement, and report why they found them memorable. Results indicated that the main reasons for finding the advertisements memorable were attributed more to slogans, repetition, and personal relevance than to the performances of the celebrities. Interviewees expected celebrities in PSA to be morally sound. Interviewees perceived strongly that self-interest motivates celebrities to appear in social services advertisements. Based on the results, public services marketers should put emphasis on visual and verbal elements of PSA. Efforts should be made to recruit celebrities that are close to the public. Ficitious characters may be explored in the future as an alternative to celebrity endorsement in the PSA context.


Young adults Social policy Non-profit marketing Celebrity motivation Communication effects 



We would like to acknowledge students from GDSS/GDBU1867 Children as Consumers: Marketing to the Youth in the academic year of 2018/19 for their participation in data collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

Human subjects approval statement

This study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee at Hong Kong Baptist University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Studies, School of CommunicationHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong

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