The Match-Up Hypothesis Revisited: A Social Psychological Perspective

Eser Levi, Kaan Varnali, Nurhan Babur Tosun


Drawing on the social psychology literature, two studies are presented that examine the role of self-esteem and body-esteem in driving the effect of using highly attractive female imagery in ads targeting women. In two 2 × 2 experiments, model physical attractiveness and product category are manipulated. The results indicate that (1) while highly attractive female models perform better in the ads of attractiveness-related products, moderately attractive female models work better in the ads of non-attractiveness-related products and (2) self-esteem and body esteem play a significant role on how female imagery in ads relate to advertising effectiveness. We found rather consistent yet statistically insignificant evidence for the proposition that low self- and body esteem amplifies the reversal effect predicted by the “match-up hypothesis.”


the match-up hypothesis, women, self-esteem, body esteem, advertising effectiveness

Full Text: