Document Type



Management and Marketing


“Real” advertising, or advertising products using more “realistically” sized models, has recently become a notable trend within the fashion and beauty industries. However, little research has been done thus far to reveal the implications of such advertising tactics on consumer attitudes and purchase intention. In other words, this study intends to answer the following question: is this emerging advertising strategy truly effective? The idea of featuring models with body dimensions that more accurately represent the consumer’s body size taps into the concept of self-congruity. Self-congruity, or the level of likeness between consumer self-concept and the typical brand-user image, presents the theoretical framework of this study. In other words, does “real” advertising, or using larger and thus more realistically-sized models, work most effectively when the consumer perceives likeness to the model? This study included 406 adult women between the ages of 18-79 with a mean age of 31.4 years. An online survey was used to investigate the hypotheses. Major findings of the study include evidence to support that using models that participants found to be medium-sized does not result in poor outcomes in advertising effectiveness as measured in purchase intention, brand attitude and attitude towards advertisement. Rather, advertisements featuring models perceived as medium-sized by the participants correlated with more favorable outcomes in term of attitudes toward the advertisement and brand. The results of the data analyses also suggested that self-congruity, particularly actual self-congruity and ideal self-congruity, can be useful in predicting purchase intention, attitude towards advertisement and attitude towards brand.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.