Beautiful young models are used to sell everything from computer processors to motor oil. But is it really effective to use a pretty face to market something that has nothing to do with physical attractiveness? New research from the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research argues that an attractive model can actually negatively influence product perception if the model is irrelevant to the quality of the product and the consumer had a very high interest in the product to being with.
"Whether people are persuaded by spokespeople in advertisements depends on their ability and motivation to think about the relation between the spokesperson and the advertised product," explains Paul M. Herr (University of Colorado). "When consumers are either unable or unwilling to consider the spokespersons credibility, they rely on the spokespersons attractiveness."
The researchers present the first unified theory explaining how we respond to spokespeople and models, outlining the major processes involved in our perception of this type of advertising. We first gauge the attractiveness of the spokesperson and use this as information about the product. We then evaluate the spokespersons relevance to the product before correcting our biases.
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
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