New Media Celebrity and Social Media Promotions: An Abstract
Cord-cutters are disrupting advertising models because they bypass traditional pay television [cable] often by using paid services such as Netflix and HBO NOW or by illegally downloading or streaming shows (Banerjee, Rappoport, and Alleman, 2011). The number of households using traditional paid television services is decreasing and forecasted to be less than 50% of adults by 2025 (McQuivey, 2015). Millennials are the most likely to be cord-cutters and are thus harder to reach by traditional advertising methods than any previous generation (Barnes, 2015); however, millennials are far more likely to voluntarily follow celebrities (both new media and traditional) who promote products on social media, and 77% of them have purchased something after a social media recommendation (Forder, 2016).
New media celebrities, like the Kardashians, utilize the massive number of new media communication mediums, such as social media, to build their fame. Unlike traditional celebrities, who are required to have mediated quasi-interactions to disseminate their talent, this allows new media celebrities to avoid interactions such as these that concretize the parasocial nature of a celebrity’s relationship with their fans (Thomson, 1995). Because of this more personal relationship, new media celebrities have a greater ability to make promotional posts. This research shows that new media celebrities are promoting outside products – products not owned or managed by the celebrity – on Instagram with greater frequency than traditional celebrities. These findings suggest that new media celebrities are a significantly different form of celebrity that functions in a substantially different way than is currently constructed in the literature. A residual analysis is conducted to see how the individual celebrities affect this analysis. The results suggest that this construct warrants further exploration because new media celebrity endorsements could provide multiple benefits including cost-savings, reductions in wasted coverage, and increases in trustworthiness even when a celebrity endorses multiple competing products.
To those who are not active Instagrammers, the phenomena of a generation that cuts cords to avoid television advertisements only to actively follow people whose primary purpose is to be a walking endorsement may seem bizarre. However, personalities are constructed such that the endorsements feel thoroughly authentic (Piazza, 2011) which may open multitudinous avenues for new promotional strategies.