Given the prevalence of false or exaggerated claims in advertisements for weight loss products, as well as risks associated with use of unproven dietary supplements and exercise plans, they are subject to heightened scrutiny from regulators. However, celebrity athlete endorsers are increasingly featured in advertisements promoting weight loss products targeting men. This study employed a 2x2 (athlete endorser vs. non-celebrity; plausible vs. unrealistic advertising claim) experimental design, whereby participants (n= 292) were exposed to one of four ad conditions. Results suggest the athlete endorser was perceived as more credible than a non-celebrity, being rated as more expert. Significant differences were observed in ad believability, fit perceptions, brand attitudes, and purchase intentions. Findings suggest, the presence of a celebrity athlete endorser made weight loss advertisements more believable to consumers, even when ads contained obviously false claims. Given the health risks associated with certain weight loss behaviors and supplements, the impact of celebrity endorsers on consumer choices is important. Implications for potential consumers, regulators, and celebrity athlete endorsers are discussed.

Author ORCID Identifier

ACP: 0000-0003-0454-0517

ZJD: 0000-0002-5863-4693

KMB: 0000-0002-3629-769X

NTB: 0000-0002-6922-6169

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License