Celebrity Contagion and the Value of Objects

George Newman, Yale University, USA
Gil Diesendruck, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Paul Bloom, Yale University, USA
Why do people value objects that were once owned or touched by well-liked individuals, such as film stars or politicians, and by despised individuals, such as serial killers and notorious dictators? Following a conceptual strategy developed by Nemeroff and Rozin (1994) in which various hypothetical transformations are described, we find that valuation of objects previously owned by liked people is best accounted for by a contagion model. These objects are believed to hold some physical remnant of their previous owner, and people are willing to pay money to have contact with such remnants. In contrast, objects previously owned by negative figures were valued solely for their presumed marketability.
[ to cite ]:
George Newman, Gil Diesendruck, and Paul Bloom (2010) ,"Celebrity Contagion and the Value of Objects", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 280-283 .