An Exploration of American Adolescents' Beverage Intake and Views on Celebrity Endorsement of Beverage Products to Inform Policies that Promote Healthy Beverage Guidelines


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Virginia Tech


Food and beverage marketing influences the preferences and diet quality of adolescents. In 2009, about one third (23.8 million US dollars) of the 77 million US dollars spent on celebrity marketing targeted to American adolescents promoted sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Research is limited on how celebrity endorsement influences adolescents' SSB choices and intake. This M.S. thesis describes a study with three research objectives conducted among 28 adolescents in Virginia to explore their beverage intake and views about celebrity endorsement of beverage products. Participants completed four activities including: BEVQ-15 to determine the type and amount of beverages consumed; a familiarity survey with 48 celebrities and their endorsements for six beverage product categories; Q methodology study that used 48 celebrity images depicting beverage brand and product endorsements where participants sorted the images on a normal distribution (+4 to -4) based on perceived celebrity credibility (i.e., expertise, attractiveness and trust); and a post Q sort questionnaire. The BEVQ-15 revealed that 96.3% of participants did not adhere to healthy beverage guidelines. A majority of participants recognized between 51% and 75% of the celebrities, but only 4.9% accurately identified celebrities and their associated beverage endorsement category. The Q methodology study used factor analysis to identify three unique viewpoints: (1) entertainment image emulators; (2) inspirational celebrities for perceived healthier beverages; and (3) multi-cultural celebrity appreciators. Study results may inform future policies and actions to ensure that celebrity endorsement encourages adolescents to buy and consume healthy beverages that align with guidelines.



beverages, healthy beverage guidelines, celebrity endorsement, adolescents, marketing