Though many in the fashion industry insist curves have made a comeback - swapping waifish for voluptuous models on the catwalks and crowning Christina Hendricks the modern man’s crumpet – it may be unwise for big brands to follow suit. Though Dove and Debenhams have had success using ‘real women’ in their ads, according to a new study, fuller figured models don’t encourage us to buy.
‘We found that overweight consumers demonstrated lower self-esteem, and therefore less enthusiasm about buying products, after exposure to ANY size models in ads,’ said Naomi Mandel, a marketing professor who led the study, ‘And, normal-weight consumers experienced lower self-esteem after exposure to heavy models….than after exposure to moderately thin models.’
These results tie in with a study which came out last October published in the Journal of Consumer Research that found, ‘overweight women's self-esteem always decreases, regardless of the model they look at.’ However, on the flip side, ‘Underweight women's self-esteem always increases, regardless of the model they look at’ (which contradicts the most recent poll).
So, if these studies are to be believed, you could stick Mossy or Beth Ditto in an outfit and we’d be no more or less likely to buy it. What’s the answer? Opt for a happy-medium size 10 (even though the average British figure is a 14-16)? Or, if brands want to sell, sell, sell, should they eliminate women from their ads completely?
By Amy Molloy