Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Communications

First Advisor

Emmett Coffey


Celebrity culture and endorsement has become a huge part of public relations today. Therefore it has become a core tactic within public relations campaigns and is becoming increasingly important as a method for building a long standing relationship with the consumer. The aim of this research study is to discover if celebrity endorsement makes an impact within public relations campaigns - why it is selected as a public relations tactic and how companies select celebrities to go with particular campaigns. The study also aims to discover how celebrity endorsement affects the consumer.

A qualitative research design was chosen as there has not been enough previous research done about this topic to investigate in a qualitative manner. Public relations professionals were chosen in relation to their knowledge about public relations and celebrity endorsement. A focus group was carried out by the researcher in to discover how consumers are impacted by the tactic.

The extensive findings suggest that celebrity endorsement is indeed an influential public relations tactic that is used for many reasons. The main ones are: to strengthen media relations, more media coverage, to enhance reputation, to project company and campaign messages, and maximise brand value and consumer loyalty.

The academic models of celebrity endorsement have been found to be used frequently by public relations professionals although none of the participants followed a specific one. They utilised a combination of the models including - match up, credibility, meaning transfer and physical attractiveness. These four factors were deemed to be the most important contributing factors for public relations professionals when choosing a celebrity.

The consumer opinions discovered by the researcher were not in agreement with the public relations professionals. While all professionals deemed it to be influential if the fit was right, not all consumers agreed and some stated that even where there was a good match, the use of a celebrity turned them off the campaign.

The author has provided recommendations in regard to future research that could be undertaken within this topic that would aid students of public relations and professionals in the industry.


A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Cork Institute of Technology, for the degree of: Master's Degree (M.A.) in Public Relations with New Media

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