Marketing Faculty Publications and Presentations

Female advertising models and their body mass index (BMI): How does BMI similarity affect perceived product quality?

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Recent research has pointed out the importance of appearance similarity as a special instance of homophily. The current paper introduces body mass index (BMI) similarity as a convenient and powerful proxy of perceived appearance homophily in the context of female advertising models by showing process evidence and boundary conditions for the effect of BMI similarity on marketing-relevant downstream variables. Study 1 tests how BMI similarity relates to a traditional measure of appearance homophily and perceived reliability of a female advertising model. Study 2 shows that BMI similarity influences perceived product quality and purchase intention. Website vividness negatively moderates the relationship between BMI similarity and product quality. Study 3 tests for alternative explanations and provides support for the mediating effect of appearance homophily for the relationship between BMI similarity and perceived product quality. The findings provide marketing managers with important insights on how to increase their marketing effectiveness by integrating BMI similarity into their marketing communications. Additionally, using BMI similarity serves as an alternative way to promote diversity and inclusion of models with plus-size body type often sought by societal brands.


© 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Publication Title

Journal of Consumer Behaviour