Marketing Letters

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 353-367

First online:

Is the Marlboro man the only alternative? The role of gender identity and self-construal salience in evaluations of male models

  • Brett A. S. MartinAffiliated withMarketing Group School of Management, University of Bath Email author 
  • , Juergen GnothAffiliated withDepartment of Marketing, University of Otago

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This research examines how men react to male models in print advertisements. In two experiments, we show that the gender identity of men influences their responses to advertisements featuring a masculine, feminine, or androgynous male model. In addition, we explore the extent to which men feel they will be classified by others as similar to the model as a mechanism for these effects. Specifically, masculine men respond most favorably to masculine models and are negative toward feminine models. In contrast, feminine men prefer feminine models when their private self is salient. Yet in a collective context, they prefer masculine models. These experiments shed light on how gender identity and self-construal influence male evaluations and illustrate the social pressure on men to endorse traditional masculine portrayals. We also present implications for advertising practice.


Advertising Classification expectations Gender identity Self-construal Evaluations