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Highly Attractive Models in Advertising: What Causes Negative Affect?

Nguyen Hoang Sinh


Highly attractive models (HAMs) have been popularly used in advertising to impact psychologically on the message receiver in the hopes of increasing the advertisement’s effectiveness. The marketing literature is replete with evidence of the positive effects of using HAMs. However, support for their effectiveness is somewhat conflicted. The research attempts to add to the body of knowledge, specifically through exploring individual difference variables (model characteristics, product types, comparison motives, and culture) impact on negative affect. This study also investigates whether advertising skepticism determined by culture has an impact on negative affect as a result of a HAM comparison. The methodology uses a 3 (beauty types) x 2 (product types) x 2 (comparison motives) between-subjects experimental design. Respondents for the main study are female students across cultures from international programs and universities in Vietnam. The results supported all hypotheses; except product types shown having no impact on negative affect. The research also confirmed there are interrelationships between culture and skepticism. These findings have implications regarding the potentially negative influence of advertising including HAMs for practitioners, academics and public policy makers.


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