This study introduces the concept of attractiveness similarity, empirically examines its main effect and whether it moderates the effect of endorser attractiveness on consumer responses to advertising. The results show a positive main effect of attractiveness similarity over and above the mere effect of endorser attractiveness. In addition, a consistent moderating effect of attractiveness similarity on the effect of endorser attractiveness emerges: attractiveness similarity buffers against the less positive effects of lower levels of endorser attractiveness (i.e., it compensates for lower levels of endorser attractiveness). Overall, these findings reveal attractiveness similarity as a new variable in endorser advertising, which has important managerial implications. Advertising campaigns employing averagely attractive endorsers should pay special attention to attractiveness similarity.
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The direction of effects and their significance remained the same for all criteria (apart from the main effect of attractiveness similarity on attitude toward the product, which was no longer significant) when transforming the endorser attractiveness ratings perceived by participants into a binary endorser attractiveness variable and using this variable (instead of the experimental factor) as predictor in the analyses.
We examined whether it makes a difference if the consumer or the endorser is perceived as more attractive than the other. We ran an additional regression analysis with endorser attractiveness, attractiveness similarity, and a binary variable for the direction of the distance as predictors. Corroborating the relevance of our attractiveness similarity indicator, we obtained no significant effect for the direction of the distance. Thus, the buffering effect of attractiveness similarity only depends on the absolute distance, but not on the specific attractiveness constellation of consumer and endorser.
In general, people’s evaluation of their own attractiveness is in line with how their attractiveness is judged by others (Marcus and Miller 2003).
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Bekk, M., Spörrle, M., Völckner, F. et al. What is not beautiful should match: how attractiveness similarity affects consumer responses to advertising. Mark Lett 28, 509–522 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-017-9428-3
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