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Celebrity chefs as brand and their cookbooks as marketing communication

Tonner, A. (2008) Celebrity chefs as brand and their cookbooks as marketing communication. In: Academy of Marketing Conference, 2008-07-08 - 2008-07-10. (Unpublished)

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This paper aims to illuminate how consumers engage with celebrity chefs as marketing objects and their cookbooks as marketing communications. Based upon narrative analysis of qualitative data it suggest that celebrity chefs are acting as brands, that consumers clearly understand and engage with them on that basis and have clear understanding of their values and benefits leading to loyalty and trust in these chef brands. It further suggests that the level engagement which these chef brands can achieve is unmatched by the consumer goods brands and retailers within food marketing. It argues that while the cookbooks under these brands clearly act as product and merchandise that they should also be considered as part of the brand's marketing communication toolkit: that they play a role in driving consumer loyalty to the brand by effectively communicating its brand values and attributes. It concludes that traditional consumer goods and retailers within the grocery sector need to re-evaluate the range of marketing communications tools available to respond to the brand dominance of the celebrity chef and rethink traditional models of endorsement as they may be doing more to build the celebrity brand than associated consumer goods. Consumption, marketing communications, branding.