Advertising is the practice and techniques employed to bring attention to a product or service. Advertising aims to put a product or service in the spotlight in hopes of drawing it attention from consumers. It is typically used to promote a ...
, a testimonial or show consists of a person's written or spoken statement extolling the virtue of a
Product may refer to:
* Product (business), an item that serves as a solution to a specific consumer problem.
* Product (project management), a deliverable or set of deliverables that contribute to a business solution
* Pr ...
. The term "testimonial" most commonly applies to the sales-pitch
es attributed to ordinary citizens, whereas the word " endorsement
" usually applies to pitches by celebrities
. Testimonials can be part of communal marketing
Advertisers have attempted to quantify and qualify the use of celebrities
Marketing is the process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to empha ...
campaigns by evaluating the awareness generated, appeal, and relevance to a brand's image and the celebrity's
A consumer is a person or a group who intends to order, or uses purchased goods, products, or services primarily for personal, social, family, household and similar needs, who is not directly related to entrepreneurial or business activities. ...
Social media such as
Twitter is an online social media and social networking service owned and operated by American company Twitter, Inc., on which users post and interact with 280-character-long messages known as "tweets". Registered users can post, like, and ...
have become increasingly popular mediums for celebrities to endorse brands and to attempt to influence purchasing behavior. According to a study by Zenith, social media ad spending was $29 billion in 2016 and is expected to rise to $50 billion in 2019. Advertising and marketing companies sponsor celebrities to tweet and influence thousands (sometimes millions) of their followers to buy brand products. For example,
Ryan John Seacrest (born December 24, 1974) is an American media personality and producer. He is the co-host of ''Live with Kelly and Ryan'', as well as the host of multiple media shows including '' American Idol'', ''American Top 40'', and ' ...
(an American broadcaster) gets paid to promote Ford products.
Companies that pay celebs to tweet for them subscribe to the
Celebrity endorsements have proven very successful in China
, where increasing consumerism makes the purchase of an endorsed product into a status symbol. On August 1, 2007, laws were passed banning healthcare professionals and public figures such as movie stars or pop singers from appearing in advertisements for drugs
or nutritional supplements
. A spokesperson stated, "A celebrity appearing in drug advertising is more likely to mislead consumers, therefore, the state must consider controlling medical advertisements and strengthen the management of national celebrities appearing in medical advertisements."
Testimonials from customers who are not famous have been effectively used in marketing for as long as marketing has existed. A past or current customer will present a formal "word of mouth" testimonial that a business can use in marketing and to build trust with future customers. Testimonials are incredibly effective when believed to be true, but a challenge is having the audience believe that testimonials presented by a business are given by real people, not fabricated by the business itself. Even so, testimonials, reviews, and
A case study is an in-depth, detailed examination of a particular case (or cases) within a real-world context. For example, case studies in medicine may focus on an individual patient or ailment; case studies in business might cover a particular fi ...
are still considered by most marketing experts to be the most effective means of marketing and gaining brand trust by small- and medium-sized businesses.
Testimonials have reached an all-time high in importance as the internet is now a plethora of reviews (synonymous with testimonials). Websites such as
Yelp Inc. is an American company that develops the Yelp.com website and the Yelp mobile app, which publish crowd-sourced reviews about businesses. It also operates Yelp Guest Manager, a table reservation service. It is headquartered in San F ...
Google Maps is a web mapping platform and consumer application offered by Google. It offers satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360° interactive panoramic views of streets ( Street View), real-time traffic conditions, and ro ...
, and many more have become 'go to' places for individuals who are seeking other customers reviews/testimonials about a particular business. To put the growth of this industry into perspective, for example, Yelp.com's growth alone can be noted: Yelp.com has more than 71 million monthly unique visitors as of January 2012.
Instagram is a photo and video sharing social networking service owned by American company Meta Platforms. The app allows users to upload media that can be edited with filters and organized by hashtags and geographical tagging. Posts can be ...
especially has increasingly been useful in distributing testimonials on products and places. It is done by making use of the tagging feature that directly links to the original brand or the particular location that the picture was taken. Moreover, the description of the pictures are also used to write either the review or sentences that complements the product or place. Users with a large number of followers are commonly targeted for endorsement deal requests that aims to create these testimonial posts, where in return, the user receives commission for 'advertising' the place or product. However, it can only be called an endorsement deal when the company or label contacts the user directly to create such testimonial post, and the user receives commission. This is becoming a trend in
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of over 17,000 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo and New Guinea. ...
, especially amongst users with at least one thousand followers, where some are now known for posting pictures with advertising purposes.
The downside to such explosive importance in this arena is the massive amount of fraud in the form of fake reviews or opinion spam
, testimonials that are not authentic. Often, a business owner will open multiple email addresses and then corresponding Yelp! accounts and write a multitude of testimonials seemingly by many customers of said business. Similarly, the same owner may also write negative reviews of competitors. From a '' New York Times
'' article about the same topic, "On another forum, Digital Point
, a poster wrote, 'I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.' A Craigslist
post proposed this: 'If you have an active Yelp account and would like to make very easy money please respond.' There are tens-of-thousands of ads out there all over the internet of people requesting you to write bogus reviews for their business and people offering to do the same.". However, there are legitimate and legal ways for business owners to build their portfolio of reviews such as mentioning to customers that they value honest feedback and then providing them with the appropriate instructions for where they can review the business.
There have also been allegations that review sites themselves are prepared to manipulate reviews in return for companies buying advertising subscriptions, with a class action being filed against Yelp to this effect in February 2010.
Research by Martin, Wentzel and Tomczak (2008) found that the effectiveness of testimonials depends on the degree to which consumers are influenced by normative pressure and the quality of the product features highlighted. Results showed that people influenced by peer pressure place a greater emphasis on the testimonial than on the attribute information. In contrast, people who ignore the opinions of others are more influenced by attribute information.
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC shares jurisdiction ov ...
(FTC) found that in US businesses, an alarming number of testimonials were in fact fictitious and misleading. In December 2009, they introduced a new set of rules governing testimonials. In essence, it is now illegal to use testimonials that "...mislead consumers and affect consumers' behavior or decisions about the product or service." However, despite new regulations, online consumers often view testimonials with a high degree of skepticism. Companies from the private sector have begun to offer testimonial verification services
to help consumers verify the authenticity of displayed testimonials.
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