Son of the soil

Amitabh Bachchan is quite vocal in his assertion that Uttar Pradesh has a crime rate that is among the lowest. This claim, endorsed by Amitabh as brand ambassador of the state of Uttar Pradesh has been met with skepticism. This is because, in terms of statistics the crime rate in UP may be low as compared to other states. Yet, recent events, such as the Nithari killings are fresh in every one's minds. And so the claims made by Amitabh Bachchan on behalf of the UP government does not go down well with the public who watched, just a few months back, the horror of Nithari unfold in front of their own eyes.

Are celebrities credible as brand endorsers?

The Q scores ( Q Rating ), a rating of likeability developed by Marketing Evaluation Inc. in the 1960s helps rate celebrities on factors of 'familiarity' and 'appeal'. According to Marketing Evaluations, the factors affecting a celebrity’s Q-Score relate to measures of familiarity and appeal. When combined these measures result in a likeability or Q-Score for the item or person being assessed. Higher Q-Scores are generally associated with more likeable celebrities.

Another important factor to consider while evaluating effectiveness of a celebrity, is the 'source credibility'. Source credibility has a long history of research in the communication field and while there are several theories that measure it in different ways, the most accepted measure was originally developed by Yale researchers Hovland, Janis and Kelly in the 1950s. It suggests two major components – expertise (i.e., perception the person is a source of valid statements) and trustworthiness (i.e., perception the person is objective and virtuous) are key to source credibility.

In the case of Amitabh Bachchan and his endorsement of the UP government, in terms of Q scores, Amitabh would score high, but when it comes of source credibility, both on the factors of expertise and trustworthiness, he would score extremely low. That explains the negative reactions to this commercial which stars Amitabh.

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