In an unexpected fashion - Effects of using brand-incongruent models in fashion ads
Abstract: Every day we encounter an abundance of advertising messages that condition social behaviours. Negative changes in society are often attributed to this, creating a debate about the unwanted effects of advertising. In this one prominent question is that of fashion brands not taking responsibility with regard to the physical appearance of the models they use. Companies gain much attention in media when they feature non-idealised and thus brand-incongruent models. Nevertheless, the effects of such incongruent model choices have been scarcely explored. Firstly, the intention of this thesis was to investigate how the usage of brand-incongruent models affect ad and brand attitudes. Secondly, how consumers react in terms of self-image and perceived CSR. This was tested on a well-known fashion brand through an experiment with 315 university students. The main effects of using brand-incongruent models were found to be positive. There was however a clear difference in the effects on attitudes, self-image and perceived CSR between male and female subjects. Since this study only examined a single incongruent feature and the sample was rather homogenous, further studies might be needed to fully be able to generalise the findings.
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