How well does sex actually sell to the people who are buying the product? Recent surveys are suggesting that when it comes to fashion, women would prefer seeing average-sized models over size-zero models in fashion campaigns.
Researchers Xuemei Bian of Kent Business School and Kai-Yu Wang of Brock University in Canada conducted three studies that asked women ages 18 to 25 which size model, zero or “average,” they preferred in both established and fictitious fashion campaign ads. Researchers also gathered how the participants rated themselves in terms of self-esteem.
According to the Brock University press release, size-six models, which are considered average-sized, would do a better job of selling products to women with low self-esteem.
“We expected that when they looked at print ads for an established brand, like Gucci, we would find that our participants would prefer the skinny models over the average-sized model.
“In fact, we found that average-sized models could be used interchangeably with the size zero models with minimal impact on the evaluation of the model and the product.”
The surveyed women also said that the use of average-sized models wouldn’t matter to them when it came to well-known brands who have normally used size-zero models in the past. However, the fictitious campaigns the women were presented with, which featured average-sized models, were viewed more favorably because women had no prior knowledge of the brand, according to PsyPost. Bian explained:
“The issue of fashion industry use of skinny models is a very controversial and we have even seen France’s parliament considering a ban … Our research shows that the fashion industry has nothing to fear from using average-sized models in it marketing campaigns, and could even find that it sells more of its products by doing so.”
It seems the fashion industry should look more into what women really want to see rather than tell them how they should want to see.