Thomson, Jennifer A., Wigley, Stephen M. and Parker, Carolyn R. (2010) Kate Loves Topshop: Celebrity Endorsements and the Lovemarks Concept in a Fashion Retail Context. In: 17th Eirass Conference on Retailing and Consumer Services, July 7th-9th 2010, Istanbul, Turkey. (Unpublished)

Fashion designers and retailers often employ celebrities as endorsers due to celebrities’ power to influence consumer attitudes, drive sales and command loyalty. This power may be predicated on the transfer of a celebrity’s perceived personality to the promoted brand, thus enhancing consumer attitudes toward it. Celebrity endorsement is regarded as one component of contemporary brand management, the practice of which has two consequences: first, consumers increasingly expect ‘good’ brand performance from ALL brands; second, brands correspondingly find it difficult to continually distinguish themselves. One response has been the Lovemarks concept (Roberts 2005). A Lovemark is distinguished from conventional brands by inspiring deep, long-lasting relationships based on emotional responses invoked by the characteristics and personality it represents. While the Lovemark model is considered useful to practitioners (Bain 2004; Cooper & Pawle 2006), its academic study is limited, especially in its application to established marketing concepts. Here, a qualitative case-study explores the Lovemark concept in context of celebrity endorsement by examining the congruency between emotions felt for UK fashion retailer Topshop, and its associated celebrity, Kate Moss. Findings suggest that emotional responses to a celebrity have resonance on attitudes toward a brand; these and implications for practice and theory will be presented.

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