Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Chair

Dr. Fei Xue

Committee Chair Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 2

Dr. Jae-Hwa Shin

Committee Member 2 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 3

Dr. Cheryl Jenkins

Committee Member 3 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 4

Dr. Jun Heo

Committee Member 4 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 5

Dr. Kim LeDuff

Committee Member 5 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Abstract

India is among the fastest growing economies in the world and has the second largest population out of which 70% are considered rural. The rural consumer has witnessed a lifestyle shift wherein they have become brand conscious, consumption of media content has increased and a rising income has opened up possibilities never experienced before. Understanding the love for cinema, celebrity endorsement has become a popular marketing strategy being employed by advertisers in India. The purpose of this study was to find out which celebrity endorser type (national, regional or non-celebrity) was the most effective on rural consumer’s attitude toward the ad, brand, and purchase intention for high and low involvement products. The influence of source credibility attributes on attitudes and purchase intention were also studied. A 3X2 between-subjects design was implemented and a rural sample consisting of members of the nonprofit organization, Kudumbashree, was selected. The findings showed that, overall, non-celebrity endorsers were the most effective for high and low involvement products. In terms of credibility, trustworthiness had the most significant influence on attitudes and purchase intentions. Marketing implications are discussed.