Models Direct Review: ‘Perfect’ Models Reduce Product Sales

Models Direct review the latest piece of research to show that ‘perfect’ models can damage your sales depending on how images are used.

Model Miranda Kerr - voted 'Most Beautiful Person 2012'
Model Miranda Kerr – voted ‘Most Beautiful Person 2012’

Read this Models Direct review of the latest piece of research to show that ‘perfect’ models can damage your sales…

Yet another study into advertising has confirmed that prominent pictures of so-called ‘aspirational’ models are not the best kind to use if you hope to maximise sales of your product.

Warwick Business School researchers have discovered that women are less likely to buy a product that appears next to a close-up or large image of a very slim or ‘perfect’ model. This is due to coping mechanisms that cause them to have negative feelings towards the model, in order that they can avoid alternative feelings of inferiority.

Dr Ansons said: “We found that the way the picture of the perfectly shaped model was used was very important in determining a positive or negative effect on women’s self-perception.

“When the exposure to the idealised image of a woman is blatant, a conscious process is activated and consumers employ defensive coping strategies. For instance, they belittle the model or celebrity to restore a positive perception of themselves. So the product in the advert becomes associated with negative reactions.”

He went on: “Attractive female models and celebrities are routinely used in advertisements and yet previous research has shown mixed reactions, some have found the effect to be positive, while others have found it to be negative. We wanted to find out why this was.”

So what did this study reveal? “We found that a woman’s self-perception and consequent effects on product evaluation depend on the degree of attention paid to the idealised image of a woman in advertisements.

“When consumers are blatantly exposed to idealised images of thin and beautiful women they are more likely to use a defensive coping strategies to boost self-evaluation by denigrating the pictured woman.

“This can negatively affect the products these models endorse through the transfer of the negative evaluation of the model to the endorsed product.

“However when subtly exposed to these perfectly shaped models, consumers do not engage in defensive coping by disparaging the model. Instead it leads to negative self-evaluation but does not interfere with their evaluation of the pictured model. Thus, the generally positive evaluation of the model leads to a favourable reaction to the product she is endorsing.”

So, either way, the study suggests that images of perfection often lead the consumer to feel negative about their own image. And this result is more likely to damage sales when the use is blatant – which it is in many current advertisements.

It is for reasons like this that Models Direct promotes the use of diverse and ‘real’ models in advertising. Not only can the advertiser avoid alienating their consumers this way, they could also reduce cases of negative self-evaluation in society which – we believe – should be seen as a priority.