Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles

First Advisor

Dr. Vanessa P. Jackson

Abstract

Athletes have become more than sports professionals; they are million dollar investments for brand images. Businesses worldwide have transitioned old promotional schemes to athlete endorsements and have experienced positive reactions to the public change. Athletes connected with consumers on a heroic level and translated the brand’s message to purchasers through the theory of transference of affect (White, Goddard, & Wilbur, 2009). Subsequently, there had been an equal rise in the caution businesses exercised as several athletes found occupancy in negative press. Those involved in scandals posed reputational risks for businesses and could reduce positive transference to consumers. The purpose of this study was to test the impact of negative media portrayal (reputation) about athlete endorsers on male consumer’s purchase intentions and attitude favorability towards high or low involvement products. Online surveys were distributed to a Midwestern University, 196 surveys were analyzed. Findings showed purchase intention was affected by reputation for high involvement products; reputation was not an accurate predictor of consumer attitude toward high or low involvement products. Athletes involved in scandals remained effective as endorsers for low involvement products whereas, athletes with positive reputations succeeded when promoting high involvement products.