Self-referencing and consumer evaluations of larger-sized female models: A weight locus of control perspective
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In two experiments, we show that the beliefs women have about the controllability of their weight (i.e., weight locus of control) influences their responses to advertisements featuring a larger-sized female model or a slim female model. Further, we examine self-referencing as a mechanism for these effects. Specifically, people who believe they can control their weight (“internals”), respond most favorably to slim models in advertising, and this favorable response is mediated by self-referencing. In contrast, people who feel powerless about their weight (“externals”), self-reference larger-sized models, but only prefer larger-sized models when the advertisement is for a non-fattening product. For fattening products, they exhibit a similar preference for larger-sized models and slim models. Together, these experiments shed light on the effect of model body size and the role of weight locus of control in influencing consumer attitudes.
KeywordsLarger-sized models Self-referencing Weight locus of control Brand and advertising attitudes
The authors thank Peter Danaher, Bruce Hardie, David Griffith, Cristel Russell, Avi Shankar, the Editors and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.
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