Using Über-Thin Models May Be Hurting Your Brand


Forget the size zero supermodels – bigger girls can mean bigger profits say researchers.

A new study from Warwick Business School has found that when consumers are blatantly exposed to idealised images of thin, beautiful women those shoppers are more likely to use a defensive coping strategy to boost self-evaluation by denigrating the pictured woman. This can negatively affect the products these models endorse through the transfer of the negative evaluation of the model to the endorsed product.

The female subjects of this study were put through various experiments including being shown magazine pages that contained different ads, one of which was for a vodka. Some women received ads that did not feature an attractive model, other women received ads that had a bikini-clad model on the opposite page to a picture of the vodka (meaning they were subtly exposed to the idealised female image) and the third had the attractive model on a whole page next to the vodka (meaning they were blatantly exposed to the idealised female image).

This study was published Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and is called Defensive reactions to slim female images in advertising: The moderating role of mode of exposure.

Here is the download info, if you want to read it for yourself. Or, you can let the insightful minds here at our Charlotte ad agency give you the executive summary – and help you make sure your current advertising strategies are helping – and not hurting – your brand.




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