How Does Skinny Sell?: Body Size and Pricing Effects on Advertising Effectiveness and Body Esteem

Maxim Polonsky, University of Connecticut, USA
Ioannis Kareklas, Washington State University, USA
We conducted two experiments in order to investigate the effects of model body size and pricing strategies on advertising effectiveness, body esteem, and weight lose intentions. In the first experiment, 145 female participants were randomly assigned into one of the three print ad body size conditions: thin, average, and plus-size. We find that in the thin body condition participants estimated the product quality and price to be significantly higher than in the other two conditions. Additionally, female participants indicated lower body esteem and higher intention to lose weight in the thin condition, relative to the plus-size and normal conditions. Our second experiment employed a between-subject 3 x 2 factorial design, investigating the effect of exposure condition (ads featuring thin models, plus-size models, and average models) and price (low and high) on advertising effectiveness, purchase intentions, and on female body-esteem. We show that the presence of price in the ad complicates the findings from our first experiment by interacting with model body size.
[ to cite ]:
Maxim Polonsky and Ioannis Kareklas (2011) ,"How Does Skinny Sell?: Body Size and Pricing Effects on Advertising Effectiveness and Body Esteem", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 902-903.