Ernie Els Is The Most Likable British Open Contender, But Lacks Influence Among Consumers

Ernie Els Is The Most Likable British Open Contender, But Lacks Influence Among Consumers

Ernie Els Is The Most Likable British Open Contender, But Lacks Influence Among Consumers

Darren Heitner | July 18, 2013 | Forbers

The British Open is in full swing at the Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland, with the best golfers in the world competing for a total purse of $8,000,000 ($1,400,000 going to the overall winner). Defending champion Ernie Els, at the ripe age of 43-years-old, hopes to become the 5th player in 50 years of the British Open to win the tournament in back-to-back years.

With the assistance of REPUCOM’s The Celebrity DBI, FORBES has acquired athlete data that indicates Els is the most likable of all potential contenders competing for the British Open championship. He leads the pack of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald and Tiger Woods. In fact, the results of The Celebrity DBI’s survey suggests that 81% of respondents report liking Ernie Els and only 50% like Tiger.

But what about influence? The Celerity DBI definition of influence measures the degree to which people believe the celebrity is an influence in today’s world. It asks the key question: Does the celebrity impact brand consideration and purchase intent?

“We ask respondents if they agree or disagree with statements about a celebrity’s influence and capture that percentage number,” explained Kathy Gardner, Product Manager at DBI to FORBES. ”The overall score is weighted by the degree of awareness, so I think it’s clearer to focus on the percentage that are aware of the celeb that agree to the survey questions.”

In Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK), Rory McIlroy clearly has the most influence, with 79% saying he is influential — compared to 56% saying the same about Tiger Woods, 67% for Ernie Els, 68% for Luke Donald and 69% saying the same about Phil Mickelson. McIlroy continues his dominance in the category of influence when data is restricted to responses from women. 80% of women respondents agree that McIlroy is influential. Interestingly, Mickelson also received a boost among women; 74% of females say Phil is influential whereas 68% of men agree.

In the United States, Mickelson is the clear leader when it comes to influence, and Els (the most likable of the pack) remains behind Donald and McIlroy.

Companies care about how much the general public likes a celebrity when considering the celebrities they select to endorse their products and/or services. However, likability takes a backseat to influence, because brand consideration and purchase intent tends to impact a company’s bottom-line to a greater degree. The fact that Ernie Els, a very likable golfer and winner of the 2012 British Open has been determined to be less influential than his chief competitors (including a mere percentage point more influential than Tiger Woods in Europe) is demonstrative of his inability to really connect with the world of golf when it comes to generating demand for particular products and/or services. Perhaps that changes if he wins in 2013, despite the data that may suggest otherwise.

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