Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Committee Member

Dr. David Blakesley, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Eagan Eatman

Committee Member

Dr. Sean Williams

Abstract

Celebrity endorsements are a common technique used in advertising. While many have studied this marketing tool and its effectiveness, a gap remains in the research regarding overall effectiveness in celebrity choice and advertisement composition in terms of rhetoric. Oftentimes, there is an assumption that celebrity endorsers hold the most power in creating purchase intentions, yet concepts related to rhetoric suggest that other elements play an active role in this as well. Consequently, this study adds to the conversation of celebrity endorsements by examining five beauty advertisements that utilize celebrity endorsements to better understand their overall visual rhetoric and, thus, how they persuade consumers. Links are made to persuasiveness in terms of identity, credibility, design, and branding. The findings suggest that effectiveness cannot just be associated with a single element; rather, it is a conglomeration of rhetorical appeals"”visual rhetoric, credibility/trust, and coherence. Implications are also discussed in terms of how pinpointing the agent in an advertisement can provide specialists in the field with the necessary tools to more effectively persuade consumers and better market their products.

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