Self-referencing and consumer evaluations of larger-sized female models: A weight locus of control perspective
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
- Bower, A. B., & Landreth, S. (2001). Is beauty best? Highly versus normally attractive models in advertising. Journal of Advertising, 30(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
- Martin, B. A. S., Lee, C. K.-C., & Yang, F. (2004). The influence of ad model ethnicity and self-referencing upon attitudes: Evidence from New Zealand. Journal of Advertising, 33(4), 27–37.Google Scholar
- Mussweiler, T. (2003). Comparison processes in social judgment: Mechanisms and consequences. Psychological Bulletin, 110(3), 472–489.Google Scholar
- National Center for Health Statistics. (2005). Prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults: United States, 1999–2000. http://www.cdc.gov/.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (1998). Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: The evidence report. (NIH Publication No. 98-4083). Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Health.Google Scholar
- Netemeyer, R. G. (1997). Personal correspondence cited in William O. Bearden and Richard G. Netemeyer (eds.), Handbook of Marketing Scales: Multi-item Measures for Marketing and Consumer Behavior (425). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Ohanian, R. (1990). Construction and validation of a scale to measure celebrity endorsers’ perceived expertise, trustworthiness, and attractive. Journal of Advertising, 19(3), 39–52.Google Scholar
- Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80(1), 1–28.Google Scholar
- Stunkard, A. J., Sorensen, T., & Schulsinger. F. (1983). Use of the Danish adoption register for the study of obesity and thinness. In S. S. Kety, L. P. Rowland, R. L.Sidman, & S. W. Matthysse (Eds.), Genetics of neurological and psychiatric disorders, (115–120) New York: Raven.Google Scholar