Marketing Letters

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 319–335 | Cite as

The effect of traditionally marginalized groups in advertising on consumer response

  • Enrica N. RuggsEmail author
  • Jennifer Ames Stuart
  • Linyun W. Yang


Increasingly, national brands have cast people from marginalized groups in advertising. It is important to understand the elements that influence consumers’ responses to advertisements featuring groups who have been traditionally excluded from advertising campaigns. Although consumers may wish to buy brands that support their own views on human rights and equality, we propose that consumers in the target market may be uncomfortable if the group portrayal contradicts their beliefs about the topic, concept, or social groups in the ad. Across two studies, we show that when an ad creates this type of internal contradiction within consumers, it may elicit a more negative response than an ad portraying a more traditional model. However, we also find preliminary evidence that using models from marginalized groups can be more effective than using more traditional models—as long as such portrayals do not violate certain target consumers’ schemas. The implications of these results will be discussed.


Diversity Target marketing Advertising Identity Schemas 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrica N. Ruggs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jennifer Ames Stuart
    • 2
  • Linyun W. Yang
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Belk College of BusinessUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.Darla Moore School of BusinessUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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