Physical Attractiveness in Advertising: Can an Endorser Be Too Attractive? An Abstract
Attractive product endorsers are typically more effective than their less attractive counterparts. But can they be too attractive, perhaps to the point of offending viewers? This study examines the importance of endorser attractiveness of both celebrities and noncelebrities in shaping the effectiveness of advertisements. An online experiment using 16 existing ads each with different endorsers was conducted to examine the importance that attractiveness plays in advertising. The results show that although endorser attractiveness generally makes an ad more effective, with opposite sex viewers, there is a linear effect between attractiveness and interest in the product; but when evaluated by same-sex viewers, if the model in the advertisement is highly attractive, interest in the advertisement decreases curvilinearly. This research demonstrates that negative repercussions may occur for highly attractive models for both women and men but only for same-sex models. This theoretical advancement has important practical implications for advertisers to avoid unrealistically attractive or thin models. Although the pattern for attractiveness was the same for both celebrities and noncelebrities, respondents reported being more interested in products advertised by celebrities than noncelebrities, supporting the value of celebrity advertising in general.
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