Factors that Affect the Difference in Preferences for Using Celebrities in Advertisements Between South Korea and the United States




Lee, Ji Eun

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Celebrity endorsers in advertisements are much more prevalent in South Korea than the United States; in general, approximately half of South Korean television ads feature a celebrity, compared to less than 5% in the United States. Creative directors at advertising agencies in South Korea and the United States were interviewed to study the reasons of this sharp disparity to determine what factors affect the use of celebrities. These interviews, combined with a comprehensive review of existing literature, revealed a variety of factors that affect celebrity usage. Primarily, these include cultural differences between the two countries and differences in consumer attitudes, more specifically, significant dissimilarities in the way celebrities are perceived. Other factors included differences in the relationship between advertising agencies and clients in South Korea versus the United States, as well as differences in the amount of risk incurred with using celebrities. Content analysis in the study focuses on the frequency of celebrity endorsements for the top three advertisers in television commercials for a representative time period, January through September, 2008. Personal interviews include information gathered from interviewing 12 advertising professionals; eight creative directors in South Korea and four in the United States that were conducted from December 2009 through February 2010. In conclusion, the differences in celebrity usage can be attributed to the cultural differences that exist between South Korea and the United States, as well as differences in the way business is conducted in the advertising industry between the two countries.



advertising, celebrity, celebrities, South Korea, United States, Honors College


Lee, J. E. (2010). Factors that affect the difference in preferences for using celebrities in advertisements between South Korea and the United States (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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