Perhaps the most interesting advertising studies conducted over the past several years were those by Dr. Helga Dittmar of the University of Sussex, who determined that plus-size models are actually more effective
at selling clothing than underweight models.
There were two threads on this forum about her research:
Well, now a new study has been published that arrives at exactly the same conclusion, further corroborating Dr. Dittmar's research:
Skinny models are a 'turn off' in advertising, claim scientists
It has been a golden rule of advertising from its inception - thin models sell more products to women. The only trouble is, it is not true, claims new research.
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Last Updated: 12:55PM GMT 18 Nov 2008
Researchers have found that skinny models are actually a turn off to consumers in TV commercials and other advertising.
They found that images of super-thin models carry no edge in encouraging young women to buy and for the majority of adult women ads showing skinny girls actually discouraged sales.
So-called plus-size models, on the other hand, actually encouraged them to buy.
In the study psychologist Phillippa Diedrichs, of the University of Queensland, Australia, created a series of ads for underwear, shampoo and a party dress.
Each ad was made twice, once using a skinny size eight model and another featuring a [plus-size] woman.
When the ads were shown to 400 young women, they produced no difference in the likelihood for them to buy.
However, when women aged between 18 and 25 saw the adverts they felt better - and more likely to buy - after viewing the images of the larger models.
Miss Diedrichs said: "For anything to change, research has to be convincing, not just to government and health researchers, but also to people in advertising who actually make the decisions.
"Often people make the argument that thinness sells, and that's why they use slim models.
"But we can change the images we see and still sell products but also make people feel better about themselves."...
This is VITAL information, because the excuse that the fashion industry, and the media, constantly uses to justify their fetish for anorexia-inducing, starving models is that they supposedly sell better.
But of course, that excuse is completely false.
In fact, the fashion/ad companies have never done any research, never done any comparisons. None of them have ever actually used attractive plus-size models in their ads (and that was the crucial caveat in Dittmar's research -- the plus-size models were more effective in advertising, as long as they were attractive).
But every time a researcher actually does
a comparison with plus-size vs. skinny models, it turns out that the plus-size models are better at selling products.
Ergo, the only reason underweight models are used is because of the aesthetic bias on the part of industry professionals, and not for any actual commercial reason.
Basically, they're hurting their own sales, just because of their personal prejudice.
And that's not just bad business. It's wrong.
Here's the link to the article: