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Abstract

What was the impact of celebrity endorsements on the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? To answer this question, celebrities and their endorsements were evaluated from a persuasion standpoint. Celebrity endorsements have often been used in the marketing world and the political world. This persuasive strategy has been effective and utilizes several persuasive concepts to influence consumers. Through a review of the literature, it has been demonstrated that this tactic utilizes concepts such as meaning transfer, heuristics, and reference cues to persuade the consumer. In this same manner, celebrity endorsement tactics were applied to many political campaigns for elections, specifically the 2016 election. The strategy of celebrity endorsements was analyzed by using Cialdini’s principle of liking to determine what influence celebrity endorsements had on the 2016 election and if they had any at all. This was done by analyzing specific endorsements for each campaign in the 2016 election and applying the principle of liking to them. The result of the research found that while Clinton did win the popular vote and the vote of those most likely to be persuaded by celebrity influence, analyzing the endorsements through Cialdini’s principle of liking did not provide evidence to claim that they provided a substantial impact on the election.

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