Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Reed College of Media


Reed College of Media

Committee Chair

Steve Urbanski

Committee Co-Chair

Nicholas Bowman

Committee Member

Catherine Mezera

Committee Member

Tom Stewart


Through an online survey methodology, this study explored how the relationship between the three celebrity-based characteristics -- trustworthiness, attractiveness and expertise -- and Millennials' social media usage influences Millennials' purchasing intentions, or their likelihood to buy the product or brand being endorsed. Millennials were the focus of this study due to their involvement with social media, their pre-existing parasocial interactions with celebrities on social media and their increased likelihood of buying products endorsed by celebrities with the hope of being more like them.;The most significant finding revealed that the three celebrity-based characteristics -- expertise, trustworthiness and attractiveness -- are perceived differently by Millennials when compared to past research. Results showed that the respondents viewed the characteristics as one combined variable due to high correlations between the three. Millennial participants may have been affected by the halo effect and the cognitive consistency theory, which both work together to explain that Millennials who view celebrities as nice or positive will rate the rest of their characteristics positively. If a Millennial views the celebrity as negative, their characteristics will be rated negatively. Furthermore, the results indicated that Millennials' social media usage has more of an impact on Millennials' purchasing intentions, meaning that Millennials' who have higher levels of social media use are more likely to purchase from the brand or buy the product being endorsed.;These findings highlight the differing perceptions of Millennials in regard the celebrity characteristic. Furthermore, the findings also show how Millennials' social media use affects their purchasing intentions. With this change in perceptions, this study can help expand the knowledge and practices of brands and companies choosing celebrities to endorse their brand.