Marketing Letters

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 43–55 | Cite as

Consumers’ online responses to the death of a celebrity

  • Scott K. RadfordEmail author
  • Peter H. Bloch


Humans have long been fascinated with celebrated persons. Because celebrities are usually protected, fans rely on celebrity-related products to connect to a beloved individual. As symbolic embodiments of celebrities, these related products often become cherished personal possessions. The death of a celebrity appears to strongly elevate a celebrity’s stature and increase the value of the celebrity’s products. This research examined marketplace effects of celebrity deaths using longitudinal data obtained from online auctions. Results indicated that a celebrity's death strongly boosts demand for surviving memorabilia. Marketers were also found to act with incredible speed in offering products to meet this heightened demand. These findings suggest that the effect of death on memorabilia sales varied by product type and death context.


Internet auctions Celebrity memorabilia Sacralization Death effect Consumer grieving 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Haskayne School of BusinessUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Trulaske College of BusinessUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA

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