The purpose of this paper is to examine the interaction effect of endorser ethnicity (local Chinese vs Western) and portrayal (smart vs sexy) on Chinese women’s attitudes toward luxury advertisements and brands, as well as any moderating effect appearance self-esteem has on the above-mentioned interaction.
Two online experiments were conducted. Study 1 was a 2×2 factorial design (with 280 participants), while Study 2 was a 2×2 ×2 factorial design (with 320 participants). Data were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) test and simple effect analysis.
Results demonstrated that Chinese female consumers are more likely to have a positive attitude toward advertisements for luxury goods and brands when a local Chinese (vs Western) endorser is used and portrayed as smart (vs sexy), particularly if consumers have low appearance self-esteem.
The research focused only on female consumers and only one product type was used for the experiments. The use of controls for potential confounding effects was insufficient in this study design.
To maximize profits, marketers should choose the most appropriate combination of endorser ethnicity and portrayal in the Chinese luxury goods market. Accordingly, if adopting a localization strategy and using a Chinese female endorser, the endorser should be portrayed as smart rather than sexy. In contrast, if a luxury brand adopts an internationalization strategy and uses the same Western female endorser as in other countries, it is more effective to portray her as sexy rather than smart. Furthermore, advertisers should pay particular attention to Chinese female consumers who have low appearance self-esteem when advertising their product and/or brand.
Compared with past studies concerned with consumers’ perceptions of endorser image in advertisements through a focus on endorser ethnicity, this study linked endorser portrayal with his/her ethnicity and discussed the interaction effects between these two factors on consumers’ attitudes toward the advertisement and the brand portrayed in the advertisement. The findings herein contribute new insights to the body of work on luxury marketing and endorser advertising.
This study was supported by the National Social Science Fund of China (No. 14CGL072).
Yin, C.-Y., Bi, N., Poon, P. and Sun, Y. (2019), "Sexy or smart? The impact of endorser ethnicity and portrayal on Chinese women’s attitudes toward luxury advertising", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 406-427. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-12-2018-0518Download as .RIS
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