DOI: 10.14704/nq.2017.15.4.1092

The Neural Correlates of Celebrity Power on Product Favorableness: An fMRI Study

Yeon Sung Jung, Yang-Tae Kim, Jong-Su Baeck, Jongmin Lee, Jin Goo Kim, yongmin Chang


Advertisements featuring celebrities have increased over the years. While we know that the effectiveness of celebrities stems from a transfer of positive affect from celebrity to product, it is still unclear whether celebrities are also able to improve product favorableness in commercials. In the current study, by employing a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment that presented subjects with a combination of a celebrity face and a car that was familiar to their culture, we investigated the neural correlates of celebrity power on car favorableness in advertising. The results showed that neural activity in brain areas associated with reward, memory, semantics, and attention was higher when viewing a combination of a celebrity face and a car compared to viewing a combination of a non-celebrity face and a car. Furthermore, it was found that the scores of car favorableness were positively correlated with neural activity of left orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), left anterior insula and left higher-order visual cortex in the occipital lobe. This suggests a possible “transfer effect” of positive attitude, and a feeling for the celebrity, while making a preference-judgment for car.


Celebrity, Functional MRI, Favorableness, Advertisement, Neuromarketing

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Supporting Agencies

This research was supported by Kyungpook National University Bokhyeon Research Fund, 2015.

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