Fame matters more than beauty in consumer behaviour

August 13, 2008

New research from Aston University in Birmingham, UK suggests that fame really does matter more than beauty when it comes to consumer behaviour.

A study by psychologists Dr Carl Senior and Baldeesh Gakhal found that even average looking celebrity models in advertisements produced a greater emotional response in test subjects than good-looking, but non-celebrity endorsers.

The research in turn suggests that there may be a dedicated area in the brain that has now become hard wired to produce a reaction to celebrity endorsed products.

Participants in the study were shown a series of specially constructed, hypothetical advertisements for perfume which used a series of models who were either famous or non-famous and either attractive or average looking. Their responses to the images were measured and analysed.

Carl Senior said: ‘It is well known of course that both beauty and celebrity endorsements are used by marketers to sell products. Celebrities are chosen to advertise specific products because of what we call their ESP, or Emotional Selling Proposition. However, given that most celebrities are also considered to be attractive it is not known to what extent celebrity and beauty interact to drive consumer decision-making.

‘In our study we examined a specific question regarding the relationship of fame and beauty with consumer behaviour; namely, is there a difference in the emotive nature of celebrity advertisements compared to these adverts that depict attractive models who are non-celebrities?

‘Psychophysiological data were recorded from both of the subjects’ hands while being shown these test advertisements. The aim was to measure the electroconductivity of a form of fine sweating that is automatically generated during emotive responses on our hands, a technique which is also known as the electrodermal response.

‘Although it was a relatively small scale study, and there is certainly potential for further research, the results we obtained suggest that it doesn’t matter how attractive the celebrity is or isn’t because the test subjects still exhibited a greater emotional response when looking at a celebrity than a non-celebrity.’

Source: Aston University

Explore further: Do thin models and celebrities really help sell to women?

Related Stories

Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2015

May 21, 2015

A cartwheeling spider, a bird-like dinosaur and a fish that wriggles around on the sea floor to create a circular nesting site are among the species identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) ...

'Trophy wife' stereotype is largely a myth, new study shows

June 17, 2014

Don't be so quick to judge. Most people are familiar with the "trophy wife" stereotype that attractive women marry rich men, placing little importance on their other traits, including physical appearance, and that men look ...

The Playboy centrefold at the centre of computer science

May 11, 2015

The November 1972 issue of Playboy magazine is the magazine's best selling issue of all time. This is not because of the articles, but due to the proliferation of one iconic image from the magazine: that of centrefold model ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.