Should We Hire David Beckham to Endorse our Brand? Contextual Interference and Consumer Memory for Brands in a Celebrity's Endorsement Portfolio


Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Katie Kelting, Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Arkansas, Sam M. Walton College of Business, Department of Marketing, 309 Business Building, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA (


Imagine that you are browsing through a magazine, and you see one of your favorite celebrities in an advertisement. Then, a bit further into the magazine you see that same celebrity in an ad for a different product. A few hours later, you think of the celebrity again and try to remember the products s/he was endorsing, but what will you actually recall? This paper examines consumer memory for celebrity advertising under conditions where a single celebrity advertises for more than one brand. Using contextual interference as the theoretical lens, the current research posits and demonstrates how brands in a celebrity's “endorsement portfolio” compete with one another when consumers use the celebrity as retrieval cue for information that was contained in the ads. The findings of the laboratory experiment reveal that brands sharing either a high or low match with the celebrity win the battle during retrieval and inhibit consumers’ ability to accurately recall ad information for brands sharing a more moderate match with the celebrity. The theoretical practical implications of these findings are discussed.