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Celebrity and Social Media Marketing

Dr Niall Caldwell and Ms Katie Leggett

Social media marketing has become central to the work of contemporary marketing communications, and fundamental to improvement in awareness and attitudes towards brands. Furthermore, the power and reach of celebrities have been magnified by social media. The majority of celebrities are able to reach thousands of their followers with a single message, making this power and influence alluring to brand owners who are willing to pay for these celebrities to endorse their brands via their social media accounts.

Social media has also had a strong involvement in the rise of the micro-celebrity. These are the self-created celebrities, whose renown is in a specific area and requires a great deal of fan-management. These micro-celebrities are also sometimes known as social media influencers. They have become the new focus for many brands, both large and small, looking for celebrity endorsement. Among the topics covered in this module will be the potential benefits of endorsement from both traditional celebrities on social media as well as from micro-celebrity influencers. Current trends and topics in social media marketing will also be studied.

Intended Audience

This course is aimed at students from all academic backgrounds with an interest in reading and researching the topic of celebrity. The intellectual orientation is towards social science and business.

Previous Knowledge

No previous knowledge of marketing is needed for this course.

Transferable Knowledge and Skills

Students will develop their communication skills (both oral and written), commercial awareness, cultural sensitivity, customer focus, problem solving and analytical skills, networking, interpersonal skills, initiative and decision making.


Dr Niall Caldwell

Dr Caldwell’s research interests are centred on the power of brands in contemporary markets and the ways in which branding stabilises the competitive economic environment by consolidating demand for specific products. Previously he has examined the branding strategies of cultural institutions, looking at the way that they borrow models from consumer brands.

Currently he's interested in how celebrities function in the symbolic order as a kind of fetish, and in the economic order as a type of brand. The stars themselves come and go, but the system of celebrity is maintained by the media through “technologies of intimacy” (Thrift 2008).

He has published a number of articles researching questions of brand image and equity of cultural institutions, including museums, universities, cities and countries. He also has interests in marketing history and the philosophy of marketing.

Niall worked for a Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agency in Chicago as an account executive responsible for handling the Point-of-Sale needs of S.C. Johnson & Son, M&M Mars Inc., and Quaker Oats. He has a PhD in Philosophy from Stony Brook, New York, and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.


Ms Katie Leggett

Ms Katie Leggett’s research focuses on cause-related marketing, in particular how variables such as donation and message framing as well as the use of celebrity can affect these marketing campaigns. She is currently working towards her PhD at Anglia Ruskin University and holds an MA in marketing and innovation.

She is interested in the use of marketing in conjunction with the social good, and the power marketing and design has on consumer perceptions. She has also studied Design and Technology at Loughborough University.