Using source-credibility and source-attractiveness models, this study examines the endorsement effectiveness of chief executive officers (ceos) and founders as compared with celebrities, especially when ceos and founders are not well-known or popular. Advertisements with ceos and founders are a fast-growing brand-endorsement tactic. Recent studies also indicate that ceos as business leaders influence consumers’ purchase intention. This study’s findings, based on a café brand and replicated for a hotel-and-pub company in the United Kingdom, indicate that when the identity of ceos and founders is signaled through their identity badge (i.e., their title and designation), consumers find an advertisement more effective than an advertisement with celebrities. Advertisements with founders as endorsers were found to be more effective for new products, whereas ceos as endorsers were more effective for existing products.
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