A recent study by Arizona State University, the University of Cologne in Germany and Erasmus University in the Netherlands shows that using plus-size models in advertising doesn't make a difference to consumers, ASU News reports.
"We found that overweight consumers demonstrated lower self-esteem - and therefore probably less enthusiasm about buying products - after exposure to any size models in ads (versus ads with no models). Also, normal-weight consumers experienced lower self-esteem after exposure to moderately heavy models, such as those in Dove soap's 'Real Women' campaign, than after exposure to moderately thin models," said Professor Naomi Mandel.
Mandel showed ads featuring a wide range of model sizes to females with a wide range of BMIs. The women with low BMIs experienced a self-esteem boost after seeing any model, while higher-BMI women experienced a self-esteem drop after seeing any model.
But the normal-BMI women were back-and-forth:
If they viewed a moderately thin model, they felt similar and good; if they saw a moderately heavy model, they worried they were similar and overweight.
And this, researchers found, impacts their willingness to buy the product in question.