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Celebrity endorsement is a popular strategy in advertising. Marketers have spent millions of dollars on contracts with celebrity endorsers. To evaluate the effects of celebrity endorsement, researchers have examined consumers' perceptions toward source credibility and the interaction between consumers' perceptions and their attitudes toward advertisements, products, and purchase intentions. The impact of gender has also been studied. The research of celebrity athlete endorsement in the realm of sport management, however, has received little attention despite its high risk and high cost. The current study examined the possibility of cross-over endorsements based on the idea that male athletes may credibly endorse women's sports products. The purposes of this study included: 1) examining the influence of a celebrity athlete endorser's gender on consumers' perceptions of the endorser's credibility (expertise, trustworthiness and attractiveness); 2) examining the impact of a celebrity athlete endorser's gender on consumers' attitudes toward advertisement and attitudes toward a product; and 3) assessing the impact of a celebrity athlete endorser's gender on consumers' purchase intentions. Data was collected from 413 students at the large SE state university during the summer semester in 2006. The data revealed three primary findings. First, male subjects perceived a male tennis endorser as having more expertise than a female tennis endorser, and both male and female subjects perceived a female soccer athlete as having more trustworthiness than a male athlete. Second, male subjects rated female soccer and tennis athletes as more attractive than male soccer and tennis athletes. The male basketball athlete was rated as more attractive than the female basketball athlete by male respondents. Females, on the other hand, rated the male soccer athlete as more attractive than the female soccer athlete. Third, only female subjects showed their intention to purchase the tennis shoes endorsed by the male (opposite sex) athlete more than shoes endorsed by the female (same sex) athlete. As for the rest, endorser's gender did not influence male and female subjects' attitudes toward advertisements and products and subjects' purchase intentions
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