Sexy or smart? The impact of endorser ethnicity and portrayal on Chinese women’s attitudes toward luxury advertising

Cheng-yue YIN*, Shing Chung Patrick POON, Yang SUN, Nan BI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

Abstract

Purpose
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.

Design/methodology/approach
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.

Findings
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.

Research limitations/implications
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.

Practical implications
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.

Originality/value
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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2019

Fingerprint

Luxury
Ethnic groups
Self-esteem
Luxury goods
Experiment
Factorial design
Luxury brands
Interaction effects
Design methodology
Marketing
Interaction
Moderating effect
Multivariate analysis of variance
Consumer perceptions
Profit
Internationalization strategy
Consumer attitudes
Localization
Confounding
Factors

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by the National Social Science Fund of China (No. 14CGL072).

Keywords

  • Appearance self-esteem
  • Self-referencing

Cite this

@article{c829e5f2f5eb4c0e9b450c969b02cbaf,
title = "Sexy or smart? The impact of endorser ethnicity and portrayal on Chinese women’s attitudes toward luxury advertising",
abstract = "PurposeThe 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.Design/methodology/approachTwo 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.FindingsResults 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.Research limitations/implicationsThe 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.Practical implicationsTo 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.Originality/valueCompared 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.",
keywords = "Appearance self-esteem, Self-referencing",
author = "Cheng-yue YIN and POON, {Shing Chung Patrick} and Yang SUN and Nan BI",
note = "This study was supported by the National Social Science Fund of China (No. 14CGL072).",
year = "2019",
month = "9",
day = "11",
doi = "10.1108/APJML-12-2018-0518",
language = "English",
journal = "Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics",
issn = "1355-5855",
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T1 - Sexy or smart? The impact of endorser ethnicity and portrayal on Chinese women’s attitudes toward luxury advertising

AU - YIN, Cheng-yue

AU - POON, Shing Chung Patrick

AU - SUN, Yang

AU - BI, Nan

N1 - This study was supported by the National Social Science Fund of China (No. 14CGL072).

PY - 2019/9/11

Y1 - 2019/9/11

N2 - PurposeThe 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.Design/methodology/approachTwo 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.FindingsResults 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.Research limitations/implicationsThe 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.Practical implicationsTo 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.Originality/valueCompared 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.

AB - PurposeThe 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.Design/methodology/approachTwo 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.FindingsResults 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.Research limitations/implicationsThe 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.Practical implicationsTo 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.Originality/valueCompared 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.

KW - Appearance self-esteem

KW - Self-referencing

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U2 - 10.1108/APJML-12-2018-0518

DO - 10.1108/APJML-12-2018-0518

M3 - Journal Article (refereed)

JO - Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

JF - Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

SN - 1355-5855

ER -