Evil beauty ads
Ads featuring beauty products actually lower female consumers’ self-esteem, a study showed. Authors Debra Trampe (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), Diederik Stapel (Tilburg University), and Frans Siero (University of Groningen) exposed female study participants to either a beauty-enhancing product (eye shadow etc.) or a problem-solving product (deodorant etc.) that was either embedded in an advertisement (with a shiny background and a fake brand name) or depicted against a neutral white background.
After exposure to advertised beauty-enhancing products, consumers evaluated themselves less positively than after seeing these products sans the advertising context, said the authors. The same effect did not show up when problem-solving products were used. Ads for beauty-enhancing products seem to make consumers feel that their current attractiveness levels are different from what they would ideally be, authors said. “Consumers seem to ‘compare’ themselves to the product images in advertisements, even though the advertisement does not include a human model,” authors said. “Exposure to beauty-enhancing products in advertisements lowered consumers’ self-evaluations, in much the same way as exposure to thin and attractive models in advertisements has been found to lower self-evaluations,” the authors concluded.
The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.