discussing core products and product extensions
SOLUTION AT Australian Expert Writers
WEEK 5 FORUM
This week we’re discussing core products and product extensions. There is a great deal of controversy over certain sports mascots and team names. For example some people have issues with using Native American names for mascots or team names. Examples include the Washington Redskins, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Cleveland Indians (who have committed to phasing out Chief Wahoo) or the Kansas City Chiefs? Others may have issues with names such as the Titans, Spartans, Trojans or Crusaders? This also includes gender issues in names such as the Warriors and the Lady Warriors? Please share your thoughts on the following:
· Discuss whether you feel the names of sports teams or mascots is an ethical issue for sport marketers to address.
· Should sports leagues have the ability to force teams to change their name if it is offensive to some of their fans? Why or why not?
· What are your thoughts about this controversial issue? Should some sports teams consider changing their team names and/or mascots?
Moten, M. (2018, May 21). Professional sports marketing. University Wire Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/docview/2042326359?accountid=8289
Nichols, B. S., & Gardner, J. (2017). Corporate Reputation and Cause-Related Marketing in Professional Sports: The Case of Devon Still and the Cincinnati Bengals. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 26(3), 168–175.
Jordan, T., Upright, P., & Forsythe, S. A. (2017). Social Media and Relationship Marketing in Community Sport. KAHPERD Journal, 55(1), 8–19.
Brison, N. T., Byon, K. K., & Baker,Thomas A., I.,II. (2016). To tweet or not to tweet: The effects of social media endorsements on unfamiliar sport brands and athlete endorsers. Innovation : Management, Policy & Practice, 18(3), 309-326. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy2.apus.edu/10.1080/14479338.2016.1237304
Havard, C. T., & Dalakas, V. (2017). Understanding the marketing implications of sport rivalry: What we know and where we are headed. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 26(4), 199-203. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/docview/1984633813?accountid=8289
Laveay, F., Callison, C., & Rodriguez, A. (2009). Offensiveness of Native American Names, Mascots, and Logos in Sports: A Survey of Tribal Leaders and the General Population. International Journal of Sport Communication, 2(1), 81–99.
Davis-Delano, L. (2007). Eliminating Native American Mascots: Ingredients for Success. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 31(4), 340–373. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193723507308251
International Journal of Sport Communication, 2009, 2, 81-99 © 2009 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Offensiveness of Native American Names, Mascots, and Logos in Sports: A Survey of Tribal Leaders and the General Population
Fraser Laveay, Coy Callison, and Ann Rodriguez Texas Tech University, USA
The pervasiveness of media coverage of sports teams with American Indian names and imagery has arguably supported stereotypical beliefs of those referenced. Past research investigating opinions on sports teams using American Indian themes has been inconsistent in findings and drawn criticism for lacking valid samples of Native Americans. Through a survey of National Congress of American Indians leaders (n = 208) and random U.S. adults (n = 484), results reveal that Native Americans are more offended by sports teams employing American Indian imagery, as well as more sup- portive of change, than is the general public. Investigation of how demographic char- acteristics influenced perceptions show that although age and education level have little influence, political party affiliation does correlate with opinions, with those voting Democrat viewing the teams with American Indian names, logos, and mascots as most offensive and in need of change.
Television is unquestionably the most powerful form of media in the world, in part because it effectively reaches a large, general audience. Sports program- ming is among the most popular television products, easily reaching millions of people each day (Hall, Nichols, Moynahan, & Taylor, 2007). The popularity of sports programming often lies in the drama of athletic competition and all the accompanying colorful information provided to these vast audiences by the televi- sion commentators (Raney, 2003).
Sport media, through the language of commentators and the framing of events and performers, has the power to both inform and persuade viewing audiences (Hall et al., 2007). It is this aspect of televised sport that might lead viewers to hold particular beliefs about various sports organizations, many of which are mis- guided and based on negative stereotypes. Furthermore, given the pervasiveness of not only television but all media, particularly in the coverage of sports, the audience’s stereotypical views can become acculturated. This is of concern to
The authors are with the College of Mass Communications, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3082.
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many who fear the normalization of such negative stereotypical beliefs, particu- larly among sports fans.
In 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), one of several sport-governing bodies serving college and university athletic programs in the United States, announced the adoption of a new policy that prohibited NCAA member institutions from displaying hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames, or imagery at any of its championships. It further addressed specifically its problems with Native American imagery and set an absolute compliance date of August 1, 2008 (NCAA, 2005). Well before this policy statement, institutions of higher education bowing to pressure had already changed their team names, including the St. Johns University Red Storm, Stan- ford University Cardinals, University of Miami (Ohio) RedHawks, and Marquette University Golden Eagles (“Burying the Mascot Hatchet,” 2005). Behind the policy statement and the earlier name changes was the belief that American Indi- ans are offended by sports entities that imitate or misuse American Indian sym- bols that have religious significance (“Burying the Mascot Hatchet”). Supporters of a movement to eliminate the use of American Indian symbols by sports teams have outlined how Native Americans view the use of Indian iconography and have determined that it stands to reason Native Americans would take an ill view of the practice. It appears, however, that those conclusions are often based on the sup- porters’ own feelings, and little research has been done that polls the actual popu- lation in question. The few studies that have investigated Native Americans’ opin- ion on the subject have been questioned in terms of methodology. The current study attempts to provide a more accurate picture of how Native Americans, asked directly, and compared with the general U.S. population, perceive the use of American Indian icons, names, and rituals in sports.
Literature Review Previous observers have stated that American Indians are victims of stereotyping when they are used for sports teams’ nicknames, mascots, and logos (Baca, 2004; Banks, 1993; Davis, 1993; Farnell, 2004; Fryberg, Markus, Oyserman, & Stone, 2008; Giago, 1994; Jensen, 1994; King, 2004; King & Springwood, 2000; King, Staurowsky, Baca, Davis, & Pewewardy, 2002; Sigelman, 1998; Strong, 2004). Rouse and Hanson (1991) summarized stereotypes of American Indians as dis- playing them as people “living in the past, clinging to tribal ways and having primitive beliefs ill-suited to success in modern society” (p. 3). Likewise, King et al. (2002) stated, “Stereotypes fail to recognize diversity among the people who are being stereotyped. So-called positive stereotypes such as the Braves often justify problematic practices” (p. 393).
Critics of race-based team mascots believe team nicknames such as the Red- skins are part of the construction and maintenance of stereotypes, while less pointed names such as Indians become problematic when used in conjunction with stereotypical images and fan practices (Fryberg et al., 2008; Jensen, 1994; King, 2004; King & Springwood, 2000). Furthermore, King et al. (2002) pointed out that “mascots stereotype Native Americans as only existing in the past, having a single culture, and being aggressive fighters” (p. 392). Likewise, Staurowsky
Native American Names, Mascots, and Logos 83
(2004) said, “The end result is a U.S. populace wantonly undereducated and unin- formed about who American Indians are” (p. 12).
It should also be noted that the misrepresentation of Native American culture through sports team mascots, names, and logos is of specific concern because Native Americans are underrepresented throughout the culture, in media, in schools, and in the U.S. political structure. In fact, Fryberg et al. (2008) concluded that American mascot representations “function as inordinately powerful com- municators” (p. 216) to Native Americans and Non-Native Americans alike because they are presented in a context void of alternate imagery. In a four-part study, Fryberg et al. presented Native American students with mascot and popular media depictions of American Indians. They found that participants shown images of Cleveland Indians baseball team mascot Chief Wahoo and Disney’s cartoon character Pocahontas reported lower self-esteem scores and decreased feelings of community worth than a control group seeing no such depictions. Likewise, par- ticipants who were primed with an image of an American Indian mascot later listed fewer positive expected achievements for themselves for the following year than participants primed with a positive Native American representation (Ameri- can Indian College Fund advertisement) or those not primed at all.
Despite mounting research evidence and growing public outcry against Native American–based sports team mascots, there seems to be some debate as to whether there is universal disdain for all names. Arguments have been made suggesting that the nicknames Indians and Braves are acceptable, whereas Redskins is not (McCraw, 1992; Sigelman, 1998; Smith, 1997). Activists remain adamant, how- ever, that it is the imagery associated with Indians and Braves, such as toma- hawks, red skin, and headdresses, that makes their use insensitive (Banks, 1993; Smith). To those agreeing, American Indians are stereotyped by the use of a vari- ety of images including war paint and feathers. This practice, however, has been accepted as less offensive than would similar treatment of other ethnic minority groups (Farnell, 2004). In support of this claim, Fred Blue Fox of the Sicangu Lakota Tribe detailed his concerns in an interview with Indian Country Today:
Indian mascots, by today’s standards, would be offensive to any other race if portrayed in a similar manner. Indian peoples are no different in regarding the depiction of eagle feathers, face paints and war objects such as tomahawks. These are all sacred to the people and therefore have no place in any sort of public display, let alone [as] mascots. (“American Indian Opinion Leaders,” 2001)
In its 2005 report, the NCAA identified 18 universities that it would ban from postseason games if they did not replace their Native American mascots (NCAA, 2005). Among other examples of potentially offensive imagery, the NCAA took issue with the University of Illinois’s Chief Illiniwek mascot, images, and regalia in that they appeared hostile and abusive. Despite the fact that the Fighting Illini press office had once contended that the performance of Chief Illiniwek at half- time was one of the most dramatic and dignified traditions in college athletics (Staurowsky, 2004), the university retired the chief after a basketball game on February 21, 2007 (“Illinois Trustees Vote,” 2007).
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University of Illinois board member Robert Sterling said of the shelving, “The time has come, [The Chief] bothered a whole lot of people for a long time” (“Illinois Trustees Vote,” 2007). In addition, the story included an interview with Illinois graduate student Genevieve Tenoso, a Lakota Sioux American Indian, who said, “I haven’t had one single day on this campus when something didn’t remind [me] of the Indian you prefer me to be rather than the living, breathing [American Indian] person that I am” (“Illinois Trustees Vote”).
The capitulation by the University of Illinois exemplifies the rapid change at the college level that has been prompted by the powerful governing body, the NCAA, which has effectively forced most of the remaining affected institutions to make what the institutions envision as monumental choices rather quickly. In fact, as of mid-2008, 12 of the remaining 18 institutions in question had already changed their names and associated imagery or had plans to do so. Five of the remaining six obtained what the NCAA terms as exemption from the rule because they were able to gain approval from local tribes (Trubow, 2007). The NCAA set up an appeals process that provided an avenue for institutions to retain their Native American mascots and still compete fully in NCAA-sanctioned activities. The standard of review was based in part on the understanding that some Native Amer- ican groups support the use of mascots and imagery and some do not. As a result, schools such as Florida State University, Central Michigan University, and the University of Utah received exemptions to the policy because of the public sup- port of the several affected tribes (Staurowsky, 2007). In fact, all three of those institutions currently offer information on their Web sites regarding the traditions of the names and imagery and rationales for their use. The University of Utah, for instance, explains what a “Ute” is and describes a cooperative relationship between the university and the Ute Tribe wherein the two “share in the tradition.” It also indicates that the university asked the tribe both for permission to use the name and for its input as to its choice of an appropriate mascot symbol (University of Utah, 2008).
Central Michigan University (CMU) outlines the historical development of its Chippewa nickname, explaining its geographical significance and its “opportu- nities for pageantry and showmanship.” The CMU Web site continues, however, to discuss the fact that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission recommended in the late 1980s that CMU drop the nickname and that in March 1989, an advisory committee to the president of the university recommended retaining the name under certain conditions. Those conditions included developing educational pro- grams in conjunction with the local Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council, sessions to familiarize CMU students and staff with traditional Native American culture, and dropping several Native American logos and traditions that could be con- strued as offensive (CMU, 2008).
Florida State University (FSU) offers perhaps the most well-known example of an NCAA member institution allowed to retain its Native American name and imagery. FSU goes to great lengths to explain its connection to the Seminole Indi- ans of Florida and their history as a “noble, brave, courageous, strong and deter- mined people who, against great odds, struggled successfully to preserve their heritage and live their lives according to their traditions and preferences” (FSU, 2008). FSU further addresses critics’ concerns that their use of Indian symbolism is derogatory by explaining that it has over many years worked closely with the
Native American Names, Mascots, and Logos 85
Seminole Tribe of Florida to ensure the dignity and propriety of the various Semi- nole symbols it uses. It even highlights a 5-minute professional video on its uni- versity relations Web page, prefaced by Head Football Coach Bobby Bowden describing its connection to the Seminole Tribe of Florida as “an alliance of mutual respect and admiration,” encompassing “ancestral ties” and “a timeless legacy.” It explains a thoughtful academic connection, as well, relating that FSU actively recruits Seminole Indian students and offers scholarships to help them attend the university. The video ends with an affirmation of FSU’s commitment to treat the Seminole name with “boundless honor” and respect. It should be noted, however, that the FSU and Seminole collaboration, which is positioned as a respectful partnership, is not without a sordid history that calls into question the university’s use of the tribe’s imagery and the possible political nature of the tribe’s motivations. In fact, much of the modern Seminole imagery was first initi- ated without any tribal input, and rumors continue to swirl that the Seminole people only stood in support of FSU’s use of their symbols and imagery as a means of garnering support for Florida casino-gambling legislation (King & Springwood, 2001).
As of 2007, there remained one institution, the University of North Dakota, that had yet to comply with the NCAA’s policy or receive an exemption. The uni- versity sued the NCAA and recently settled its litigation over the requirements. The terms of the settlement allow the university 3 years to obtain support for the continued use of the Fighting Sioux name and associated imagery by at least two Sioux tribes in the state of North Dakota, or it then agrees to permanently discon- tinue use of the name and imagery (D. Dodds, personal communication, May 27, 2008).
Despite numerous changes away from American Indian names and associ- ated imagery among NCAA member institutions, change has taken place more slowly outside the reach of the NCAA. Although in the United States between 1969 and 2002 more than 600 elementary, middle, and high schools and minor league professional clubs dropped nicknames deemed offensive by American Indian groups (King et al., 2002), as of 2004 there were still as many as 1,400 high schools employing Native American mascots (Staurowsky, 2004).
Many who resist changing from the use of American Indian imagery by sports teams argue that some American Indians themselves do not care about such use, shoring up their argument with vocal supporters of the use of Native American imagery. For supporters of a promascot position, the opinion of athletes of color and American Indians who do not oppose these mascots is commonly used to argue that change is not necessary (Davis, 1993). In fact, a more recent study highlighted opinions holding that change should not occur unless a coherent American Indian majority opinion in opposition to the use of such imagery could be gained and that there appears to as yet be no such clear majority American Indian opinion (Davis-Delano, 2007).
In 2002, Sports Illustrated published an article titled “The Indian Wars” writ- ten by S.L. Price that drew conclusions based on a public opinion poll involving American Indian respondents and publication readers. Results of the Peter Harris poll commissioned by Sports Illustrated were reported as follows: 81% of Native American respondents disagreed that high school and college teams should cease the use of Native American names, and 83% of Native American respondents said
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professional sports teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, and imagery. Ultimately, based on the survey, Price (2002) reported that most Native Americans do not oppose sports teams using Native American names and mascots.
Within 9 months of the Sports Illustrated article’s appearing on newsstands, a group of researchers published a critique of the study in the Journal of Sport & Social Issues (see King et al., 2002). The authors argued that the Sports Illustrated article be dismissed based on methodological errors. King et al. (2002) contended that the article never explained how poll participants were chosen, how they were contacted, in what geographical regions the poll occurred, or whether one ethnic group was overrepresented or laid out the exact wording and order of the ques- tions. King et al. (2002) stated that Sports Illustrated refused to reveal its method- ology after claiming that the survey and details of how it was conducted were the magazine’s exclusive property.
A focal point of contention for King et al. (2002) centered on the Sports Illus- trated article’s not clearly defining how survey participants were categorized as Native Americans. If Price’s (2002) piece was to outline the opinions of Native Americans, then the survey participants must have irrefutable and clear Native American heritage, King et al. (2002) contended. The ability of the Harris sample to represent the intended demographic, however, is questionable. No universal means of defining what characteristics or genetic history constitutes Native Amer- ican heritage has been achieved (Nagel, 1995). In the absence of any widely accepted criteria on which to base racial or ethnic determinations, individuals have cited tribal affiliations, residence, or self-proclaimed ethnicity when estab- lishing Native American racial status (King et al., 2002). Clearly, a problem emerges if those surveyed by the Harris Group to represent Native Americans and speak for their plight could not be systematically linked to the racial group for which they proclaimed that Native American imagery in sports did not offend.
Lending support to King et al.’s (2002) concern that surveying the Native American population requires overcoming the sampling hurdle, some scholars contend that there is a tendency for people to falsely identify with Native Ameri- can ethnicity. Springwood (2004) does not debate that some non-Indians might claim Native American heritage for nonnefarious purposes, skewing demograph- ics. His article, however, focuses on his belief that “white people are now rhetori- cally fabricating Indianness in debates, not to realign themselves psychically or sympathetically with Native Americans but rather to obscure, if not dissolve, Native voices” (Springwood, p. 56). Ultimately, Springwood argues that non- Indians attempt to trivialize possible racial injustices practiced on Native Ameri- cans by announcing that they themselves (with some proclaimed but false or greatly exaggerated Native American heritage, who in truth have essentially no cultural differences from the dominant culture and no tribal connections) are not offended by the practices and neither are their peers. Speaking for “their people,” these false Native Americans enter the debate on issues such as Native American mascots in sports and soften, if not quell, the voices of true American Indians. Given the opportunity to register an opinion supporting their own beliefs, which might run counter to those held by true American Indians, these opportunistic activists claim Indianness and enter the public debate (Springwood). In light of the ongoing controversy surrounding Native American mascots, a public opinion
Native American Names, Mascots, and Logos 87
survey conducted by phone or e-mail or on the Web might provide just such an opportunity for these non-Indians to rebut what they personally oppose (Springwood).
Two years after the Sports Illustrated article, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania conducted an election poll that included a single question regarding feelings about the name of the NFL’s Washington Redskins franchise: “The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn’t it bother you?” The poll findings revealed that 90% of those claiming Native American heritage stated they did not object to the Redskins name (Annen- berg Public Policy Center, 2004). There were methodological concerns similar to those with the Peter Harris survey (Price, 2002), however, in that not only were large populations of American Indians not included in the sample but also non- Natives through self-identification were included in the American Indian sample (Clark, 2005). In a response to this poll, the data were questioned by a variety of academics based on methodology, and a claim of “misrepresentations of aggre- gated research findings [being allowed to] stand in to represent the views of actual human beings” was made, as well as the allegation that “these polls make it exceedingly more difficult for Natives to be heard as their results move through media to substitute for our many voices a shocking homogeneity” (Clark, p. 228).
Taking into account Springwood’s claims, some doubt could be cast on any survey that simply asks respondents to state their association with Native Ameri- can genetic heritage. In 2001, 81% of subscribers to the newspaper Indian Coun- try Today who participated in an online survey indicated that the use of American Indian nicknames, symbols, and mascots is offensive and disparaging to Ameri- can Indians (“American Indian Opinion Leaders,” 2001). Because of the numer- ous flaws in assumption that could be made about subscribers to a Native Ameri- can publication, the data that resulted are perhaps no more veridical than those outlined by Price (2002) in the Sports Illustrated piece, although it must be noted that likelihood of contacting a true Native American is higher when polling sub- scribers to Indian Country Today than it would be when randomly sampling the national populace.
Likewise, Springwood’s (2004) concern that non-Native Americans might misrepresent themselves when given the opportunity to lend support to use of Native American imagery potentially plagues a survey conducted of students at one of the universities embroiled in the Native American sports-imagery contro- versy (Williams, 2007). In 2000, a University of North Dakota commission ran- domly sampled constituent audiences to determine attitudes held toward the Fighting Sioux nickname. The data were interpreted as revealing that Native American students were less supportive of the university’s mascot and imagery than were White students (Williams). As with the Indian Country Today study, those surveyed were allowed to self-select their demographics. Although no claim is made here that either study resulted in data skewed by Whites posing as Native Americans, the methodologies of both cannot rule out Springwood’s concern that people might misrepresent themselves to lend support to their positions. As stated previously, however, it is likely that both the Indian Country Today and the Uni- versity of North Dakota polls reached a stronger sample of American Indians
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because the publication is targeted specifically to that demographic and the uni- versity claims a significant American Indian population among its students. At least one researcher, though, has called into question the veracity of American Indian college and university student population numbers, again based on the problems with self-reporting of ethnicity (Baca, 2000).
There is a no lack of literature espousing the difficulties of surveying Ameri- can Indians, including work that explains the difficulty based on tribal sovereignty, mistaken views as to American Indians having a collective and single ethnic iden- tity (Caldwell et al., 2005), differences in the sociopolitical culture of reservation- and non-reservation-dwelling American Indians and the fact that most surveys of American Indians are conducted using reservation-dwelling populations (Nixon, Kayo, Jones-Saumty, Phillips, & Tivis, 2007), and logistical and financial prob- lems of reaching an appropriate sample (Beals, Manson, Mitchell, Spicer, & the AI-SuperPFP Team, 2003).
In the end, research is needed that draws respondents from a pool of Native Americans whose racial attributes are less debatable. The current study attempts to measure how Native Americans of accepted heritage, as well as those of other racial groups, view the use of Native American imagery and mascots in sports. With reliable data, ruling bodies and individuals who act on the behalf of Native Americans can do so with a better understanding of just how the group they believe they are protecting feels.
Hypotheses and Research Question In general, personal interviews with Native Americans have resulted in transcripts outlining how the participants opposed the use of Native American imagery and mascots in sports (see Davis, 1993; King et al., 2002; Williams, 2007). Survey research countering these claims can be questioned based on possible nonrepre- sentative samples (see “American Indian Opinion Leaders,” 2001; Price, 2002; Williams) and even the use of single-item measures focusing on unique uses that are generalized to overall employment of Native American imagery in sports (Annenberg Public Policy Center, 2004; Woo, 2002). Lacking conclusive, broadly drawn survey data and basing predictions on past published transcribed inter- views, the following hypotheses guided this research:
H1: American Indians will more strongly agree that sports teams employing American Indian nicknames and imagery are offensive than will the non– American Indian public.
H2: American Indians will more strongly agree that sports teams should stop using American Indian nicknames and imagery than will the non–American Indian public.
Research that surveys diverse populations and gathers personal characteris- tics results in data that can be employed to explore the intricacies in demographics that correlate with opinions toward Native American mascots and imagery in sports. Because the current study measured a broad range of demographics and surveyed Native Americans, as well as members of other races, it is possible that
Native American Names, Mascots, and Logos 89
specific characteristics can be associated with opinions on the mascot issue. To do so, the following research question guided the work:
Does education, political affiliation, or age influence perceptions of sport teams’ use of American Indian names and imagery?
Individuals were contacted through a telephone survey center, and qualifying par- ticipants were asked to respond to a series of questions concerning perceptions of Native American mascots, icons, and imagery in sports. All respondents were promised confidentiality. Two sampling frames were employed for the study. One frame consisted of a list of 594 American Indians; the other consisted of 3,500 randomly generated U.S. residential telephone listings.
The list of American Indians was gathered from the National Congress of American Indians tribal directory. The list was composed of the names, telephone numbers, and tribal affiliations of all 594 presidents, chiefs, and chairpersons of recognized American Indian tribes in the United States. No effort was made to draw a sample from the list; callers attempted to reach each of the 594 potential Native American respondents. As past research surveys of Native Americans are questioned on the basis of the true racial identity of respondents, it was believed that registered tribal leaders would possess verifiable heritage.
Trained callers, none of whom were Native Americans themselves, contacted the Native American population from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT) on weekdays from April 2 to April 17. This timeslot was selected based on the fact that the Native Americans’ telephone numbers were identified as business numbers in the sampling frame. Of the 449 American Indian tribal leaders who were over the age of 18 and spoke English with whom callers made verbal con- tact, 208 eligible respondents agreed to participate and 243 declined. Of those declining to participate, most who offered a reason cited lack of time to complete the survey process. None cited the topic of the survey as a reason for declining participation. The rate of eligible, answering tribal leaders who responded to the survey was 45.87%.
The general population sample was limited to those who spoke English and were at least 18 years old. Trained callers dialed all numbers from the initial sam- pling frame of 3,500 telephone numbers. Because a large portion of the original dialing reached disconnected or business numbers, the sampling frame was dou- bled by adding a randomly generated digit to the numbers. For example, the random digit 5 was added to all initial numbers, transforming, for example, (214) 555-8231 to (214) 555-8236.
Trained callers attempted to contact the general public weekdays from March 27 to April 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. CDT. Central and Mountain time-zone numbers were called from 5:30 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. CDT. Eastern time-zone num- bers were called from 5:30 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. CDT. Pacific time-zone numbers were called from 6:30 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. CDT.
Of the 1,794 households where a potential respondent answered the tele- phone, 484 eligible respondents agreed to participate in the study. A total of 1,298
90 Laveay, Callison, and Rodriguez
people refused participation, and 16 did not meet the minimum age requirements. Basing calculations on number of eligible respondents contacted, the response rate was 26.98% for the general population sample.
Call disposition for both sampling fields was coded by callers who noted completed surveys, survey refusals, no answers, answering machines, fax num- bers, and disconnected numbers. When calls resulted in answering machines, busy signals, or unanswered phones or when eligible respondents were not available, the number was recorded and called back a maximum of three times.
A computer data-entry system prompted callers through the questionnaire, and responses were entered directly into a computer data file. The questionnaire was composed of two parts: a section on the respondent’s opinions toward the use of American Indian names and images by sports franchises and universities and a section on the respondent’s demographics.
The section containing questions about opinions toward the use of American Indian names and images was split into two sets of questions. One set asked about the offensiveness of using American Indian names and images in sports; the second asked questions about teams changing from Native American names and images. Each question about offensiveness was accompanied by a 5-point scale anchored by not offensive at 1 and very offensive at 5. Each question asking if teams should change their names and images was accompanied by a 5-point scale anchored by strongly disagree at 1 and strongly agree at 5.
All callers were recruited from a research-methods course at a large south- western university. The callers were instructed in telephone-survey techniques in a classroom environment and were then presented with a short rebriefing prior to their actual participation. The topic area was discussed with the callers before they began calling, and the importance of not interjecting caller bias was covered at length. Callers were asked to practice their delivery and progression through the instrument for several minutes before attempting participant contact. Callers were predominantly female; overwhelmingly White (no Native Americans), native English speakers; and between the ages of 19 and 22.
Description of Sample
A cleaning of all data resulted in the responses of 692 individuals available for analysis. Of the Native American sample, 46.8% of respondents were men, and the mean age was 47.2 (SD = 11.97). A total of 43.9% of the Native American respondents reported graduating from college, and 48.6% indicated they had voted Democrat in the last election (13.5% Republican, 1.0% Green, 11.5% other, 25.4% refused to answer). For the general population sample, 60.0% were women, and the mean age was 49.86 (SD = 16.60). Of this sample, 44.8% reported being college graduates, and 26.7% reported voting Democrat in the last election (25.4% Republican, .4% Green, 8.7% other, 38.9% refused to answer). In the general population sample, 80.5% identified themselves as Caucasian, 7.1% Hispanic, and 4.8% African American. No other race category included more than 20 par- ticipants. Ten respondents in the general population sample self-identified as Native Americans/American Indians and were excluded from analyses.
Native American Names, Mascots, and Logos 91
H1 predicted that American Indians would more strongly agree that sports teams employing American Indian nicknames and imagery are offensive than would the non–American Indian public. This hypothesis was supported. Native Americans more strongly agreed than did the general public at large that American Indian sport team names are offensive, t(660) = 11.30, p > /ColorImageDict > /JPEG2000ColorACSImageDict > /JPEG2000ColorImageDict > /AntiAliasGrayImages false /DownsampleGrayImages true /GrayImageDownsampleType /Bicubic /GrayImageResolution 300 /GrayImageDepth -1 /GrayImageDownsampleThreshold 1.50000 /EncodeGrayImages true /GrayImageFilter /DCTEncode /AutoFilterGrayImages true /GrayImageAutoFilterStrategy /JPEG /GrayACSImageDict > /GrayImageDict > /JPEG2000GrayACSImageDict > /JPEG2000GrayImageDict > /AntiAliasMonoImages false /DownsampleMonoImages true /MonoImageDownsampleType /Bicubic /MonoImageResolution 1200 /MonoImageDepth -1 /MonoImageDownsampleThreshold 1.50000 /EncodeMonoImages true /MonoImageFilter /CCITTFaxEncode /MonoImageDict > /AllowPSXObjects false /PDFX1aCheck false /PDFX3Check false /PDFXCompliantPDFOnly false /PDFXNoTrimBoxError true /PDFXTrimBoxToMediaBoxOffset [ 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 ] /PDFXSetBleedBoxToMediaBox false /PDFXBleedBoxToTrimBoxOffset [ 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 ] /PDFXOutputIntentProfile (U.S. Web Coated 50SWOP51 v2) /PDFXOutputCondition () /PDFXRegistryName (http://www.color.org) /PDFXTrapped /Unknown /SyntheticBoldness 1.000000 /Description /JPN /DEU /PTB /DAN /NLD /ESP /SUO /ITA /NOR /SVE /ENU >> >> setdistillerparams > setpagedevice
Volume 26 • Number 4 • 2017 • Sport Marketing Quarterly 199
Sport Marketing Quarterly, 2017, 26, 199-203, © 2017 West Virginia University
Understanding the Marketing Implications of Sport Rivalry: What We Know and Where We Are Headed Cody T. Havard and Vassilis Dalakas
Cody T. Havard, PhD, is an associate professor of sport commerce in Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management at the University of Memphis. His research addresses rivalry in sport and its impact on fan behavior. Vassilis Dalakas, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Marketing at California State University-San Marcos. His re- search interests include fan identification, social identity and rivalries, sponsorship, consumer psychology and consumer behavior, and consumer animosity and schadenfreude.
Introduction The topic of rivalry is a favorite in sport popular culture. Fans, media members, and participants frequently discuss who is a rival team, what constitutes a rivalry, and what rivalries are most relevant in sport. For example, if one turns the television to a sport channel or visits popular sport media websites, they will almost certainly be exposed to a story, highlights, or discussion about rivalry. The phenomenon is so popular among sport fans that major television and media outlets have labeled portions of seasons accordingly (e.g., college football’s Rivalry Week typically runs the last regular season week when most traditional rival teams play and Major League Soccer has recently started to promote Rivalry Week two times during its season). However, given the attention the topic receives from fans and the popular media, academic research only recently began to focus on understanding and explaining this topic. The purpose of this special issue is to highlight the phenomenon, and present empirically driven ideas that can help academicians and practitioners better understand the marketing implications of rivalry in sport.
Rivalry in sport begins with the study of social identity (Tajfel, 1974) and group behavior (Turner, 1982), in which an antagonistic relationship creates an in-group and an out-group. Competition reinforces the “us versus them” mentality and intensifies rivalry. This introduction will first visit what we currently know about rivalry in sport, including both the antecedents that lead to the phenomenon and consequences of its presence. We will then discuss future directions of study that will help academicians and marketers better understand how rivalry influences fan reactions and
behavior. Finally, we will briefly introduce the four articles included in this special issue, helping further understanding on the phenomenon and providing a foundation for new directions of inquiry into rivalry in sport.
Rivalry in Sport Social identity theory states that a person uses the groups in which he/she is a member to communicate something about himself/herself (Tajfel, 1974). Because of their competitive nature, sports provide an opportunity for fans to experience vicarious achievement. People can choose to follow a success- ful team because they feel it will reflect positively on them both internally (Bandura, 1977) and externally (Campbell, Eisner, & Riggs, 2010) and they use it as an image improvement tactic (Cialdini et al., 1976). For example, identifying with a sport team can positively influence a person’s social well-being (Wann, 2006), and college students that identified with athletic teams at their school felt lower levels of depression or loneliness (Branscombe & Wann, 1991).
Consistent with the premises of the affective disposition theory, in the context of sports (Zillman, Bryant, & Sapolsky, 1989), people’s emotional reac- tions to sports properties can range from extreme love to extreme hate. Favorite teams elicit a strong affinity while rival teams elicit a similarly strong (or even stronger) animosity. For highly identified fans, the level of identification with a favorite team reaches such levels that the team becomes part of the person’s own identity. Strong identification with the team contributes to an in-group bias (Turner, 1982), in which group members find ways to favorably
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compare their group to an out-group. To better understand how rivalry is manifested, we will briefly visit some of the antecedents and characteristics of the phenomenon.
Definitions, Antecedents, and Characteristics of Rivalry Kilduff, Elfenbein, and Staw (2010) investigated the rivalry phenomenon using intercollegiate basketball players and sport reporters. They defined rivalry in sport as “a subjective competitive relationship that an actor has with another actor that entails increased psychological involvement and perceived stakes of competition for the focal actors, independent of the objective characteristics of the situation” (p. 945). Additionally, they identified several key antecedents that lead to feelings of rivalry. Specifically, the authors pointed to close proximity, similarities between teams, and repeated or consistent close competition as attributes that lead to high levels of rivalry. Havard, Gray, Gould, Sharp, and Schaffer (2013) defined rivalry as “a fluctuating adversarial relationship existing between two teams, players, or groups of fans, gaining significance through on-field competition, on-field or off-field incidences, proximity, demographic makeup, and/or historical occurrence(s)” (p. 51), thereby adding attributes that do not occur during head-to-head competition to possible antecedents of the phenom- enon. Tyler and Cobbs (2015) defined rivalry as “a highly salient group that poses an acute threat to the identity of the in-group or in-group members’ ability to make positive comparisons between their group and the out-group” (p. 230). Additionally, they identified 11 recurring elements of rivalry, thus adding defining moment, recent parity, star factors, relative dominance of one team, competition for personnel, cultural difference, and perceived unfairness to the literature on antecedents and characteristics of rivalry.
Recent research has investigated the many charac- teristics or situations that can influence rivalry and the way fans view rivals of their favorite teams. For example, rivalry in sport can be influenced by how identified a fan feels toward a favorite team (Aparna & Santhosh, 2016; Wann et al., 2016), gender (Havard, Eddy, & Ryan, 2016), the favorite team or conference a fan follows (Havard, 2016; Havard & Reams, 2016), relative proximity to their favorite team and competi- tive outcomes between rivals (Havard, Reams, & Gray, 2013), and the introduction of new teams into the competitive relationship (Havard, Shapiro, & Ridinger, 2013; Havard, Wann, & Ryan, 2013, 2017). It is also important to recognize that fans can identify more than one team as a rival (Tyler & Cobbs, 2017). Fur- ther, sport fans perceive rival teams differently based
on the favorite team they follow (Wann et al., 2016) and relative importance they place on a rivalry (Tyler & Cobbs, 2017).
The Sport Rivalry Fan Perception Scale (SRFPS) was developed and validated as the first scale to measure initially how fans evaluate their collegiate rival teams regarding four facets of rivalry (Havard, Gray et al., 2013). Specifically, the SRFPS measures (1) fan likelihood to support the rival team when they are not playing the favorite team, (2) the prestige of the academics at the rival school, (3) rival fan behavior, and (4) the satisfaction they receive when their favorite team defeats the rival. The measure was recently modified and validated so that it can examine the way fans feel about rivals at the professional level as well by having fans rate the prestige of the city or region where the rival team plays rather than the academic prestige of the rival institution (Havard & Hutchinson, 2017). Finally, in an effort to further the study of rivalry, two websites are dedicated to the study and future understanding of rivalry. SportRivalry.com focuses on history and qualitative means to describe rivalry while KnowRivalry.com uses quantitative means to provide the public with fan data regarding the phenomenon.
Consequences of Rivalry The rivalry phenomenon can influence fan percep- tions and behavior toward the out-group in several positive or negative ways. For example, the presence of a rival can increase participant effort and perfor- mance (Kilduff, 2014; Kiduff et al., 2010), but also participation in unethical behavior (Kilduff, Galisnky, Gallo, & Reade, 2016). For sport fans, the presence of a rival team can influence the way they associate with a followed team in public (Kimble & Cooper, 1992), likelihood to help people experiencing emergencies (Levine, Prosser, Evans, & Reicher, 2005), and will- ingness to consider anonymous aggression (Wann, Haynes, McLean, & Pullen, 2003; Wann, Peterson, Cothran, & Dykes, 1999; Wann & Waddill, 2013). The presence of a rival can also make fans form a stronger bond with other favorite team supporters (Smith & Schwartz, 2003), thereby serving a positive role for fans by increasing group cohesiveness and group distinction (Berendt & Uhrich, 2015; Delia, 2015).
The rivalry phenomenon in sport also influences the way fans consume the sport. In particular, play- ing a rival team positively influences fan likelihood to attend a live game (Havard, Shapiro et al., 2013) and the amount they are willing to pay for tickets (Sanford & Scott, 2016). Rivalry can influence the way fans evaluate team branded merchandise (Kwak, Kwon, & Lim, 2015), team sponsors (Angell et al., 2016; Bee & Dalakas, 2013; Dalakas & Levin, 2005;
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Grohs, Reisinger, & Woisetschläger, 2015), league-wide cause-related marketing (Nichols, Cobbs, & Raska, 2016), fan behavior (Wann & Dolan, 1994; Wann & Greive, 2005; Wenger & Brown, 2014), and player performance (Wann et al., 2006).
An important consequence of rivalry is under- standing how fans react to failure by the out-group (e.g., rival team). For example, sport fans’ joy at a rival team loss is similar, or even exceeds that experienced when a favorite team wins (Lehr, Ferreira, & Banaji, 2017; Mahony & Howard, 1998). Additionally, fans of the National Basketball Association (NBA) indicated a rival being likely to lose as one reason they would consider watching a rival team play someone other than the favorite team (Mahony & Moorman, 1999).
Schadenfruede (Heider, 1958), or taking pleasure in the demise of another, can help explain how and why sport fans react when a rival of their favorite team experiences failure. Evidence of schadenfreude has been found in sport (Dalakas & Melancon, 2012) and outside of sport (Phillips-Melancon & Dalakas, 2014). For example, Cikara, Botvinich, and Fiske (2012) found that baseball fans exhibited schadenfreude when a rival lost to a third neutral team, Leach and Spears (2009) observed fans displaying joy seeing another team lose after suffering in-group failure, and Dalakas, Melancon, and Sreboth (2015) found evidence of Cleveland Browns fans experiencing schadenfreude following the death of Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell. Glory out of reflected failure (GORFing) also describes the excitement some fans experience when their rival team loses to a neutral team, and serves as a way to make them feel better about themselves and their favorite team (Havard, 2014; Havard & Hutchin- son, 2017).
Future Directions in Sport Rivalry and Special Issue Articles The study of rivalry in sport is relatively young, and therefore it is important to acknowledge how future study can help us better understand the phenomenon. An annual online discussion meeting, the Forum on Sport Rivalry held during college football’s Rivalry Week in November, has been created to address cur- rent findings and future study into the phenomenon. To this point, much of the research so far has focused either on professional or high-level male collegiate team sports in the US. The study of rivalry will benefit by also using research context in women’s sports, individual sports, and sports outside the US. Study on how rivalry is manifested online through social media or message boards would also add to the growing sport rivalry literature. Additionally, most research on
the rivalry phenomenon to this point has relied on fan recollection, either through interviews or survey-based data.
Observational investigation would add to our understanding of how rivalry influences fan behavior. Likewise, much of the current understanding on how rivalry influences fan behaviors and consumption is based on fan likelihood or willingness. As there is little understanding of the phenomenon that employs fan behavior data, additional investigation using this method should be conducted. Regarding the future investigation into how fans react to rival failure, quantitative means for measuring both schadenfreude (Dalakas & Melancon, 2012) and GORFing (Havard & Hutchinson, 2017) can assist researchers seeking to examine the differences between the two phenomena. Finally, more research using experimental settings through lab studies or field experiments would also improve our understanding regarding the influence rivalry has on sport fans.
The Current Special Issue While recent research on rivalry has used both quan- titative and qualitative means, research has almost exclusively focused on team sports. Two articles in this special issue focus on understanding the antecedents and characteristics of rivalry in individual sport. Specifically, Lamar Reams and Terry Eddy examine rivalry among Ultimate Fighting Championship participants, and focus on how the phenomenon can help promote the sport product. Scott C. Ambrose and Nathan Schnitzlein investigate antecedents and outcomes of rivalry in professional men’s tennis.
Differences in rival perceptions have been measured at the collegiate level; however, little is known about how rivalry differs between fans of teams and confer- ences at the professional level. An article by Joe Cobbs, Daniel Sparks, and B. David Tyler investigates how intensity toward the rival team is different between fans that follow teams in the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Bas- ketball Association, (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Soccer (MLS). Finally, Tyler, Craig A. Morehead, Cobbs, and Timothy DeSchriver employ a new method for estimating the influence of rivalry on spectator sport consumption.
We are excited to present this special issue on the marketing implications of rivalry. As we have estab- lished, the area of study is growing and we hope this special issue encourages other researchers to investi- gate the phenomenon, and further our understanding of rivalry in sport.
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To tweet or not to tweet: the effects of social media endorsements on unfamiliar sport brands and athlete endorsers
Natasha T. Brisona*, Kevin K. Byonb and Thomas A. Baker IIIc
aDepartment of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, 4243 TAMU, College Station, TX 77845, USA; bDepartment of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, Indiana University, 1025 E. 7th street, SPH 112D, Bloomington, IN, 47405, USA; cDepartment of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, 359 Ramsey Center, 330 River Road, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA
(Received 9 September 2016; accepted 12 September 2016)
Unfamiliar sport brands are consistently searching for ways to gain the interest of consumers and to differentiate the brand’s messages from the huge amount of adver- tising communications consumers receive on a daily basis. One of the most powerful methods used to distinguish one brand from others is an alliance with athlete endor- sers. Companies are actively courting athlete endorsers and their social media accounts to reach consumers. However, little is known about the effects of these alli- ances. Therefore, two studies were conducted: (1) to explore the effectiveness of Twitter endorsement campaigns for unfamiliar sport brands, and (2) to investigate the influence that Twitter endorsements for unfamiliar sport brands have on athlete endorsers. The study revealed that attitude toward the unfamiliar sport brand was positively influenced by the athlete endorser’s Twitter message and that trustworthi- ness was the dominant characteristic influencing credibility of an endorser through Twitter.
Keywords: Twitter; social media; athlete endorsements; brand attitudes; marketing
Social media (i.e. social networks and microblogs) is rapidly replacing traditional media as a source to which consumers turn for information about products and brands (Bruhn, Schoenmueller, & Schäfer, 2012). This growing trend is not lost on sport brands as bil- lions have been spent by companies on the implementation and support of social media communications. The extant literature identifies social media as a valuable relationship marketing tool (Eagleman, 2013) that facilitates the formation of ‘meaningful relation- ships [with consumers] through opportunities for communication, interaction, and value’ (Williams & Chinn, 2010, p. 436). With an average of 304 million monthly active users (Statista.com, 2015), Twitter is one of the more popular social media platforms (Jansen, Zhang, Sobel, & Chowdury, 2009). It is a microblogging site that allows users to follow other users for the purpose of sharing information via messages called ‘tweets.’
Twitter’s potential for fostering information-sharing relationships with consumers may be of particular value to unfamiliar sport brands in developing brand knowledge. Unfamiliar brands are those that lack brand knowledge in the minds of consumers because the brands are either new to the market or ones to which consumers have not
*Corresponding author. Email: email@example.com
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 3, 309–326, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14479338.2016.1237304
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org://www.tandfonline.comhttp://www.tandfonline.comhttp://www.tandfonline.comhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14479338.2016.1237304been exposed (Campbell & Keller, 2003). Twitter can be a low-cost marketing method for an unfamiliar brand to shape consumer attitudes. However, a problem for unfamiliar sport brands looking to Twitter as a resource for reaching consumers with communica- tions is found in how the platform works. The reach of Twitter-based communications is limited to those who have opted-in to follow the brand and to those following Twitter users who elect to retweet brand-based tweets. Unfamiliar sport brands may lack the Twitter reach needed to foster the creation of brand knowledge in the minds of large numbers of new consumers.
To increase communicative reach and inform more consumers through Twitter, unfa- miliar sport brands may align their products with athlete endorsers. Athlete endorsers are able to reach large numbers of consumers via Twitter, as a top 500 athlete endorser tends to have more than 300,000 followers (Twitter Counter, 2015); while, the top 10 most-followed athletes have between 9.6 million and 38 million followers (Fan Page List, 2015). Additionally, consumers have been found to enjoy the two-way line of com- munication with celebrity athletes provided by Twitter (Cunningham & Bright, 2012), thus allowing brands to reach potential consumers who follow athlete endorsers and to garner consumer support by associating with athlete endorsers (Li & Bernoff, 2011). The question, nonetheless, is whether celebrity athlete Twitter endorsements effectively improve brand attitudes for unfamiliar sport brands.
While scholarly research on social media platforms such as Twitter is expanding (Eagleman, 2013), most studies have examined the influence of social media advertising from a brand management (through marketing) perspective. Three studies stand out as providing a basis for Twitter’s service as a valuable marketing tool for brands. Jansen et al. (2009) analyzed more than 150,000 Twitter postings related to 50 brands over a 13-week period and found that Twitter is an effective online tool for brand-to-consumer (B2C) marketing strategies. Bruhn et al. (2012) compared the influence of traditional media and social media (using Twitter) on brand equity in the tourism, telecommunica- tions, and pharmaceutical industries. The authors also distinguished between firm-created content and user-generated content on Twitter and found different effects on consumers’ perceptions as well as on brand equity based on the source of the infor- mation. They recommended that companies initiate consumer word of mouth about their brands and adopt marketing strategies and tactics that foster communications through social media. Similarly, Wood and Burkhalter (2014) explored brand promotions on Twitter based on the source of the information and compared consumer responses to celebrity-generated tweets and company-generated tweets for an unfamiliar and a famil- iar brand. Their findings revealed that celebrity tweets were successful in acquiring attention and spreading information for brands. They also found that social media celebrities are influential in eliciting interest in unfamiliar brands. Their research, how- ever, did not examine how Twitter impacts the athlete’s credibility. Thus, gaps still exist in the academic literature regarding the effects of social media endorsement campaigns on unfamiliar brands and the athletes who endorse them.
Through two investigations, this study was conducted to bridge the growing body of academic literature focused on: (a) brand decisions to use social media in marketing campaigns, and (b) the literature regarding the effects of celebrity athlete endorsements. The first investigation explores the influence of celebrity athlete Twitter endorsements on attitudes toward unfamiliar sport brands. The second study examines the influence that unfamiliar sport brands have on the credibility of celebrity athlete endorsers.
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Brand associations and brand attitudes
Brand awareness is frequently achieved through a company’s marketing and advertising efforts. Creating and cultivating brand awareness increases the likelihood that a brand will be part of a consumer’s consideration set, which may include several brands that are contemplated when making a purchase decision (Hutter, Hautz, Dennhardt, & Füller, 2013). This consideration set is developed by creating associations with the brand in consumers’ minds (Keller, 2009). Brand associations can vary in strength, favorability, and uniqueness and are contingent on the marketing campaigns that are linked with a product. Strength is defined by both the quality and quantity of the information pre- sented into the consumer’s memory (Keller, 1993). Strength is also dependent upon the context in which the consumer initially receives the product information and whether the information is actually retained. Brand associations viewed by consumers as positive assist brands in distinguishing themselves from competing brands and thereby influence consumer purchase decisions (Faircloth, Capella, & Alford, 2001). Accordingly, the goal of any marketing campaign for an unfamiliar sport brand should be to improve brand awareness and to create strong, positive brand associations.
Brand associations are categorized into three main types: attributes, benefits, and attitudes (Keller, 1993). Attributes are the descriptive features of a product which may be product-related or non-product related, i.e. internal and external aspects of the pro- duct, which may include the product ingredients and its packaging or types of users, respectively. The benefits are ‘what the consumer thinks the product … can do for them’ (Keller, 1993, p. 4). Benefits can be feelings evoked from using a product or how the product adds to a consumer’s self-concept. The last type of association (brand atti- tudes) is the consumer’s complete assessment or overall evaluation of the brand (Bruhn et al., 2012). Brand attitudes are of great consequence because they often form the foun- dation for consumer behavior (e.g., brand choice and purchase decision) (Keller, 1993). Brand attitudes can also be related to consumer beliefs about product attributes and the benefits received from purchasing the product (Zeithaml, 1988). When consumers believe the brand has attributes and benefits that satisfy their needs and wants, a positive overall brand attitude is formed.
For an unfamiliar sport brand that has minimal or even non-existent associations in the consumers’ mind, garnering consumer attention and developing positive brand atti- tudes may be difficult and costly. Traditionally, associations are established through (1) a consumer’s personal experience with the product or service or (2) information commu- nicated by the company through commercial channels. Associations, additionally, can be created by the brand tying itself to other information in the consumer’s memory that will generate an indirect or secondary connection for the brand. Keller (1993) coined these memories as inferred or secondary associations that allow the characteristics or associations of one brand to transfer to another. Distinctively, ‘secondary associations can be leveraged to create favorable, strong, and unique associations that otherwise may not be present’ (Keller, 1993, p. 12). Secondary associations often arise from a brand utilizing a celebrity spokesperson or an athlete endorser to promote the product or ser- vice. The simultaneous exposure to the two stimuli builds an associative link in the minds of consumers for both the endorser and the brand (Till & Shimp, 1998). This associative link with an endorser enables the unfamiliar brand to leverage the status of the athlete endorser. Thus, allowing consumers to form attitudes toward the unfamiliar brand which can facilitate positive consumer behaviors.
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Endorsers, unfamiliar sport brands, and Twitter
The assertion behind the use of athlete endorsers is that these individuals will not only generate awareness and attention to the product/service being advertised, but the charac- teristics associated with them will also be transferred to the product (Till & Shimp, 1998). McCracken’s Meaning Transfer Model (1989) was developed to explain how the characteristics are transferred from the endorser to the consumer, and then to the brand. The author identified that the endorsement process is grounded in the symbolism of the endorser, and distinguished three stages to the process: (a) development of celebrity/ athlete image; (b) transference of meaning from celebrity/athlete to product; and then (c) transference from the product to consumers (McCracken, 1989). The transfer of information from the celebrity/athlete endorser to the product, as well as the brand, is what makes celebrity/athlete endorsements effective (Martin, 1996). The celebrity/athlete endorsement, in turn, allows the unfamiliar brand to build instant brand recognition, to increase the efficiency of the company’s marketing communications, and to obtain high levels of brand awareness (Till & Busler, 2000).
Still, there are limitations with unfamiliar sport brands utilizing traditional athlete endorsers in their marketing campaigns. Even a less popular athlete can be an expensive marketing option for an unfamiliar sport brand, and unfamiliar sport brands need cost- effective options to create brand awareness. Social media (and Twitter in particular) has become a widespread marketing tool to expose consumers to a brand and to develop brand awareness (Hutter et al., 2013). It is also a cost-effective option for unfamiliar sport brands with limited marketing budgets who seek to partner with athlete endorsers. Rather than contracting with the endorser for a multi-level marketing campaign, unfa- miliar sport brands can choose to pay an athlete endorser per Twitter message or tweet. Depending on their popularity, an athlete endorser could be paid as little as $250 (Kornowski, 2013) to more than $300,000 (Milord, 2015) per tweet. For example, former NFL player Terrell Owens received $4,800 per tweet from retailer Old Navy (Brison, Baker, & Byon, 2013).
Twitter allows a consumer to interact with an athlete as if the athlete were a close friend. Through this interaction, the sharing of information will undoubtedly occur, and research indicates that consumers prefer to obtain information from their peers or other known contacts instead of receiving information from the company itself (Harrison- Walker, 2001). The mere fact that an athlete tweets about using a particular brand pro- vides consumers with information regarding product benefits. This, in turn, positively affects the influence of Twitter as a marketing tool (Jin & Phua, 2014) providing the path through which meanings about the athlete endorser will transfer to the product and change consumer attitudes toward the unfamiliar brand. Accordingly, by utilizing an ath- lete endorser’s social media account, unfamiliar brands can increase the probability of positive consumer brand associations and attitudes.
Therefore, the following hypothesis is proposed.
H1: Consumer perceptions of attitude toward the unfamiliar brand will change based on exposure to endorser messages through Twitter.
Brand alliances and endorser credibility through Twitter
Brand alliances can produce positive and negative effects for both the sport brand and the athlete endorser. In the case of the athlete endorser, the possibility may exist that the qualities of the unfamiliar sport brand could negatively influence consumer perceptions
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of the endorser. This possibility is grounded in the reciprocal transfer of meanings that flow through paths established in consumer minds via brand alliances. The possibility that negative information about the brand may transfer to the endorser is well estab- lished in the extant literature; as evidenced in studies by Aaker and Keller (1990) and Halonen-Knight and Hurmerinta (2010). Furthermore, a study by Arsena, Silvera, and Pandelaere (2014) revealed that an endorser’s perceived attributes are influenced by the products they endorse. Thus, there may be negative effects on the endorser’s credibility through a partnership with a brand with which consumers are not familiar.
Factors influencing an endorser’s credibility through Twitter
An athlete’s credibility influences the persuasiveness of the information or message (Seno & Lukas, 2007), and fans typically view endorsers as credible sources of informa- tion about the products they endorse (Goldsmith, Lafferty, & Newell, 2000). The credi- bility and effectiveness of the endorser is ascribed to the endorser’s attractiveness, expertise, and trustworthiness (Shank, 2009). These salient characteristics of the endor- ser are also essential in developing consumer attitudes toward the unfamiliar brand.
Athlete endorser attractiveness
Athlete endorsement literature has revealed that attractiveness is a significant gauge of endorser effectiveness (Amos, Holmes, & Strutton, 2008; Till & Busler, 2000). Attrac- tiveness is multi-dimensional in nature, encompassing physical characteristics as well as non-physical characteristics (Erdogan, 1999; Shank & Langmeyer, 1994). Kahle and Homer (1985) researched endorser attractiveness and found that attractive endorsers influenced consumer attitudes more than less attractive endorsers, while, Kim and Na (2007) found that attractiveness is contingent upon the familiarity, similarity, and liking of an endorser. If consumers closely identify with or like the athlete endorser, they will often consider the athlete as attractive (Amos et al., 2008). In the context of social media, consumers are more inclined to follow athletes based on some degree of famil- iarity or liking (i.e., attractiveness) (Witkemper, Lim, & Waldburger, 2012). Therefore, the authors posit that:
H2a: Consumer perceptions of athlete endorser attractiveness will change based on exposure to athlete endorser messages through Twitter.
Athlete endorser expertise
Athlete endorser expertise affects consumer attitudes and decisions more than athlete endorser attractiveness or any other factor (Ohanian, 1990; Till & Busler, 2000). Source expertise is the degree to which a communicator is observed to be a source of valid claims (Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1953). If the receiver perceives the source to be an expert in the requisite subject, source effectiveness will be positively influenced. Hence, consumers subjected to an endorsement by an athlete perceived as having high expertise will display more accordance with the athlete’s recommendation (Ohanian, 1990), and the authors propose that:
H2b: Consumer perceptions of athlete endorser expertise will change based on exposure to athlete endorser messages through Twitter.
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Athlete endorser trustworthiness
Endorser expertise is closely tied to trustworthiness, and an endorser’s objective for pre- senting information is a key component in the consumer’s assessment of the informa- tion’s trustworthiness (Romani, 2006). Source trustworthiness is the consumer’s belief that the source will provide impartial and truthful information (Ohanian, 1990). If the athlete endorser is trustworthy, consumers are less likely to scrutinize the communica- tion and will accept the information as accurate. Trustworthiness is also linked to a con- sumer’s belief that the statements about a product or brand in the endorsement reflect the actual opinion of the athlete endorser. Priester and Petty (2003) examined the influ- ence of endorser trustworthiness on the persuasiveness of a message and found that information provided by trustworthy endorsers was more likely to be accepted without skepticism. Additionally, endorsers who are perceived as trustworthy have been shown to be more effective in eliciting attitude changes in consumers than untrustworthy endor- sers (Ohanian, 1990). As a result, the authors posit that:
H2c: Consumer perceptions of athlete endorser trustworthiness will change based on expo- sure to athlete endorser messages through Twitter.
To test the hypotheses, two studies were conducted. Study 1 tests the two-way non-directional hypotheses assessing the effectiveness of a fictitious athlete endorser’s Twitter messages. Study 2 tests the hypotheses via a real athlete endorser’s Twitter messages. Both studies examine the potential changes in the consumer attitudes toward the unfamiliar brand and the potential changes to the endorser’s credibility based on an athlete endorser’s Twitter messages.
Study 1 (fictitious athlete)
A within-group experimental design was chosen to evaluate differences in consumer atti- tudes toward the unfamiliar brand and the athlete endorser’s characteristics after the par- ticipant was exposed to the athlete endorser’s Twitter messages. Prior to the experiment, a pretest was conducted to create a profile of the fictitious athlete endorser, the stimuli (the tweets or Twitter messages), and the product for the messages.
Creation of a credible fictitious athlete. A fictitious athlete endorser was used for the first study to avoid the influence of pre-existing associations that participants have with celebrity athletes. This is in accordance with previous source credibility and adver- tising research studies, which found that the use of familiar endorsers in a study creates ‘a significant amount of variation in the subjects’ knowledge and attitude’ toward the endorser (Till & Busler, 2000, p. 4). The data collection for the study was based in the United States, where American football, basketball, and baseball are prevalent among sports fans. Soccer, however, is rapidly emerging as a top sport in the US, but most consumers are still unfamiliar with many of the sport’s best athletes (International Soccer, 2013). Consequently, using this sport best supported the ruse among US survey participants.
On the basis of pretesting, a Premier League reserve player for the Newcastle Club, Bradden Inman, was selected as the fictitious endorser. Inman was chosen through a two-step process. Seven photographs of players from the Newcastle United reserves
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were presented to a focus group of five sport management professionals who had watched at least ten Premier League matches over the past 12 months. The group was instructed to rank the photographs according to familiarity. The top three least familiar athletes were then rated on attractiveness, trustworthiness, and expertise. The group was then charged with creating a fictitious name and profile for the athlete endorser to be used in the study. The group decided on the name Bradley Wolcott and an association set was created that described Wolcott as one of the brightest new stars in the Premier League. A separate focus group was created to evaluate Wolcott based on attractiveness (M = 6.25, SD = 1.83), trustworthiness (M = 5.96, SD = 1.51), and expertise (M = 6.59, SD = 1.87). Based on a nine-point scale, the descriptive statistics for each of the endor- ser characteristics demonstrated that overall participants believed Wolcott to be an actual soccer player.
Selection of the brand. The authors selected a brand that was under development by a company called Union Square. The authors chose an athletic product for endorsement to facilitate the formation of a match-fit between the athlete and the product in the minds of consumers. An association set was created for the product, Core, that described the product as a post-workout body cleansing soap that would be in stores in early 2016.
Stimulus material. For the social media manipulation, the promotional tweets were created using a focus group of five marketing professionals in the sport industry who were asked to draft a list of promotional tweets. A separate focus group was then asked to rank the tweets according to informational content and overall message appeal. The following three items were selected:
(1) Just tried @Core by #UnionSquare. #exhilarating#recharging (2) Hard practice. Just showered with @Core by #UnionSquare. #clean#cool#invig-
orating (3) Good match! Time to hit the showers @Core #coolandrefreshing#rejuvenating
Participants. Twitter users were recruited using undergraduate and graduate student databases from two sport management programs located in the southeastern US. Students were emailed a link requesting their participation in the study. A snowball sampling design was utilized, encouraging participants to forward the survey to their friends and acquaintances. This design was most efficient for targeting a broad population of Twitter followers, as college age students make up 37% of Twitter users (Duggan, Ellison, Lampe, Lenhart, & Madden, 2015).
Upon consenting to take the survey, each participant was asked basic demographic information. Given that this study was about Premier League athlete endorser effective- ness through Twitter, two screening questions were used to verify eligibility for the sur- vey: (a) Twitter use and (b) those who had watched at least one Premier League match within the past 12 months.
A total of 155 responses were collected; nine surveys were eliminated due to exces- sive missing values, resulting in 146 usable surveys. In terms of participants’ demo- graphic characteristics, gender was predominately male (68.5%). Approximately 92% were aged between 18 and 34. For the ethnicity, a little under half of participants were White/Caucasian (47.2%). For participant’s Twitter usage, over 43% stated that they vis- ited Twitter at least once a day.
Instruments. The questionnaire was designed to measure source attractiveness, source expertise, source trustworthiness, and attitude toward the unfamiliar brand. The
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scales were adapted from existing studies in advertising and consumer behavior literature. The measures for source attractiveness, source expertise, source trustworthi- ness were developed from Ohanian’s (1990) 15-item, nine-point semantic differential scale to evaluate celebrity endorsers. Source attractiveness consisted of the following anchors: unattractive/attractive, not classy/classy, ugly/handsome, plain/elegant, and not sexy/sexy. An example of a source attractiveness item is, ‘Select the point between the two adjectives that best represents your attitude toward the athlete. Bradley Wolcott is:’. Source expertise included: not an expert/expert, inexperienced/experienced, unknowl- edgeable/knowledgeable, unqualified/qualified, and unskilled/skilled. The items measur- ing source trustworthiness consisted of the following anchors: undependable/dependable, dishonest/honest, unreliable/reliable, insincere/sincere, and untrustworthy/trustworthy. The reliability of the scale was assessed by calculating Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for each construct. The results were: attractiveness = 0.93, expertise = 0.93, and trustworthi- ness = 0.98, indicating the constructs were found to be reliable. Seven items from Till and Shimp’s (1998) nine-point semantic differential scale were utilized to measure attitude toward the unfamiliar brand on Twitter. An example of an attitude toward the brand item is ‘My overall attitude about Core by Union Square is:’. The anchors included: favorable/unfavorable, positive/negative, strongly like/dislike, good/bad, high quality/low quality, superior/inferior, and effective/ineffective. The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.96, indicating that the items representing the construct were internally consistent.
Participants were informed that a company had developed an athletic body cleansing system called Core which would be in stores early 2016. The company was also inter- ested in using Premier League players to promote the new product through social media. The survey participants’ opinions would aid the company in determining the effectiveness of using the players and social media to promote the product. This ruse formed the basis for participants to (1) read initial information about the athlete endorser and Core; (2) read Twitter posts by the athlete about Core; and (3) complete pre and post measures of attitude toward the athlete and attitude toward the unfamiliar brand.
After reading the association set, participants were asked to recall specific informa- tion about the athlete and the product, such as ‘Bradley Wolcott plays for what sport club?’ and ‘Core is looking to sign players from what sport?’ The ‘fictitious athlete’ participants recalled 89% of the facts about the athlete and 95% of the facts about the brand, indicating that overall the participants had acquired the necessary information about the athlete and the brand.
The first evaluation was completed before the participants were exposed to the Twit- ter campaign. Participants were asked to read the association set about Core and assess their overall attitudes about the brand based on the Till and Shimp’s (1998) scale, and on the athlete endorser based on Ohanian’s (1990) 15-item, nine-point semantic differen- tial scale to assess celebrity endorsers. Additionally, participants were asked to evaluate athlete and product congruence (‘As an endorser for Core by Union Square, I think Bradley Wolcott is …’ and ‘I think the combination of Core by Union Square and Bradley Wolcott is …’) based on five questions with bi-polar endpoints and nine-point scales (i.e., inappropriate/appropriate, ineffective/effective, do not belong together/belong together, do not go together/go together, do not fit together, fit together) (Till & Busler, 2000). The average scores for the fictitious athlete ranged from 6.31 (SD = 1.90) to 6.54
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(SD = 1.84). These results revealed that most of the participants believed the product to be a good match with the athlete.
The social media campaign for Core by Union Square with the athletes was estab- lished by providing participants with a series of Twitter messages (tweets). Participants were asked to review the three tweets and then re-evaluate the athlete and the unfamiliar brand based on the aforementioned scales.
Using SPSS 20.0 a one-way repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (RM-MANOVA) was conducted on source expertise, source attractiveness, source trust- worthiness, and attitude toward the unfamiliar brand. The pre-evaluations by the partici- pants were treated as independent variables, and -evaluations (after exposure to the tweets) were examined as dependent variables. Table 1 includes the means and standard deviations for the four variables evaluated with the fictitious athlete endorser.
When the a priori alpha was set at 0.05, there was not a statistically significant effect of the Twitter message on the endorsement effects (attractiveness, trustworthiness, exper- tise) and attitude toward the unfamiliar brand (Wilks’ Lambda = 0.941, F(2, 142) = 2.24, p = 0.067). However, a statistically significant effect of the Twitter message on the variables was observed in a more liberal condition (i.e., p
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