This study investigates developmental differences in self-determination needs as antecedents of consumers' strong attachments to celebrities and, in turn, brand attachment. Applying lifespan development theory and self-determination theory, we propose that celebrity encouragement of consumer self-determination needs of autonomy (freedom), and relatedness (closeness) in the promotion of strong consumer-celebrity attachment, become less influential as consumers' age. Results of two studies show the bounds of attachment theory and self-determination theory, and brand attachment, as an outcome of celebrity attachment. Findings from Study 1 show that autonomy and relatedness needs encouraged by celebrities become less influential in older consumers attachment to celebrities. Study 2 further identifies that self-determination needs (including autonomy and relatedness) strengthen younger adult consumers attachment to celebrities, which also encourages strong brand attachment when the celebrity is paired with a brand in an endorsement context. This study is important to human brand and brand managers in the development of attachment bonds between consumers and celebrities to strengthen endorsed brand attachment.
- lifespan development theory
- relatedness self-determination theory