Attention all models! Models Direct has just read news of apparent proof that women are more likely to buy clothing when it is modelled on a woman of their size. Since in the UK this would most often be a size 14-16 that’s good news for the plus-size model and model agent!
Researcher Claims ‘Real’ Models Sell TWICE As Many Clothes
Attention all models! Models Direct has just read news of apparent proof that women are more likely to buy clothing when it’s modelled on a woman of their size. And since, in the UK, this would most often be a size 14-16 that’s good news for the plus-size model and model agent!
While the results of this long-overdue study come as little surprise to Models Direct – who has been promoting ‘real’ models of all kinds since its inception in the 1990s – it is still an eye opener for many advertisers. There has always appeared to be an underlying belief in the modelling industry that consumers aspire to look young and thin and are therefore more likely to buy clothing which has been marketed on a young, thin model. Now studies suggest that women are actually far more likely to spend their money when they can relate to the model selected to promote it, and it doesn’t stop with weight or age, race is an important factor too.
The illuminating study behind this revelation was conducted by Canadian researcher Ben Barry, who surveyed over 2,500 women in order to achieve accurate results. Barry explained in Elle magazine: “My study entailed two phases. In the first phase, I conducted experiments to test women’s purchase intentions when they viewed models who had similar and dissimilar sizes, ages and races to themselves. Each woman was randomly shown two of eight possible ads where the models might have reflected some of their traits, all of their traits or none of their traits.
“To avoid biasing their opinions, I didn’t reveal the true aims of my study to them. In the second phase, I facilitated focus groups with different women to help identify reasons for particular purchase intentions. I found that Canadian and American women increased purchase intentions for fashion products advertised by models who reflected their own demographics: age, size and—for non-Caucasians—race.
“While one side of the debate over model diversity argues that curvy models should replace thin ones— assuming that one model is universally more effective than another — I find that every model type can be effective. Their effectiveness depends on whether the model shares the consumers’ traits.”
It’s fantastic to hear our own thinking reflected in this way and backed up by what appear to be solid statistics. Barry went on: “My study found that women increased their purchase intentions by more than 200 percent when the models in the mock ads were their size. In the subgroup over size 6, women increased their purchase intentions by a dramatic 300 percent when they saw curvier models. Conversely, when women saw models who didn’t reflect their size, they decreased their purchase intentions by 60 percent, and women over size 6 dropped their purchase intentions by 76 percent.
“My results weren’t limited to the issue of size. Consumers increased their purchase intentions by over 175 percent when they saw models who reflected their age; in particular, women over the age of 35 increased their purchase intentions by 200 percent when they saw older models. When models didn’t reflect their age, consumers decreased their purchase intentions by 64 percent. Furthermore, black consumers were 1.5 times more likely to purchase a product advertised by a black model.”
Models Direct is left with high hopes that the industry will continue to show an embrace of diversity in the models that they choose and look forward to further studies such as this one – which may help advertisers to understand their market better and become more effective as a result.