Researchers from Warwick Business School found that women are turned off by products placed next to large scale or close-up images of female models and celebrities such as Miranda Kerr or Irina Shayk.
According to Dr Tamara Ansons, one of the researchers, this is because a pretty model triggers a coping mechanism in women—scorn—which helps them feel better about their own looks.
Advertising can still successfully utilize thin, attractive women but should not dominate the products being advertised.
“To successfully use idealised images in marketing communications, they should be presented subtly,” said Dr Ansons.
“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 exposure to these images of beautiful models is subtle, a subconscious automatic process of upward social comparison takes place leading to a negative self-perception. But that led to a more positive attitude towards the brand.
“Yet when the exposure to the idealised image of a woman is blatant, a conscious process is activated and consumers employ defensive coping strategies.”
So, focus on the product. Seems obvious once it’s been said, doesn’t it?