Food Choice and Overconsumption: Effect of a Premium Sports Celebrity Endorser eInterview with Dr Emma Boyland
Biopsychology Research Group.
Liverpool Obesity Research Network. University of Liverpool. What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Boyland: Children who were exposed to a TV commercial for Walker’s potato chips featuring a celebrity endorser showed a greater brand preference for Walker’s and consumed more Walker’s chips than a purported ‘supermarket brand’. Exposure to the celebrity endorser in a different, non-promotional context (presenting a soccer highlights TV program) also had a similar impact on brand choice and intake. This effect was not seen in response to another snack food commercial or a non-food commercial. Importantly, children did not reduce their consumption of the perceived ‘supermarket brand’ to compensate, they simply consumed more Walker’s crisps so this effect could contribute to overconsumption. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Boyland: From the literature, it could reasonably have been hypothesized that a TV commercial featuring a celebrity endorser would be persuasive and have an influence over children’s brand choice and consumption. However, that exposure to the celebrity endorser in a different, non-commercial context, had a similar effect was a surprise and has worrying implications for health. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Boyland: It should be considered that exposure to any food marketing for high fat, sugar and/or salt foods may have a detrimental impact upon food choice, intake, overall diet quality and therefore health. Additionally, exposure to elements of that marketing message appearing in other contexts may also have an influence. It is important to be aware of the extent and nature of these influences, and to try to mitigate their impact through reduced television viewing and critical evaluation of promotional materials. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Boyland: More work needs to be done to explore this phenomenon with other celebrity endorsers, other products, and other marketing elements such as brand characters, to examine the generalizability of these findings.


Food Choice and Overconsumption: Effect of a Premium Sports Celebrity Endorser.

Boyland EJ, Harrold JA, Dovey TM, Allison M, Dobson S, Jacobs MC, Halford JC.

Kissileff Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [email protected].
J Pediatr. 2013 Mar 9. pii: S0022-3476(13)00134-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.01.059. [Epub ahead of print]

Last Updated on December 5, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD