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self-discrepancies and the effect of model similarity on advertising outcomes

Self-Discrepancies and the Effect of Model Similarity on Advertising Outcomes

Todd Pezzuti, Connie Pechmann (University of California, Irvine), Dante Pirouz (University of Western Ontario)


The notion that advertisers can enhance the persuasive effect of an advertisement by featuring models that are similar to the target audience is well accepted by consumer researchers. In our research, however, we identify circumstances in which consumers respond negatively to similar models and positively to models that are less similar. The results of three experiments indicate that similar (less similar) models can be less (more) effective when advertisements create a discrepancy between how a consumer actually sees oneself and the vision of what consumers would ideally like to be. The implications of this research on marketing strategy and public policy issues are discussed.