The impact of age on consumer attachment to celebrities and endorsed brand attachment

Jasmina Ilicic*, Stacey M. Baxter, Alicia Kulczynski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-288
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Brand Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • attachment
  • autonomy
  • celebrity
  • lifespan development theory
  • relatedness self-determination theory


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