Really? …….. Really?
I’m as surprised as you are…
The findings are significant to Ms. Mandel because companies like Dove and magazines that feature models of all sizes are often praised. But while the approach may be popular, it may not be effective.
Ms. Mandel conducted the study because she wanted to see if looking at skinny models had a link to consumer self esteem or even eating disorders. The professors examined respondent attitudes about their own body size before viewing the ads. They were then asked if they considered themselves similar or different to the models in the ads.
Some of the findings surprised Ms. Mandel. Although thin models did deflate most women’s self esteem, the biggest correlation wasn’t the model’s size – it was the relative difference between the consumer’s size and the model’s size. Normal-weight respondents had the most easily influenced reaction. They identified with both the thin and plus-size models, the study showed, yo-yoing between feeling confident and pondering a diet. The overweight respondents’ reactions were the same, regardless of the size of the models
“Overweight respondents didn’t like any of the models, regardless of size,” Ms. Mandel says. “They didn’t seem to like what was reflected at them.” .
Dove hasn’t responded, but Ms. Mandel says she would like to work with them for future research. The findings will be published in the April issue of the “Journal of Consumer Research.”