University of Leicester
2019LAICKPhD.pdf (8.64 MB)

Celebrity Endorsement: A Qualitative Study of Chain Tutoring Centres in the Hong Kong Shadow Education Sector

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posted on 2019-11-20, 13:50 authored by Chi Kin Lai
Celebrity endorsement plays a key role in modern marketing, which is widely employed by companies and studied by researchers. Past studies in the literature on celebrity endorsement have concentrated on consumer assessment to identify the factors that influence the selection of celebrity endorsers for helping promotion and impacting consumer purchase intention. Studies on celebrity endorsement and the marketisation of education have under-examined the phenomenon of celebrity tutors in the Hong Kong shadow education sector. Through a qualitative approach, this thesis aims to explore how and why the chain tutoring centres in Hong Kong create and maintain celebrity tutors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a variety of practitioners from the main chain tutoring centres and then thematic data analysis was undertaken. The celebrity tutors are found to be a human brand established through celebrification. The performance of celebrity tutors was associated with a multiplicity of role-practices such as being entertainers, educators, entrepreneurs and specifically idols (Tutor Kings and Queens), and their relationship with the media to fulfil these. Although a hyperbolic emphasis is placed on the tutors’ physical attractiveness and credibility as key features for their success, both established and emerging celebrity tutors have been developing autonomous practices and performances in creating and maintaining their celebrity status and symbolic meanings. The performance of celebrity tutors reflects the celebritisation of shadow education as the industry norm through the idolisation of tutoring and fan culture. The participants themselves drew parallels between celebrity tutors and branded goods, showing that they acknowledge shadow education within a market logic. This explains the swift marketisation of shadow, rather than tertiary, education in an Asian context. There are co-branding and endorsement between celebrity tutors, chain tutoring centres and drinks/toiletries, which are worthy of further study.



Zafeirenia Brokalaki; Georgios Patsiaouras; Andrea Davies

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Business

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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