Sometimes science can unveil new worlds we never knew existed before. Other times, it simply provides statistical proof that affirms what we already know.
In a case of the latter, a new study by the Warwick Business School finds that women are “turned off by products placed next to ‘attractive’ images of female models.” The study found that women don’t like to look at other, more-attractive women when making their shopping decisions. Instead it had a negative, sub-conscious effect on the consumers’ perception of the product. According to the researchers, blatant display of sexy models activates a coping mechanism in which the shoppers belittle the display model in their minds.
On the flip side, it turns out that using an attractive model in a more subtle manner produced a much different marketing to women effect. The example given in the article about the study is, given a magazine ad, a beautiful model appearing in the ad with the product produced a negative perception. However, if the model weren’t in the ad, but on the opposite page, then a positive connotation was produced.
So the lesson here might be that it’s okay to use attractive models in advertising, but keep them at bay.