Social Science Diliman, Vol 6, No 1 (2010)

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Celebrification in Philippine Politics: Exploring the Relationship Between Celebrity Endorser's Parasociability and the Public's Voting Behavior

Dave De Guzman Centeno

Abstract


This article looks at the voting behavior of individuals as a correlate of Parasocial Interaction (PSI)—a ‘mediated rapport’ or ‘illusion of intimacy’ with TV personae. A non-random sample of those who voted during the May 2007 Philippine Senatorial Elections in Metro Manila and Bulacan were surveyed and asked to assess celebrity endorsers of senatorial candidates using the PSI Scale.  Results showed that respondents have higher PSI with celebrity endorsers of candidates they voted for. Demographic variables were also tested as to whether they might be indicators of PSI. The survey tends to suggest that celebrity endorsers who have higher parasociability invoke positive action and behavior (i.e., voting for their candidates). This means that they are also somehow indirect agents of change similar to significant others, when they endorse politicians who are possible leaders of the country, although the findings also show that there are exceptions to this. The paper concludes by turning to Symbolic Interactionism (wherein celebrities are perceived to be ‘significant others’ who may affect individuals’ attitudes and behaviors), and notes the advertising implications of ‘celebrification’.

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