How negative celebrity publicity influences consumer attitudes : the mediating role of moral reputation

Lianxi ZHOU, Paul WHITLA

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores consumer reactions to negative celebrity publicity. We draw from the sociological analysis of morality and propose that an individual's concerns with moral norms of the target celebrity's personal conduct (deontology) and perceived wrongness of his/her act to the general public (teleology) have detrimental effects on celebrity endorsements. The results based upon a convenience sample of young Asian consumers reveal the crucial role of the evaluation of moral reputation in shaping respondents' reaction to the poorly behaving celebrity and the endorsed brands. The major implication is that moral reputation is an important bridging connection between the attribution process and consumers' reaction to negative celebrity publicity and therefore the celebrity endorser's moral reputation should be incorporated into celebrity endorsement research. Our approach captures a broad sociological process underlying consumer resistance to erratic behavior of celebrity endorsers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1020
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number8
Early online date2 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge the financial support by SSHRC as well as the MBA School of Zhejiang Gongshang University.


  • Asia
  • Negative publicity
  • attitudes
  • celebrity endorsement
  • morality


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