<%BANNER%>

He Says, She Says

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024256/00001

Material Information

Title: He Says, She Says a Comparison of Men and Women's Perceptions of the Appeal of Female Models in Advertising
Physical Description: 1 online resource (123 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Larson, Kristin
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: advertising, beautiful, female, focus, groups, interviews, models, natural, qualitative
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Advertising thesis, M.Adv.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: HE SAYS, SHE SAYS: A COMPARISON OF MEN AND WOMEN S PERCEPTIONS OF THE APPEAL OF FEMALE MODELS IN ADVERTISING Kristin Larson 863.634.0165, klarson@ufl.edu Advertising J. Robyn Goodman Master of Advertising May 2009 This qualitative study examined the difference between male and female perceptions of two different types of female models used in advertising (Sexual/Sensual and Cute/Classic Beauty/Girl-Next-Door). The females in the study chose Model 2 (a Sexy/Sensual model) as their favorite model for use in advertising because she was seen as confident, sexy and empowering. The male participants had the most favorable response to Model 1 (also a Sexy/Sensual model) and were more excited and stimulated by her than the other models. The researcher has concluded that the males and females in the study prefer an advertising model that has a level of inspiration/aspiration for them. These males liked advertising models they aspire to date, while the women in the study preferred models they aspire to be similar to. This study contributes to advertising research by concluding that males and females may prefer female models in advertisements that inspire them. This can lead to positive purchase intention or attitude toward the brand or ad.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kristin Larson.
Thesis: Thesis (M.Adv.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Goodman, Jennifer R.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2009-11-30

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024256:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024256/00001

Material Information

Title: He Says, She Says a Comparison of Men and Women's Perceptions of the Appeal of Female Models in Advertising
Physical Description: 1 online resource (123 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Larson, Kristin
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: advertising, beautiful, female, focus, groups, interviews, models, natural, qualitative
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Advertising thesis, M.Adv.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: HE SAYS, SHE SAYS: A COMPARISON OF MEN AND WOMEN S PERCEPTIONS OF THE APPEAL OF FEMALE MODELS IN ADVERTISING Kristin Larson 863.634.0165, klarson@ufl.edu Advertising J. Robyn Goodman Master of Advertising May 2009 This qualitative study examined the difference between male and female perceptions of two different types of female models used in advertising (Sexual/Sensual and Cute/Classic Beauty/Girl-Next-Door). The females in the study chose Model 2 (a Sexy/Sensual model) as their favorite model for use in advertising because she was seen as confident, sexy and empowering. The male participants had the most favorable response to Model 1 (also a Sexy/Sensual model) and were more excited and stimulated by her than the other models. The researcher has concluded that the males and females in the study prefer an advertising model that has a level of inspiration/aspiration for them. These males liked advertising models they aspire to date, while the women in the study preferred models they aspire to be similar to. This study contributes to advertising research by concluding that males and females may prefer female models in advertisements that inspire them. This can lead to positive purchase intention or attitude toward the brand or ad.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kristin Larson.
Thesis: Thesis (M.Adv.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Goodman, Jennifer R.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2009-11-30

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024256:00001


This item has the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 1

1 HE SAYS, SHE SAYS: A COMPARISON OF MEN AND WOMENS PERCEPTIONS OF THE APPEAL OF FEMALE MODELS IN ADVERTISING By KRISTIN ANNETTE LARSON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULF ILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ADVERTISING UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009

PAGE 2

2 2009 Kristin Annette Larson

PAGE 3

3 To my parents and grandparents for their unending love, support and enthusiasm for my continued education

PAGE 4

4 ACKNOWLEDG MENTS There are many people I want to thank for their help and support throughout graduate school and the completion of this thesis. I would first like to thank my thesis committee, Dr. J. Robyn Goodman, Dr. Debbie Tre ise and Dr. Lisa Duke Cornell, for their guidance throughout this process. With your help, I have completed something I never thought I would do (write a thesis!) and it is something I am truly proud of. I am blessed with a huge support system of family a nd friends. I thank my parents Karen Larson and John Larson, for believing in me and encouraging me during all the activities and endeavors I have taken on over the years. Their love and guidance have meant so much to me. I thank my grandparents Sonny and Betty Williamson and Red and Reda Larson, for urging me to continue my education and supporting me in every way. I also thank them for the role models they have been to me and countless others. Thanks go out to my brother John Louis, for his tolerance o n my most stressful of d ays (I know I am not always easy to live with! ). I a m thankful for the friendship we have. I thank Lesley and Lindsey, who are always ready with a pep talk when I need one, a heart to -heart when necessary, and a lot of laughter at a ny give n moment. I also thank Alex, who has been my biggest cheerleader throughout this process. I thank him for listening to me, loving me, and believing in me. Finally, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior for all of these blessings. Although at time s I have taken it for granted, I am thankful for the opportunity to freely learn, study and grow as a student and as a person. To Him I owe it all.

PAGE 5

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDG MENTS .................................................................................................................... 4 ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................................... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 10 Need for Study............................................................................................................................. 11 Purpose and Objectives ............................................................................................................... 13 Research Questions ..................................................................................................................... 13 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ..................................................................................................... 15 Beauty and Sex as Weapons of Persuasion ............................................................................... 15 Beautiful Models in Advertising ................................................................................................ 16 The Debate on the Use of Highly Attractive Models ........................................................ 16 Different Beauty Types ....................................................................................................... 19 Sex Appeals ................................................................................................................................. 21 The Use of Sex Appeals in Advertising ............................................................................. 21 The Effectiveness of Sex Appeals: Does Sex Really Sell? ............................................... 22 Gendered Body Type Preferences, Societal Ideals and the Implications of Sexual Appeals on Body Image .......................................................................................................... 24 Summary ...................................................................................................................................... 26 Critique of Literatur e .................................................................................................................. 27 What This Study Will Contribute ............................................................................................... 27 Theoretical Framework ............................................................................................................... 28 3 METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................................... 30 Development of Research Design and Methods Used .............................................................. 30 Selection of Participants ...................................................................................................... 32 Recruitment of Participants ................................................................................................. 32 Focus Groups ............................................................................................................................... 33 Research Design .................................................................................................................. 34 Selection of participants ............................................................................................... 34 Size of groups ............................................................................................................... 35 Number of groups ......................................................................................................... 36 Level of structure in the groups ................................................................................... 36 Interview Content and the Moderators Guide .................................................................. 37 Modera tors introductory remarks .............................................................................. 39 Pretesting the moderators guide ................................................................................. 40 Conducting the Focus Groups ............................................................................................. 41 In Depth Interviews .................................................................................................................... 43

PAGE 6

6 Research Design .................................................................................................................. 44 Number of interviews ................................................................................................... 44 Level of structure in interviews ................................................................................... 44 Interview Content ................................................................................................................ 45 Conducting the Interviews .................................................................................................. 45 Data Analysis ............................................................................................................................... 46 4 FINDINGS ................................................................................................................................... 50 Demographic Sketch of Participants .......................................................................................... 50 Participants Responses and Resulting Categories ................................................................... 52 Celebrities and Women in the Public Eye and Media ....................................................... 52 Responses to Model 1 .......................................................................................................... 56 Resulting categories ..................................................................................................... 57 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 62 Responses to Model 2 .......................................................................................................... 63 Resulting categories ..................................................................................................... 64 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 68 Responses to Model 3 .......................................................................................................... 69 Resulting categories ..................................................................................................... 70 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 74 Responses to Model 4 .......................................................................................................... 75 Resulting categories ..................................................................................................... 76 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 80 Recognizing Differences between the Two Types of Models .......................................... 80 Favorite and Least -Favorite Models .......................................................................................... 81 Favorite Mod el ..................................................................................................................... 81 Least -Favorite Model .......................................................................................................... 84 Summary ...................................................................................................................................... 85 Summary of Responses to Models ..................................................................................... 85 Comparing the Male and Female Participants Responses ............................................... 86 5 DISCUSSION .............................................................................................................................. 89 Proposed Theories ....................................................................................................................... 89 Findings in Relation to Body of Literature and Theoretical Framework ................................ 94 Practical Impli cations for Marketing and Advertising Professionals .................................... 103 Limitations ................................................................................................................................. 105 Future Research ......................................................................................................................... 106 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 107 APPENDIX A SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE .......................................................................................... 109 B PARTICIPANT DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE ....................................................... 111

PAGE 7

7 C MODERATORS GUIDE ........................................................................................................ 114 D PARTICIPANT DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION ........................................................... 117 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................................................................................................. 119 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................................................................................... 123

PAGE 8

8 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Advertising HE SAYS, SHE SAYS: A COMPARISON OF MEN AND WOMENS PERCEPTIONS OF THE APPEAL OF FEMALE MODELS IN ADVERTISING By Kristin Annette Larson May 2009 Chair: J. Robyn Goodman Major: Adver tising The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain a deeper understanding of the difference between male and female perceptions of two different types of female models used in advertising. The objective was to understand how the males and females in the study perceived female models in order to help explain why they may feel the way they do about a brand or advertisement. The researcher used a qualitative triangulation of methods (focus groups, in-depth interviews, and body language and observations) to collect the data. The participants were Caucasian, between the ages of 18 and 24, had lived in the United States for 15 years or more, and were undergraduate college students at a large public university. Overall, the female participants recognized that Models 3 and 4, the Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next -Door (CCG) models, were easier to relate with, were more natural, and seemed more similar to themselves than Models 1 and 2, the Sexy/Sensual (SS) models. The females tended to say mostly positive thin gs about the CCG models, but as a whole chose Model 2 as their favorite model for use in advertising.

PAGE 9

9 The male participants overall found that Models 1 and 2 (the SS models) were more attractive and sexually appealing, while Models 3 and 4 (the CCG models) were more approachable, natural, and seemed to have better personalities than Models 1 and 2. The males tended to say mostly positive things about the CCG models, but found them mundane in the context of an advertisement and did not think they were sexual ly attractive. Overall, however, the male participants seemed to have the most favorable response to Model 1 and were more excited and stimulated by her than the other models. Key ideas that were repeated throughout the study were that the females called M odels 1 and 2 aspirational, while Models 3 and 4 were relatable; the male participants said Models 1 and 2 were out of their league, while Models 3 and 4 were approachable. The researcher has completed the present study with a conclusion that the ma les and females in the study prefer an advertising model that inspires them in one way or another; the males preferred to see a model they aspire to date, while the females preferred a model that they aspired to be similar to. That said, the participants a lso explained that the effectiveness of a female advertising model also depends on the product she represents and individual viewers personal tastes and preferences. The researcher has found that in the case of these males, sex appeals effectively caught and held attention, while the use of blatant sex appeals using female models were not effective for the women in the study. The researcher feels that the present study has effectively added to the ongoing discussion on whether sex and beauty actually sell by concluding that for these participants, sex and beauty attract and catch attention.

PAGE 10

10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Beauty is a valuable quality in American society. It is often associated with socially desirable traits, including power, love and a contented soc ial and occupational life (Dion, Berscheid, & Walster, 1972). These assumed traits can transfer onto attractive communication sources, including advertising models (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). Therefore, the physical attractiveness of a spokesperson is an imp ortant aspect of advertising effectiveness. Beautiful spokesmodels have been linked with the ability to effectively persuade consumers, positively influence purchase decisions, and can create a higher level of advertiser believability (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). Beautiful women have also been used to attract attention to brands and advertisements because attractive spokesmodels have been found to be more likeable, are described in more positive terms, and have a positive impact on the products they are associ ated with (Joseph, 1982). This reflects the long-held belief that beauty and sex sell. However, beauty and sex are not interchangeable descriptions for advertising models. There is a presumed difference between a simply beautiful model and a provocative m odel; that is, what is seen as beautiful may not also be provocative in nature (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). It is also difficult to nail down what constitutes a beautiful model and a provocative model. For many years, researchers have attempted to classif y models into categories to better explain the difference between types of beautiful models and the beauty they hold (e.g., Baker & Churchill, 1977; Solomon, Ashmore, & Longo, 1992; Bower & Landreth, 2001; Goodman, Morris, & Sutherland, 2008). While some s tudies have found that highly attractive or sexy models have been more successful (e.g. Baker & Churchill, 1977; Patzer 1983), other studies have found that more normally attractive female models are more effective (e.g. Bower, 2001; Bower & Landreth, 2001; Christy, 2006; Tsai & Chang, 2007; Goodman et al., 2008).

PAGE 11

11 However, beauty is subjective; what is thought of as unattractive to one person may be beautiful to another. To capitalize on this belief, some recent advertising campaigns have begun to use more naturally beautiful or normally attractive women in hopes of speaking to women who can relate and identify with such models (Lippert, 2006; Hosea, 2008). For instance, skin and beauty care brand Dove and its Campaign for Real Beauty have made a point no t to use stereotypical models in advertisements, but rather smiling, curvy real women (Lippert, 2006; Hosea, 2008). As a result, Doves sales have been steadily upward since the campaigns launch in 2004, and parent brand Unilever saw a 6.7% growth in sa les in the last year alone (Hosea, 2008). The real women in these ads are thought to appeal to women because viewers enjoy seeing someone like them on the glossy pages of a magazine or in a television commercial. As Alessandro Manfredi, global brand dire ctor for Dove explains, Dove only uses real women. It has to feel true and make women feel good about themselves (Hosea, 2008). These ads have sparked a renewed interest in a long -time controversy: what kind of model really works best in a given situation? This study seeks to find an answer to this commonly asked question; at the very least, this study will come closer to a definitive set of guidelines for choosing advertising models for ads directed toward women. The study aims to go one step further, h owever, and examine what kinds of models appeal most to men as well. Responses between the genders will be compared and contrasted in an attempt to explain how advertisers can more effectively choose models to target men and women. Need for Study Past stud ies have generally attempted to explain how female models are perceived by examining responses from only one gender (e.g. Bower, 2001; Reichert & Fosu, 2005; Christy, 2006; Goodman et al., 2008). There have been few studies in which both male and female

PAGE 12

12 pa rticipants were used in order to compare the genders perceptions of female models (e.g. Peterson & Kerin, 1977; Tsai & Chang, 2007; Parker & Furnham, 2007; Sengupta & Dahl, 2008); even so, the known studies that have compared men and womens responses have not examined the preference of one type of model over another qualitatively to explore underlying attitudes, as is the case in the current study. In terms of types of models that men and women prefer, studies have found that sex appeals (therefore, sexy/ provocative models) are often used to target men and are usually successful ( Reichert & Lambiase, 2003; Monk Turner, Wren, McGill, Mattiae, Brown, & Brooks, 2008) while women usually do not prefer sex appeals (or sexy/provocative models) unless sex is rele vant to the product or situation ( Parker & Furnham, 2007; Sengupta & Dahl, 2008). Because female models are used to sell many different products to both men and women, it is important to establish how males and females are similar and dissimilar in their p erception of models so that advertisers can make appropriate decisions when positioning advertising to either women or men, or to both women and men. In addition, there is a lack of qualitative research in the area of preferred beauty types. There are man y quantitative studies (e.g. Baker & Churchill, 1977; Patzer, 1983; Richins, 1991; Bower, 2001; Bower & Landreth, 2001; Tsai & Chang, 2007; Goodman et al., 2008) that identify general responses of men or women to female models, but this research does not e xplain the underlying processes or motives, or even how men and women make sense of beautiful models that lead to their perception of said models. Qualitative research is desirable in this area of because it will help explain primary reasons that certain m odels appeal to specific consumers. It is important to try to understand participants thoughtful processes and how participants believe they feel about this topic of interest. Therefore, this study will fill a void in current research that does not answer the specific ways in which the sexes perceive advertising models.

PAGE 13

13 Purpose and Objectives The purpose of this qualitative study is to gain a deeper understanding of the difference between the male and female perceptions represented in the study of two diff erent types of female models used in advertising. The two types of models used in this study reflect the two types identified by Goodman et al. (2008), which are Sexy/Sensual and Cute/Classic Beauty/Girl -Next Door. The comparison of men and womens percept ions of female models will be generally defined as assessing similarities and differences between the men and women in the study in terms of perceived appeal, or likability, of female models based on the models physical characteristics. For the purpose of this study, the researcher has defined appeal as the power to produce an approving response (Appeal, 2009). Appeal is used as a synonym for attractive, which is defined as something that arouses interest or pleasure (Attractive, 2009). Essential ly, the researcher seeks to understand the extent to which a model is found to be pleasing, likeable or attractive by the observer, who uses only the models physical traits to determine the level thereof. The hope of the researcher is to effectively expla in why and how the men and women in the study classify and perceive the appeal of a model when viewing her, including the participants personal thoughts, anecdotes, descriptive titles of models and overall attitude toward the models. The objective is to u nderstand how males and females perceive female models in order to explain attitude toward the advertisement. The models will be presented alone, without a specific product or brand, so that the participants may focus only on the model herself. Research Q uestions The analysis and understanding of relevant previously conducted research brought about several research questions to be answered by the present study. This study is concerned with

PAGE 14

14 distinguishing the difference between men and womens perceived lik eability, or appeal, of female models in advertising. As such, the research questions are as follows: I. How do Sexual/Sensual (SS) models and Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next -Door (CCG) models appeal to men and women? II. What model characteristics appeal to men? III. What model characteristics appeal to women? IV Are certain models more appealing to men and/or women both in an advertising context and out of an advertising context, or are certain models only appealing when in an advertisement or out of an advertisement? Th e present study seeks to answer these research questions by conducting a triangulation of qualitative research, including focus groups, in-depth interviews, and examining nonverbal behavior as demonstrated by the participants. The following pages explain in detail the research and subsequent data of the present study. Chapter 2 details the relevant body of literature and theoretical context for the current study. Chapter 3 provides explanation of the chosen research design and describes the execution of th e methodology and analysis applied during the research portion of the study. Chapter 4 outlines the studys findings by organizing participants responses into themes, ending with proposed theories. Finally, Chapter 5 discusses the outcome of the study, pr actical implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research.

PAGE 15

15 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE The purpose of the literature review is to examine the body of previous research in order to explain how the present study fits into the existing research. To start, beauty and attractiveness are often leveraged sources of brand and advertisement believability, and an attractive source can positively influence purchase decision (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). Since beauty, attractiveness and sex have ofte n been used in advertisements based on the belief that these tactics sell products, the effectiveness of using beautiful models and sex appeals in advertising has been discussed. Moreover, a discussion of societys changing beauty ideals and preferences is presented in order to examine how advertising may affect body image. The chapter concludes with a critique of the literature, as well as an explanation of what the present study will contribute to the body of knowledge. Beauty and Sex as Weapons of Persua sion Because this study focuses on the physical appearance of female models in advertising, it is important to understand why physical attractiveness of a communication source is an important aspect in advertising effectiveness. Typically, two factors -physical attractiveness and likability -play a role in how well a model or spokesperson can evoke positive affective reactions in the consumer (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). As Bower and Landreth (2001) explain, highly attractive models are often associated with the what is beautiful is good stereotype. In general, beautiful people are perceived to have more socially desirable traits, such as a prestigious job, a happy family and marriage, and a more content social and occupational life (Walster, Aronson, Abrah ams, & Rottman, 1966; Dion et al., 1972; Kanner, 1994). In addition, beautiful people and advertising spokespersons are believed to be free from the problems of normal people, an advantage over averagely attractive communication sources who are

PAGE 16

16 perceived as normal people who endure everyday dilemmas (Dion et al., 1972; Kanner, 1994). Furthermore, beautiful advertising spokesmodels have been linked to the ability to effectively persuade consumers, influence purchase decisions, and create a higher level of advertiser believability (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). Advertisers have also used beautiful women to attract attention to their brands and advertisements because attractive (versus unattractive) communicators are found to be better liked, are perceived in more positive terms, and have a positive impact on the products they are associated with (Joseph, 1982). This reflects the longheld belief by advertisers and society alike that beauty and sex sell. However, beauty and sex are not interchangeable descriptions for advertising models. Like beauty, sex has been found to be an effective persuasion tool in certain scenarios, and as a communication method, it appears in two major forms: sexual suggestiveness and nudity (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). Sexual suggestiveness generally involves the body position, facial expressions, or clothing of a model, all of which are sexually permissive and seductive, whereas nudity involves little or no clothing on the model. Whether or not sex truly does sell, however, has been debated by many and will be discussed at length later in the review. Beautiful Models in Advertising Because of their persuasive nature, beautiful and attractive models are frequently used in advertisements. However, the effectiveness of using highly attractive m odels (HAMs) in advertising has been questioned and thus debated in several studies (e.g., Baker & Churchill, 1977; Patzer, 1983; Richins, 1991; Bower, 2001; Bower & Landreth, 2001; Christy, 2006; Tsai & Chang, 2007; Goodman et al., 2008) The Debate on th e Use of Highly Attractive Models Baker and Churchill (1977) found that using attractive models had a positive effect on affective evaluations of the ad but had varied effects on purchase intentions. The study

PAGE 17

17 concluded that when a product is related to ro mance, such as perfume, men had higher purchase intentions when the female model was attractive; however, when the product is unrelated to romance, such as coffee, men showed higher purchase intention if the female model was less attractive (Baker & Church ill, 1977). Patzer (1983) found that highly attractive models can have a positive effect on attitude toward the ad, including attitude toward brands, and can positively effect consumers ultimate purchase decisions. The study discovered relationships betwe en an advertising communicators physical attractiveness and perceived expertise and overall liking for the communicator (Patzer, 1983). However, while beautiful models may be assessed as more likeable or as having more expertise, normally attractive models are usually seen as more trustworthy than HAMs because normally attractive models are perceived as more similar to the audience, thus connecting with real women (Deshpande & Stayman, 1994). Similarly, Bower (2001) and Christy (2006) found that HAMs in advertising are not positively related to womens purchase decisions. Bower (2001) conducted an experiment showing an advertisement containing a highly attractive model to women. The results stated that when adequate negative affect is produced as a conse quence of comparison with highly beautiful models, assessment of both the model as a spokesperson and the product itself might be harmfully affected because of model derogation (Bower, 2001). In other words, sometimes the use of a highly attractive model m akes female viewers feel badly about themselves, thus creating dislike for both the model and product. Likewise, Christy (2006) examined how advertising can appear offensive to female consumers and adversely affect their purchase decision. In -depth intervi ews with female participants revealed that female consumers are most offended by advertising that they view as forced exposure to harmful influences on female identities, behaviors, or the perceived social order (Christy, 2006). Therefore, HAMs may

PAGE 18

18 be more effective when used for attractiveness or romancerelated products but are not always the most effective way to sell all products. Futhermore, Tsai and Chang (2007) found that normally or averagely attractive models are considerably more effective than h ighly attractive models for both male and female adolescents. In a series of experiments, males and females ages 18 and 19 were shown two mock advertisements containing a highly attractive model and a normally attractive model. Both genders showed a more positive attitude toward the fictitious brand that the normally attractive model advertised, and also showed more positive purchase intentions (Tsai & Chang, 2007). Although adolescents (ages 18 and 19) were used, the Tsai and Chang study may provide a corr elation that the present study can draw similarities from, because it will use young adult participants (ages 18 to 24). However, some studies have not been able to detect an effect based on a high level of attractiveness of an advertising model. Cabeller o and Solomon (1984) used less, moderately, and highly attractive models for in -store displays for both beer and facial tissues. The beer sales were not affected by the attractiveness of the spokesmodel, whereas facial tissue sales actually increased when advertised by the less attractive spokesmodel (Cabellero & Solomon, 1984). Similarly, in a study by Caballero, Lumpkin, and Madden (1989), grocery shoppers were shown videotapes of less, moderately, and highly attractive models in the context of television advertisements for a soft drink and cheese. The study found that the level of attractiveness possessed by the advertising model did not affect purchase intension of either product (Caballero et al., 1989). There have been contradictory results from past studies that have sought to understand if highly attractive models are more effective than normally attractive models. Although the use of

PAGE 19

19 highly attractive models is believed to be more effective (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007), there have been many inconsistenc ies in the existing literature. Different Beauty Types Besides looking at the effect of models attractiveness on products and advertisements, some researchers have looked at how the match up effect between models beauty types and products in advertising influence ad appeal and purchase intention (e.g., Baker & Churchill, 1977; Solomon et al., 1992; Bower & Landreth, 2001). The Beauty Match -Up Hypothesis, as defined by Solomon et al. (1992), states perceivers distinguish multiple types of good looks, and that in advertising, certain beauty ideals are more appropriately paired with specific products than with others ( p. 23) T hus, when a match up exists between a model and product, the advertising is more effective. Solomon et al. (1992) conducted a stu dy to determine the correspondence between types of beauty used in advertising and the products they represent. Data was collected from a sample of 18 female fashion editors, who sorted 96 images of models into categories according to appearance (Solomon e t al., 1992). The results determined that there are multiple types of highly attractive models (HAMs) that may be suitably matched to communicate certain brand images. The six types of beauty that Solomon et al. (1992) distinguished are Classic Beauty/Femi nine, Sensual/Exotic, Cute, Girl Next Door, Sex Kitten, and Trendy1. These beauty types were then differentially linked with a set of perfumes, magazines, and other products representing varied advertising images (Solomon et al., 1992). For instance, Chane l fragrance had a strong a positive match up with the Classic Beauty 1 Classic Beauty: perfect physical features, symmetric facial features; Feminine: soft, romantic look, symmetric facial features; Sensual and Sex Kitten: sexual looks with the latter more overt and youthful and the former more classy and understated, for Sensual also will have symmetric facial features; Cute: child like/youthful physical features or attire; GirlNext Door: natural, not made up appearance, simple attire, and athletic looking; Exotic: ethnic looking, symmetric facial features; Trendy: offbeat look, perhaps flawed or asymmetrical in contrast to the classic beauty, also can appear ethnic with provocative attire or pose (Solomon e t al., 1992).

PAGE 20

20 type, whereas White Linen fragrance had a strong positive match up with the Girl Next Door type (Solomon et al., 1992). Other studies have found that an overall match -up between the model and the product also helps increase believability and likeability of the model and product and can possibly even positively affect purchase decision (e.g., Baker & Churchill, 1977; Bower & Landreth, 2001). Bower and Landreth (2001) found that with attrac tiveness relevant products (cosmetics, skin care products, and so forth), highly attractive models are often-but not always -the most effective choice (Bower & Landreth, 2001). The results suggest a match between a model and a product improves an ads e ffectiveness by enhancing perceptions of the models expertise about the product (Bower & Landreth, 2001). Therefore, consumers draw inferences from an ads spokesmodel based on how highly attractive they are. For example, highly attractive models are assu med to know more about products that enhance beauty, such as lipstick, because of the attributions consumers have about beautiful people, whereas normally attractive models are assumed to be more knowledgeable about problem -solving products, such as acne t reatment, since consumers assume it is more likely they have dealt with acne as compared to a highly attractive model (Bower & Landreth, 2001). A study by Goodman et al. (2008) explored women's emotional responses to the six different beauty types as defi ned by Solomon et al. (1992). They discovered that the initial six beauty types were not sustained; instead, they combined into two independent dimensions: Sexual/Sensual (SS) and Classic Beauty /Cute/Girl Next Door (CCG) (Goodman et al., 2008) By testing emotional reactions to models with varying levels of SS and CCG, models with higher degrees of CCG were found to produce considerabl y greater pleasure, arousal, and dominance (Goodman et al., 2008) In other words, it can be concluded that those models seen as Classic

PAGE 21

21 Beauty/Cute/Girl Next -Door were overall more likeable than the models viewed as Sexual/Sensual. Goodman et al.s two in dependent dimensions will be used as the model types in the present study. Sex Appeals Related to the idea that beauty sells is the impression that sex sells, too. The use of sex appeals, including how they are used, what products they attempt to sell, wh o they target, and how often they occur, is explained at length below. The Use of Sex Appeals in Advertising Sex appeals are widely and increasingly used, as determined by a content analysis by Reichert and Carpenter (2004), which examined ads in Cosmopol itan, Redbook, Esquire, Playboy, Newsweek, and Time The study found overall increases in sexual dress and intimate contact in magazine advertisements from 1983 to 2003; for example, nearly half (49%) of female models were explicitly clothed in 2003, where as 40% were sexually attired in 1993, a 9% increase in just 10 years (Reichert & Carpenter, 2004). In addition, 78% of women in advertisements in mens magazines ( Esquire and Playboy ) were dressed sexually in 2003, versus 53% in 1993 and just 29% in 1983 ( Reichert & Carpenter, 2004). Sex appeals are not used solely for mature audiences, however. In a content analysis conducted by Reichert (2003), ads targeted to young adults, ages 20 to 29, were found to be 65% more likely to contain provocatively dressed models and 128% more likely to contain sexual behavior than those for mature adults. Therefore, the findings suggest that advertisers use sexual imagery to appeal to young adult audiences (Reichert, 2003). This study may shed light on the intensity of sex appeals aimed at participants in the present study (ages 18 24). Two studies further found that sex appeals are more often used to target male consumers than female consumers ( Reichert & Lambiase, 2003; Monk Turner et al., 2008). Monk Turner et

PAGE 22

22 al. (2008) conducted a content analysis of magazine advertisements to examine the portrayal of male and female advertising characters to determine whether a sex appeal was used to sell a product. It was found that most of the advertisements did not use a sex appeal but when sex was used, it was more likely to appear in an ad aimed at a male audience, and the sexually objectified characters were likely to be females alone or coupled with a male (Monk Tuner et al., 2008). Similarly, another content analysis of magazi ne ads in Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Esquire and Details revealed that sex appeals are used to persuade both women and men, although a higher proportion of sexual ads appear in men's magazines (12%) compared to women's magazines (6%) (Reichert & Lambiase, 2003). Important to note is that a variety of sex appeals are used and directed toward women, such as attractiveness, behavior, and esteem, whereas most appeals directed toward men emphasize more and better sex (Reichert & Lambiase, 2003). In addition, male -o nly sexual images are relatively nonexistent in sexual ads compared to femaleonly images (45%) and couple images (47%) (Reichert & Lambiase, 2003). The Effectiveness of Sex Appeals: Does Sex Really Sell? In order to determine whether an advertisement posi tively influences purchase decision, an ad must be effective in terms of recall, likability, clarity and relevance to the consumer, among other things (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). Therefore, the studies mentioned below have examined the effectiveness of sex a ppeals in advertising to find if there is truth to the claim that sex does, indeed, sell the intended product. Males and females typically recall and react to sex appeals differently (Parker & Furnham, 2007; Sengupta & Dahl, 2008). A study by Parker & Furnham (2007) looked at the recall of sexual and non -sexual TV advertisements embedded within programs, with or without sexual content. The results indicated that male participants better recalled sexual advertisements

PAGE 23

23 regardless of the TV programs content, while females recalled non -sexual advertisements more accurately (Parker and Furnham, 2007). Likewise, Sengupta and Dahl (2008) investigated differences and similarities between men and women in their spontaneous reactions to unwarranted sexual appeals in advertising. The participants were given a booklet of advertisements and were told the study involved the recall and memorization of advertising content; there was no mention of sex appeals or sexually suggestive advertisements (Sengupta & Dahl, 2008). The researchers explained that although earlier research suggested that both males and females would react negatively to such ads because of perceptions of unethicality and manipulativeness, men on average actually exhibited a more positive attitudinal respo nse to gratuitous sex appeals than women (Sengupta & Dahl, 2008). Furthermore, women with more liberal attitudes to sex reacted in a manner very similar to men; specifically, these women reported a stronger liking for a sexual ad than a nonsexual ad (Sengu pta & Dahl, 2008). These findings are similar to a study by Reichert and Fosu (2005), which examined women's reactions to sex appeals by testing their responses to a sexual commercial, then examining the relationship between women's sexual schemas with their responses. In the study, sexual schemas were defined as people's cognitive views of themselves that predict approach or avoidance to sexual behavior and information (Reichert & Fosu, 2005). The results suggested that women who have more positive sexual self -schemas -that is, their schemas predicted more approach than avoidance to sexual conduct -were found to have more positive attitudes toward the ad and brand interest for the sexual ad; however, purchase intention was not affected (Reichert & Fosu, 2005). Therefore, gender is not the only thing affecting reaction to a sex appeal: sexual involvement and openness can affect the reaction to a sex appeal as well.

PAGE 24

24 In addition, the reactions to sex appeals vary according to the level of relevance the product has to a sex appeal. Peterson and Kerin (1977) found that an advertisement for a body oil (a product relevant to sex) containing a seductively dressed female model was far more appealing to both men and women versus an ad containing a nude female model that was for a ratchet set (an irrelevant product to sex). Therefore, the effectiveness of a sex appeal in advertising is considerably influenced by its appropriateness (Peterson & Kerin, 1977) and thus the given product or brand should be taken into cons ideration. Gendered Body Type Preferences, Societal Ideals and the Implications of Sexual Appeals on Body Image Besides studies exploring the effect of sex appeals on consumers, numerous studies have looked at beauty effects on consumers by exploring the role of thin beauty ideals on men and womens perceptions (e.g., Garner, Garfinkel, Schwartz & Thompson, 1980; Wiseman, Gray, Mosimann, & Ahrens, 1992; Mathes & Kahn, 1975; Richins, 1991; Martin & Kennedy, 1993; Lavine, Sweeney & Wagner, 1999; Bower, 2001) It is important to understand how societys preferences have changed because this may help explain some responses from participants in the present study. First, there are several studies that have established that the current mediated beauty ideal is muc h thinner than it was decades ago. For example, Garner et al. (1980) found changes in measurements from 1960 to 1980 in Miss America pageant contestants and Playboy magazine centerfolds, which are both sources for beauty ideals in the U.S. The contestants and centerfolds were found to have decreasing size measurements during the 20 -year period, which points to a trend toward a thinner standard (Garner et al., 1980). Since consumers learn what is socially acceptable and desirable from sources such as the me dia (Bandura, 1994), this may provide a

PAGE 25

25 reason why some consumers prefer to see a smaller, thinner female model if they prefer her to a more normally sized model. For decades, advertising has been criticized for its allegedly detrimental effects on its vi ewers, specifically women and their body images and self -esteem. Richins (1991) and Bower (2001) found that some females experience a negative affect by comparing themselves with attractive models. According to Bower, this negative influence can come from the decrease in positive self image that results when consumers compare themselves to highly attractive models (2001). This may help explain the choices of favorite and least -favorite models by participants in the present study, specifically females who ma y feel a sense of inadequacy when viewing highly attractive models. Similarly, sexual -natured and sexist advertising has been studied in terms of how it affects dissatisfaction with the viewers body image. Lavine et al. (1999) discovered that women who w ere exposed to television advertisements that depict women as sex objects judged their current body size as larger than reality and revealed a larger discrepancy between their actual and ideal body sizes than women who were exposed to ads that did not pres ent women as sex objects or who were not exposed to ads at all (Lavine et al., 1999). Conversely, men who viewed the sexist ads judged their own bodies as thinner than reality and preferred a larger body for themselves (Lavine et al., 1999). Therefore, bot h female and male participants in the current study may feel insufficient when seeing sexy models, and thus may prefer more normally posed and less overtly sexual models. In two exploratory studies, Richins (1991) revealed that among female college studen ts, idealized advertising images elevate comparison standards for attractiveness while lowering satisfaction with an individual's own attractiveness. Somewhat similarly, Martin & Kennedy

PAGE 26

26 (1993) tested the effect of advertising beauty images on female fourt h, eighth and twelfth graders and found that exposure to advertising including highly attractive models raises comparison standards for physical attractiveness but does not affect self -perceptions of physical attractiveness. The inclination of female pread olescents and adolescents to compare themselves to models increases with age and is more prevalent in those with lower self perceptions of physical attractiveness or self -esteem (Martin & Kennedy, 1993). Thus, the use of highly attractive models in advertising can be particularly harmful to those who have low self -esteem or low perceptions of their own physical attractiveness. Therefore, if participants in the present study already experience low self -esteem or the like, they may feel especially inadequate when viewing the Sexy/Sensual models and may thus prefer the Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next Door models instead. Obviously, a participants self -esteem cannot be assessed unless he or she explicitly discusses his/her own esteem or body image. Summary Beauty is a commonly used persuasion tool in advertisements and can be linked to higher believability and likeability and can positively affect purchase decisions (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). The use of highly attractive models in advertising has been debated in se veral studies (e.g., Baker & Churchill, 1977; Patzer, 1983; Richins, 1991; Bower, 2001; Christy, 2006; Tsai & Chang, 2007; Goodman et al., 2008); however, whether using a highly attractive model is more advantageous over using a normally attractive model i s still unresolved. An advertising models effectiveness is also affected by the matchup effect between models and products in advertising. This match up effect has also been examined to explain how some models may be more effective than others in certa in situations (e.g., Baker & Churchill, 1977; Solomon et al., 1992; Bower & Landreth, 2001).

PAGE 27

27 In addition, societys gendered body type preferences and changing ideals have been studied and have revealed a trend toward a thinner body standard (e.g., Garner et al.,1980; Wiseman et al., 1992; Rand & Wright, 2001). Studies have also examined advertisings effects on body image of the observer (e.g., Mathes & Kahn, 1975; Richins, 1991; Martin & Kennedy, 1993; Lavine et al., 1999; Bower, 2001). In conclusion, t he appeal and use of different types of models has been debated and studied, contradicted or upheld, by the studies explained above. Overall, there is no absolute answer to the kind of model that is most effective in a given situation since so much depends on the model individually, the brand or product she advertises, the context of the advertisement, and the viewers own beliefs and opinions about what an attractive, catchy or likeable model entails. Critique of Literature The body of literature that wa s analyzed and reviewed reveals a void in the area of qualitative research in the realm of the appeal and likability of models in advertising. The overall criticism of the literature is that there have not been many studies that use qualitative measures to understand womens (or both men and womens) perceptions toward models, and there have been no qualitative studies that compare the different genders feelings toward Sexy/Sensual model types versus Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next Door model types in advert ising. Qualitative research will serve to augment the findings of previous quantitative studies in order to present a more well rounded and fuller explanation for the types of female models that men and women prefer to see in advertisements. What This Stu dy Will Contribute This study will contribute to the modest existing qualitative research on how female models in advertising appeal to males and females. The present study will use the two different types of female models (Sexual/Sensual and Classic Beaut y/Cute/Girl Next -Door) that were

PAGE 28

28 distinguished by Goodman et al. (2008) in order to better explain how the men and women in the study differ or agree on the use of certain female model types. This study seeks to come a step closer to understanding how the sexes differ in their perception, and what those points of differentiation are. It is central to understand the ways in which males and females classify models, and which type of model appeals more to each gender, because the appearance of an advertisemen ts spokesperson does influence likability of the ad and brand and has the ability to influence purchase decision (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). This is important to advertisers and those creating advertising because it is critical to understand what consumers like, remember, and connect with. Theoretical Framework The purpose of qualitative research is to develop theory rather than test theory. However, Social Comparison Theory helps support this study because it helps explain the way consumers compare themsel ves with models, a common finding in previous research, which may lead to the liking of and reaction to models in advertising. Social Comparison Theory suggests that individuals feel compelled to compare themselves with other people and with social standa rds (Festinger, 1954). Festinger (1954) believed the only reason for social comparison was self -evaluation, which involves making a comparison with others or social standards. This process can lead to the feeling of inadequateness for consumers who do not live up to the comparison person or standard (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). Past research has found that women who view advertisements containing beautiful women rate average looking womens attractiveness lower and societys ideal of physical attractiveness ca n have a harmful impact on women (Gulas & McKeage, 2000). Festingers (1954) original formation of social comparison proposed that the only motivation for comparison was self -evaluation, but two additional motives -self -enhancement

PAGE 29

29 and self -improvement -have been recognized and, together with self -evaluation, determine social comparisons result (Wood, 1989). Self -enhancement occurs when one compares him/herself to someone who will defend, sustain, or better self -perception, while self improvement occurs when one learns how to better him/herself or finds encouragement from another (Wood, 1989). Although Social Comparison Theory applies mainly to the female participants in the study, both males and females are influenced by mass media, which can affect con sumer perception of oneself. Therefore, it is likely that women will be more attracted to models who increase their self -enhancement and provoke self improvement, while men will be more attracted to models whose appearances inspire them to better themselve s via self improvement.

PAGE 30

30 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY In order to compare responses to female models between the males and females in the study, this qualitative study used both focus groups and in -depth interviews. The researcher felt that qualitative rese arch was the best approach to answer the following research questions: I. How do Sexual/Sensual (SS) models and Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next -Door (CCG) models appeal to men and women? II. What model characteristics appeal to men? III. What model characteristics appe al to women? IV Are certain models more appealing to men and/or women both in an advertising context and out of an advertising context, or are certain models only appealing when in an advertisement or out of an advertisement? The present study sought to answe r these research questions by conducting a triangulation of qualitative methodology in order to explain the underlying motives and reasoning behind the participants responses, which is explained at length below. Development of Research Design and Methods Used This study used focus groups and indepth interviews in order to answer the research questions. Focus groups are a group of participants who are interviewed together by a moderator in order to prompt a discussion, whereas in -depth interviews are one o n -one conversations with an interviewer and an interviewee (Babbie, 2007). Focus groups were used to generate discussion about female models; interviews were used to supplement the findings of the focus groups. In addition, the moderators personal observa tions of participants body language and outward show of emotions were considered, resulting in a triangulation of methods. Qualitative research does not make generalizations. This means that by using focus groups and interviews as the methods the particul ar and specific meanings behind participants responses gave more

PAGE 31

31 information than only the generalized numerical descriptions that are the result of quantitative research (Morgan, 1997). By using these two methods together, this study triangulates its da ta. Triangulation is the use of several different research methods to test the same findings (Babbie, 2007). According to Jankowski and Wester (1991), triangulation can be a constructive force in not only the development of theory but the development of the methodology as well. Triangulation is useful because each method used has its own strengths and weaknesses, and by using multiple methods, the researcher may get a fuller and more accurate understanding of the themes discovered (Babbie, 2007). As a st and alone method, focus groups provide a group interaction that allows the participants to share and compare experiences and attitudes with each other, making focus groups particularly useful when seeking to explain peoples views, ideals and experiences (Morgan, 1997). However, a danger of focus groups is the idea of group thinking, where some participants simply agree with other participants instead of discussing their own opposing viewpoints. As opposed to focus groups, in-depth interviews provide one -onone discussion in which the participant is not influenced by what others say (Babbie, 2007). A weakness of interviews, however, is that there is no interaction effect, meaning the interviewee cannot be reminded of a relevant thought by what others hav e said. Therefore, when only one method is used, there is a danger that the research findings may in part reflect the chosen method, so the researcher has opted to use triangulation to avoid this potential issue. However, it is important not to assume tha t because triangulation is used, the research findings are necessarily more accurate. Jankowsi and Wester (1991) explain that there is an assumption with triangulation that the weaknesses in each solitary method will be compensated

PAGE 32

32 by the strengths of anot her. That said, although triangulation offers more confidence in the conclusions drawn in qualitative studies, it cannot guarantee more validity. Selection of Participants The recruitment process in the study was the same for the focus groups and indept h interviews. The participants were selected on a few basic criteria, which is important to ensure that all groups and interviewees have certain common characteristics (Knodel, 1993). Both male and female college students were selected, and all were between the ages of 18 and 24. This demographic was appropriate because it tends to be a prime target for media and advertisers, particularly online (Khan, 2008). The participants had all lived in the United States for at least 15 years, so they were fully accul turated into American media, culture and beauty ideals. All participants were Caucasian because different races can hold different beauty preferences and ideals. This racial selection was made because this specific topic has not been studied before, and th e Caucasian market is considered a mainstream target in the U.S (Khan, 2008). There was no preference of using entirely strangers or acquaintances because the topic was not considered overly sensitive (Morgan, 1997). The researcher was unable to screen for sexual orientation in order to only include heterosexuals due to discriminatory and sensitivity issues; however, the participants had the opportunity to disclose their orientation after their group or interview in the Participant Demographic Questionnaire This was asked to possibly help the researcher explain certain remote or widely differing responses from participants, since those who are homosexual may have viewed the models differently than the rest of the participants in their group. Recruitment of Participants Participants were recruited from undergraduate courses at a large, public Southeastern university. The potential participants were told that the research topic concerned female models in advertising; however, they were not told the precise rea son for the research at the time of

PAGE 33

33 recruitment so that the generated responses were spontaneous (Duke, 2008). In order to screen for the selected criteria explained above, potential participants were given a short screening questionnaire that was distribu ted in classes from which participants were recruited. The questionnaire determined if students were eligible to participate in the study by asking basic demographic questions ( Appendix A ). The questionnaire also asked for contact information so the resear cher could contact the potential participant if they should meet the research needs and were eligible to participate. Based on the questionnaires, the researcher divided the participants into two focus groups of all females and two groups of all males, res ulting in a total of four focus groups. Later, an additional male focus group was added due to low attendance rates of recruits in the first two male groups. In addition, the researcher used four female participants and four male participants for one -onone in -depth interviews. The participants were divided into focus groups and interviews at the convenience of the participant; in other words, one -onone interviews were scheduled when it was more convenient for a participant than coming to one of the schedu led focus groups. There was no break characteristic that placed the participant in either a focus group or an interview. After the screeners had been analyzed and participants were selected, the researcher contacted the potential participants to let them know when the focus groups or interviews would be held and its location. This was done by email and telephone as necessary. A reminder was sent via email the day before and the day of each focus group or interview to the respective group of participants or individual participant. The participants were offered extra credit and also received dinner at the time of the focus group or interview. Focus Groups Focus groups are a group of participants who are interviewed together in order to prompt a discussion (B abbie, 2007). Morgan (1997) defines a focus group as a group interview that relies

PAGE 34

34 on interaction between the participants based on topics that are supplied by the moderator. It is this group interaction that allows the participants to share and compare experiences and attitudes with each other, while the researcher learns what participants think, how they think about it, and why they think that way (Morgan, 1997). Focus groups are particularly useful when seeking to explain peoples views, ideals and ex periences (Morgan, 1997). Focus groups provide the most effective way to answer the research questions because the researcher hopes to explain how and why participants beliefs and past encounters shape their opinions of female models (Morgan, 1997). This method is desirable in this study due to its group nature, which facilitates conversation and thought. Research Design Focus groups must go through several stages in the research design process. The first decision is what the purpose of the research is a nd how focus groups will help achieve the desired research goals. After the purpose has been determined, the researcher must determine who will participate, how structured the groups will be, how big the groups will be, and how many groups in the total project will be needed (Morgan, 1997). A moderators guide is then created, and the focus groups are conducted. Selection of participants In focus groups, participants are not randomly selected and assigned to groups because, as researchers, we are often mor e interested in understanding the particular than the general (Morgan, 1997, p. 18). Also, focus group participants were not randomly selected so that the researcher would discover a range of opinions on the topic. A randomly sampled group may not hold a shared perspective on the topic and therefore, may not even be able to generate meaningful discussions (Morgan, 1997, p. 35).

PAGE 35

35 The groups in this study were controlled through segmentation, or matching carefully chosen categories of participants (Morgan, 1997). Segmentation provided a level of homogeneity in order to allow for more comfortable and fluid conversations among participants (Morgan, 1997). In this study, participants were divided into women-only groups and men -only groups. Therefore, gender wa s the break characteristic, which is useful when comparing views between groups (Knodel, 1993). Because the research topic is based on the difference between men and womens perceptions, the differences in perspectives due to gender may have reduced the le vel of comfort or affect how clearly either perspective gets discussed; therefore, participants were divided into groups based on gender. Size of groups The average size of a focus group is six to 10 participants, because when there are fewer than six, the discussion may be difficult to carry on, while with more than 10, the conversation may be difficult to control (Morgan, 1997). However, it may be necessary to have either a smaller or larger group due to the level of involvement of the participants. If th e level of involvement is relatively low, it is more difficult to maintain an active discussion in a smaller group (Morgan, 1997). In the end, the purposes of the research and constraints of the field situation must be taken into account (Morgan, 1997, p 43). In this study, the researcher aimed to have eight to 10 participants in each of the groups because the level of involvement -interest in the topic or arousal-that the participants had with the research topic was relatively low. This is due to th e nature of the topic, which was not expected to be exceptionally arousing to any of the participants because they did not necessarily have a particular interest in the topic of study. However, since all of the participants had lived in the U.S. for at lea st 15 years, they were fully aware of the types of models that are prevalent in advertising as well as societys general feelings about beauty, models and advertising. In order to

PAGE 36

36 better guarantee this number, the researcher over recruited by approximately 20% (Morgan, 1997). The actual sizes of the female groups were nine and 18 participants, respectively. The size of the male groups were and two, three, and four participants, respectively. Number of groups The number of focus groups in a study is the pri mary determinant of how much data the research will produce (Morgan, 1997). The rule of thumb is that it takes three to five groups to reach theoretical saturation, or the point where no new information is generated (Morgan, 1997). Fewer or more groups may be needed, however, before the moderator can anticipate what will be said in the next group (Morgan, 1997). This study began with two groups each of females and males for a total of four groups. An additional male group was added because the first two mal e groups were very small in size due to recruits not showing at the last minute. The researcher wanted to ensure that theoretical saturation had been reached, so a third group was necessary. Therefore, there were two female groups and three male groups con ducted for a total of five focus groups. Level of structure in the groups The level of structure in focus groups involves choices about interview standardization, which is whether the same questions will be asked in every group, and moderator involvement, which is the extent to which the moderator controls the discussion (Morgan, 1997). More structured groups typically involve a higher level of moderator involvement in which the moderator controls the discussion rather than letting it flow freely and also has more standardized questions, meaning that the same questions will be asked in every group (Morgan, 1997). This study used a more structured group design for several reasons. First, the researcher was comparing the male and female groups responses, so the same questions were asked in each

PAGE 37

37 group. Second, the moderator strove to create a higher level of involvement in each of the groups to ensure they stayed on topic to yield results that helped answer the research questions. More structured groups are u seful when the researcher has a strong, preexisting agenda for the research (Morgan, 1997, p. 39). Moreover, high moderator involvement will keep the topic of conversation centered on the research topic, which is valuable to the researcher as aforementio ned (Morgan, 1997). Additionally, a goal that often relies on having a more structured approach is when a comparison between groups is being made, as is the case in this study (Morgan, 1997). Interview Content and the Moderators Guide When the number and size of groups have been determined, as well as the level of structure, the researcher must then determine what the interview content will include. This is done by creating a moderators guide, which is a list of questions or topics that the researcher wa nts to cover at some point during the focus group ( Appendix C ). In this study, the researcher, a female, moderated the female groups, and a male colleague moderated the male groups. This was done so that the gender of the moderator would not negatively inf luence the groups discussions or disrupt the homogeneity, which allowed for more fluid and comfortable conversation (Morgan, 1997). The researcher trained the male moderator by reviewing the moderators guide and sharing the expectations for the study wit h him. The moderators were also responsible for taking notes during the discussion that described the nonverbal cues of the participants, which were elements of the collected data. A typical focus group lasts one to two hours, so it is important to mainta in the focus of the discussion and not try to explore too many topics (Morgan, 1997). The moderators guide helped keep the dialogue on topic by organizing discussion topics in a specific order to create a natural progression from topic to topic, with some overlap (Morgan, 1997). Usually, a moderators guide

PAGE 38

38 tends to be relatively general with open -ended questions and seeks to elicit specific responses without directly asking about the specifics of the topic or situation at hand (Knodel, 1993). The number of questions is influenced by the topic, but 10 to 12 well -developed questions are usually sufficient for a two hour focus group (Krueger, 1993). In this study, the moderators guide began with general questions about women in the media and moved into asking about specific female models in advertisements. Each question on the guide was accompanied with possible prompts in order to probe responses. Some of the prompts were general in nature and useful in both the male and female groups, whereas some were appr opriate for only the male or female groups, such as How is this model similar to you? (female groups), and How is she like your ideal woman? (male groups). The discussion opened with the moderators introduction, which stated the topic in a truthful b ut general way, as well as the purpose for the research (Morgan, 1997). The moderators introductory remarks are discussed at length below. Krueger and Casey (2000) indicated that there are five main types of questions: opening, introductory, transition, k ey, and ending. The opener is a question that all participants answer in order to get them talking and make them feel comfortable (Krueger & Casey, 2000). Morgan (1997) calls this kind of question an ice breaker because all of the participants answer the s ame basic questions to help set the mood for the group as a whole (Morgan, 1997). In this study, the participants were asked to state their first name, their major, and their favorite female celebrity or person in the public eye. These questions helped the participants relax and become more comfortable with one another and also served as voice identification on the tape for ease of transcription.

PAGE 39

39 The next kind of question is the introductory question, which familiarizes the participants with the topic of s tudy; in this case, the introductory question was related to women in media and advertisements. Next, a transition question moved the discussion toward the key questions, which are the heart of the discussion and require the greatest attention in the analy sis (Krueger & Casey, 2000). Finally, the ending questions closed the discussion and allow the participants to reflect on the comments they made during the session (Krueger & Casey, 2000). Krueger and Casey (2000) suggests one of three ending options: the all things considered question in which participants reflect on the discussion and identify the most important aspects, the summary question in which the participants verify the summary of the discussion with the moderator, and the final question which ask s the participants if they think the researcher missed anything they think is important to the topic. In this study, the researcher used the last option and asked the participants if they would like to add anything else or if they thought there was somethi ng left out of the discussion that they found important. This option is similar to Morgans (1997) technique for asking for a final summary statement, which can allow each participant to open up and say something they have been holding back until this poin t. The finality of a summary statement and the opportunity to be uninterrupted allowed each participant to say what was important to them, which was significant to the researcher (Morgan, 1997). Moderators introductory remarks The researcher created an o pening statement to read to the participants before each focus group began. The words chosen as the opening for the focus group can influence the quality of the research collected during the discussion in several ways. First, the moderator may be too speci fic and include unnecessary details about the focus group (Krueger, 1993), which can lead to partiality in the participants responses (Goodman, 2007).

PAGE 40

40 In a typical introduction, the moderator introduces him or herself and states the purpose for research; in this case, the purpose for the research was for masters thesis research. This is also the point where the moderator introduced the ground rules for the group, such as no side conversations or equal participation from group members, and explained that the discussion would be audio-taped (Morgan, 1997). Audiotape was used over video-tape because participants generally feel more at ease when they are not on camera (Duke, 2008). It is recommended to keep the instructions and introductory remarks relativel y short, as lengthy instructions can create the expectation that the moderator will be telling the group what to do; therefore, the moderator gave short remarks and instructions at the start of the group (Morgan, 1997). Morgan (1997) suggests that the bes t way to begin the session is often with an honest introduction by admitting that the researcher is there to learn from the participants. In this study, the moderator began with introducing his or herself and explained that the researcher wanted to learn f rom the participants about their perceptions of female media models without going into further specifications ( Appendix C ). Pretesting the moderators guide The moderators guide was pretested before the focus groups were conducted. This was done to ensur e the questions were clear and that they were not phrased in a way that relies on expert knowledge or on assumptions (Krueger, 1993). This was also done to make certain the questions in the guide were not abstract and there was no confusion by the particip ants (Krueger, 1993). This is important, as more specific questions elicit responses that more accurately indicate how the individual participant feels, instead of responses that are seen as socially acceptable or general in nature (Krueger, 1993). The res earchers thesis committee looked over the moderators guide in order to pretest the guide. Krueger (1993) also suggests that the first focus group can be used as a pilot in case of

PAGE 41

41 misunderstandings of questions by participants, and the moderators guide can then be adjusted for future use. In this study, the original moderators guide was not altered, as the participants easily understood the questions and did not need further explanation of each question posed by the moderator. Conducting the Focus Grou ps The focus groups took place in the fall of 2008 over the course of three weeks, with one male and one female group taking place each of the first two weeks, and the third male group taking place the third week. They were held in the evening between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. The groups were conducted in classrooms on the campus from which the participants were recruited, a location chosen because of convenience to both the researcher and participants. The site was also chosen because it was place that the partic ipants felt comfortable, since it was located in the college from which they were recruited. Morgan (1997) explains that there is little use for a site that is uncomfortable for the participants. When the participants arrived, the moderator greeted them an d offered them the food and drinks provided for dinner. They were then shown to their seats, where a name placard waited for them to write their first name so that the other participants and the moderator would know how to address them. After all of the p articipants arrived and were settled into their seats, the moderator began by turning on the recording equipment, which included two audiorecording devices situated in the center of the table so that the entire discussion was easily heard and recorded on both devices. The moderator then began with his/her introductory remarks and double -checked the audio recording devices to ensure proper function. Then, the moderator started to ask the actual questions as laid out on the moderators guide and more or less followed the order listed on the guide with prompts interjected as needed. In addition to the questions on the moderators guide,

PAGE 42

42 the participants were shown four female models that had been used in advertisements. As determined by the researcher, the pre sent study used the two different types of female models (Sexual/Sensual and Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next Door) that were distinguished by Goodman et al. (2008). The Sexual/Sensual (SS) models selected were typically described as beautiful but also sexy or provocative. These models were in a sexually suggestive pose or have sensual facial expressions. The Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl -Next -Door (CCG) models were considered attractive or beautiful but not overtly sexual. These models were smiling or had otherwis e friendly facial expressions and were shown in more normal, natural poses. The chosen models were found by the researcher on online photography databases and were discussed with the researchers committee, who were in agreement that the chosen models adeq uately represented the two types of models in the study. The models were displayed onto a screen by a projector in order to enhance the photos and detail. All four of the models were shown in similar clothing (lingerie/underwear) and were alone in the pho tograph without props, backgrounds, or other major differentials. All of the photographs were shown in black and white so the models could be assessed in as similar a setting as possible, so that similarities and differences could be more easily evaluated between the two types. After the closing remarks were made and the focus group discussion was over, a demographic questionnaire was distributed to the participants ( Appendix B ). This questionnaire was given after the groups because it asked participants to disclose personal information, including an optional question about their sexual orientation. The researcher did not want the participants to respond to the models differently due to any questions on the questionnaire; therefore, it was given at the end o f the group.

PAGE 43

43 In -Depth Interviews Babbie (2007) defines a qualitative indepth interview as an interaction between an interviewer and a respondent in which the interviewer has a general plan of inquiry (306). Most basically speaking, an interview is a c onversation in which the interviewer establishes the general direction for the conversation (Babbie, 2007). In -depth interviews were chosen to supplement the focus group findings specifically because they are one on-one. This allows the interviewee to resp ond according to how he or she personally feels, rather than merely agreeing with other participants in a focus group or going along with what is being said in a group environment. This tendency to agree is known as groupthink, or the inclination for peo ple in a group to conform to the opinions or responses of outspoken members of the group (Babbie, 2007). Anothe r reason in -depth interviewing was chosen as a supplementary method to focus groups was the flexibility for questions to evolve as the interview s were conducted (Babbie, 2007). In other words, if certain questions elicited short responses while some elicited longer, more passionate responses, the moderator was able to more effectively probe these areas and thus personalize the moderators guide to each participant. If the interviewer found that certain questions did not work well in one -on -one situations, then the interviewer could shorten or altogether eliminate those questions in the remaining interviews. A final advantage of interviews was the a bility for the interviewer to focus completely on one participant. In a focus group, the moderator must keep up with the body language and non verbal cues from several participants at a time, while in a one -on -one interview, the interviewer can more clearl y record or recall these important elements of the interview (Babbie, 2007). In this study, the visual observations of participants were treated as the third component of data collection and were the final side of the triangulation of methods.

PAGE 44

44 Research De sign The interviews were conducted after all of the focus groups had been conducted. Therefore, the researcher had already established the purpose of the research. Different participants were used in the focus groups and interviews. In addition, the purpos e for using in depth interviews to help achieve the desired goals was determined as the ability to either support or contradict what was said in the focus groups. Number of interviews The number of interviews conducted was four each with female and male p articipants, for a total of eight in depth interviews. This number is much smaller than the typical number of interviews in a qualitative study when interviewing is the main data collection method; however, there were only eight conducted because this meth od was secondary to the use of focus groups and served only to support or reject findings in the groups. The researcher planned to continue adding interviews until theoretical saturation, or a level of redundancy, was achieved (Morgan, 1997). Theoretical s aturation was achieved after four interviews of each males and females; thus, no interviews were added to the original planned number of eight total interviews. Level of structure in interviews The level of structure in interviews is determined the same w ay as in focus groups. This involves choices about interview standardization the extent to which the moderator controls the discussion (Morgan, 1997). Babbie (2007) describes that in field research, less -structured interviews are more appropriate because they allow for more natural progression of conversation. However, the interviews in this study took a moderately-structured form to compromise between the highly -structured focus groups and the suggestion that less -structured interviews may be better. Ther efore, the interviewer used the same guide as was used in the focus groups, but was allowed more freedom to probe deeper or wider, change the order of questions, or eliminate

PAGE 45

45 questions from the interview as they saw fit. The same list of questions (the moderators guide) was used in every interview. Also, the researcher wanted to keep the level of structure somewhat similar in every interview because the researcher not only compared males and females responses, but also compared the responses in the inter views to those in the focus groups. A goal that often relies on having a moderately to highly structured approach in interviewing is when a comparison between groups is being made (Morgan, 1997). Interview Content After the number of interviews had been determined, as well as the level of structure, the researcher determined what the interview content would include. Due to the fact that the researchers goal was to compare the responses of the in depth interviews to those in the focus groups, the decision was made to use the same guide as was used in the focus groups ( Appendix C). Conducting the Interviews The researcher began with four female interviews and four male interviews and planned to continue adding interviews until theoretical saturation was achieved. In this case, the original number of interviews was not changed, as the interviews closely reflected what was said in the focus groups. The researcher interviewed the female interviewees, while the same male who conducted the male focus groups inte rviewed the male interviewees. This was done to ensure comfort by the participants, allow for more honest responses, and so that the gender of the interviewer would not negatively influence the discussion (Morgan, 1997). The interviews took place in the f all of 2008 over the course of two weeks. They were held in the evening between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. The researcher chose locations to hold the interviews according to convenience and familiarity to the participants, which is crucial to ensure an

PAGE 46

46 adequate am ount of comfort in an interview. Morgan (1997) explains that there is little use for a site that is uncomfortable for the participants. The interviews ran from ten to twenty minutes in length. Once the participant had arrived, the interviewer began by turn ing on the recording equipment, which included two audiorecording devices situated in the center of the table so that the discussion was easily heard and recorded on both devices. The interviewer then began with his/her introductory remarks and double -che cked the audiorecording devices to ensure proper function. Then, the interviewer began asking the questions as laid out on the interview guide and more or less followed the order listed on the guide with prompts interjected as needed. In addition to the questions on the guide, the participants were shown the four female models that were shown in the focus groups. However, due to the varied locations of the interviews, the models were not projected on a screen as they were in the focus groups. The intervie wer instead showed each model to the interviewee on the screen of a laptop. After the closing remarks were made and the discussion was over, a demographic questionnaire was given to each participant ( Appendix B ). As with the focus groups, this questionna ire was given after the interviews because it asked participants to disclose personal information. Data Analysis After the focus groups and interviews had been conducted, the researcher transcribed them so that the comments and discussion could be more ea sily developed into a coding system. The data from these sessions included verbal comments and the discussion of the participants, as well as the moderators observations of the nonverbal behavior. These nonverbal cues included the extent to which each par ticipant exuded agreement, emphasis, boredom, excitement, indifference, and other thoughts in regards to the conversation.

PAGE 47

47 Once the transcripts had been typed, each line of conversation was examined in order to assess how it pertained to the study. For ex ample, in some cases, there was dialogue that was off topic from the group or otherwise had nothing to do with the question posed. By using inductive data analysis, a hallmark of qualitative studies according to Creswell (2007), patterns, categories and th emes were built from the bottom up. The inductive process involves the researcher working between the development of themes and the database, which in this case, was the set of transcripts (Creswell, 2007). The qualitative data was examined inductively, working from specific quotes or statements by individuals, moving toward more general perspectives (Creswell, 2007). The objective of coding and analyzing every line of the transcripts was to create a system of patterns or categories that would then evolve into the overall themes of the research findings. There were several phases in the coding process. The three phases of coding, as advanced by Strauss and Corbin (1990) are open, axial, and selective. Open coding is the development of categories of informa tion. Axial coding is making connections between the categories. Selective coding is building a story that connects all of the categories and attempts to make sense of them (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). In the open coding phase, the researcher examined the tra nscripts and developed categories of information. During this phase, the researcher also pulled specific supporting quotes and information to uphold the categorizing of the information. Essentially, when the researcher found that a certain comment exemplif ied the given category, she included the quotation in the analysis. Because the questions on the moderators guide were divided into sections for each of the four models, the researcher first organized the data into themes that developed during discussion of each model. These themes were also divided into female and male participants

PAGE 48

48 responses. Therefore, in the open coding phase, the researcher listed all of the themes for each model for female participants, then repeated this coding system for the male p articipants. When reporting the data, the researcher compared and contrasted the male and female responses for each model so that an assessment of responses could be easily made between the genders. Once the gathered data had been organized into categorie s according to gender and models, the researcher identified a single category as the central phenomenon, as suggested by Creswell (2007). However, because this study was concerned with comparing results between male and female participants, there was a cen tral phenomenon selected for each gender. The central phenomenon is typically the category that was widely discussed by the participants at length, and it is chosen because it seems central to the process being studied (Creswell, 2007). Due to the nature o f this study, the central phenomenon was the model that each gender collectively chose as their favorite model, and most importantly, the reasoning behind this choice, which was the axial coding phase. In the axial coding phase, the researcher began to exa mine the database for other categories that supported, related to, or explained the central phenomenon. These are typically the causal conditions that influence the central phenomenon (Creswell, 2007); in other words, these relevant categories help explain the why behind the central phenomenon. Lastly, in the selective coding phase, the researcher organized the axial codes into a figure that presented a theoretical model of the process under study. This was how the theory was built (Creswell, 2007). The s elective coding phase in this study consisted of comparing the axial codes between the male and female participants in order to explain the differences in their choices of favorite female model.

PAGE 49

49 The themes, axial codes, and selective codes that developed o ver the course of the study are discussed at length in Chapter 4.

PAGE 50

50 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Demographic Sketch of Participants There were a total of five focus groups conducted (three male, two female) and eight in depth interviews conducted. There were a total of nine male participants in the focus groups and four males who were interviewed, while there was a total of 27 female participants in the focus groups and four females who were interviewed. The participants were all between the ages of 18 and 24, were currently enrolled as undergraduates at a major Southeastern university, had lived continuously in the United States for at least 15 years, and were Caucasian. The only break characteristic was the gender of each participant. For complete demo graphic information and data pertaining to individu al participants, see Appendix D The average age of female focus group participants in the study was 20 years old, while the male groups skewed older with an average age of 22. All female focus group part icipants were advertising majors, while the male focus group participants majored in a variety of subjects, including advertising, finance, economics, agricultural studies, and building construction. As a whole, the female focus group participants came from more educated households than did the male focus group participants. Nearly 64% of female focus group participants fathers held a Bachelors degree or higher, and 61% of their mothers held a Bachelors degree or higher, versus 56% and 33% for the males fathers and mothers, respectively. The male focus group participants were slightly heavier overall users of media than were the female participants. All the focus group participants, male and female, said they used the Internet five hours a week or more. Males showed higher usage of television and newspapers, while the females showed higher usage of radio and magazines. Both male and female

PAGE 51

51 participants who regularly read a newspaper commonly listed the school paper, The Alligator as well as USA Today and/or The New York Times Female magazine readers commonly listed Cosmopolitan, People InStyle and US Weekly as magazines they read on a regular basis. The only repeated magazine that male focus group participants listed was Sports Illustrated All of the f ocus group participants listed their sexual orientation as heterosexual, with the exception of one female participant who did not respond to the question. The female interviewees average age was 22.5, whereas the average age of the male interviewees wa s younger at 21 years old. The female interviewees studied a variety of disciplines, including education, public relations, political science, and interior design. The male interviewees also studied a variety of disciplines, including finance, accounting, political science, and religion. The female interviewees as a group came from the least -educated households of the four groups of participants (female focus group participants and interviewees, male focus group participants and interviewees), as only one f emale interviewees father had received a Bachelors degree or higher, and none of their mothers had received a Bachelors degree or higher. The male interviewees as a whole came from fairly educated households, with two participants fathers having receiv ed a Bachelors degree or higher, and two of the participants mothers held a Bachelors degree or higher. All interview participants showed heavy media usage, as all used the Internet for five hours or more per week, the same percentage as the focus group participants. All female interviewees (100%) also listened to AM/FM radio one or more hours a week, watched five hours or more of television a week, and read at least part of one magazine a week. Seventy -five percent of male interviewees watched five hour s or more of television per week, listened to the radio one hour or

PAGE 52

52 more per week, and read at least part of one magazine each week. Overall, half of the interview participants, male and female, said they read a newspaper regularly; of those, 75% listed Th e Alligator as a paper they read often. All of the participants noted their sexual orientation as heterosexual. Participants Responses and Resulting Categories Participants were asked opening questions about females in the public eye, media and advertis ing. The discussion then moved to assessing the individual models and ultimately led to the choice of a favorite and least -favorite model. In terms of responses to models, female participants in both of the focus groups and the interviews gave very similar responses. Likewise, the male participants in all three of the focus groups and the four interviews also gave similar responses to all of the models. Celebrities and Women in the Public Eye and Media Before participants were shown the models for discussio n, they were asked to describe whom and what they talked about in regards to celebrities or women in the public eye. Although a few specific celebrities were named, the most common response from female participants was that they talked about celebs appear ances and clothing, specifically how to copy a style or a certain look worn by a celebrity. These participants explained: Its really shallow. I mean its not like they stand for something great politically. Its all about appearance. Amy (FG)1 We talk ab out what theyre wearing, how thin they are. We dont particularly talk about people specifically. But I think its mostly to make us feel better about ourselves. Laney (IV) Similarly, male participants said they talked about female celebrities appearances but specifically how attractive (or unattractive) they are. 1 Names have been changed to ensure confidentiality of participants. FG after a participants name denotes a focus group participant; IV denotes an interviewee.

PAGE 53

53 with Victorias Secret, if I see that commercia l with my guy friends, we make comments about what theyre wearing, because its not very conservative at all. And s ome of that I enjoy looki ng at! Mike (FG) Besides the physical attractiveness of women in the public eye, male participants also said they discussed movie roles played by women, particularly if the movie was good or if the role was played well by the actress. Male participants al so said they occasionally discussed how intelligent a woman sounded in a movie, interview, or other public appearance if she particularly impressed them. When asked how celebrity and female public figures made them feel, female responses most commonly stem med from a feeling of inadequateness, for example: (They make me feel) inferior! (Laughing from the group) Theyre your goal in life, to look like that, or act like that. Theyre on a pedestal, a nd theyre what you see as the perfect person. Amy (FG) I th ink they make you feel insecure, because they have the perfect bodies, perfect boobs, no cellulite. When you constantly see these women pla stered on movie screens and in ads, sometimes you think Ill never be able to afford tho se clothes, Ill never be th at skinny. Those kinds of things. Layla (IV) Some female participants pointed to the fact that certain types of women inspired them more than others, as these participants explained: The only ones that I think I wish I looked like that are t he ones tha t are a little more relatable, because the ones that are super skinny, I know I wi ll never look like that and I dont want to. Its not normal. Katielyn (FG) I feel like the ones that are more relatable, its okay to w ant to look like them, because they are usually more healthy: theyre working out, eating right. And we should want to do those things and live a healthy lifestyle. If they dont mind doing it, then whats the problem? Darin (FG) In this case, the females said they enjoyed seeing women who were not very thin, but rather preferred to see women who have a healthier and thus more desirable body weight. Weight was the main component the females saw as criteria for beauty and desirability.

PAGE 54

54 However, there was another side on the issue of how the se women influenced females feelings. Some participants brought up the idea that they were used to seeing very thin models and celebrities and thus were not negatively affected by them. The idea that many of these women are airbrushed and have professio nal hairstylists and make up artists to make them look like that also came up several times. When asked how celebrity and female public figures made them feel, the males responses mostly involved the idea that beautiful women were everywhere they looked a nd were very common. The males were surprisingly nonchalant about celebrities, models and beautiful women. For instance, For me, I dont really feel that they have any influence on my day -to -day life. Its kind of like, you expect there to be a pretty face to look at, and I feel like all t hese women that are in the field are pretty much unattainable. And I get it. I m not necessarily tired of it, but Im not necessarily impressed, either. Mike (FG) Both males and females brought up the idea that these wom en were unattainable. The males found they were unattainable in terms of ability to date them, whereas the females found these womens beauty and good looks unattainable. This shows that beautiful models in advertising also showcase how unattainable they are, whether it be their beauty or themselves as a partner. The participants were also asked what attracted them to a model in an advertisement. Many females immediately said they liked to see models that were like them or someone they can relate to, as R achelle (FG) explained: I think if the model looks like me, then I feel like oh, okay! like Im more attracted to that. When they dont look like me at all, then its like I dont even care about this at all. Conversely, some participants said they would rather see an advertising model that does not look like them and someone who is an inspirati on to them. Amy (FG), explained, Like the commercials for Dove, the body wash ones, th at have average women in them like, I dont want to buy that, I dont w ant to be an average woman! (Laughing fr om group) I mean, I want to look like Reese Witherspoon sho wering, not an average woman!

PAGE 55

55 Male participants explained that sexy or beautiful models in advertisements attracted them the most. One participant explained that sex appeals worked best to attract him to an ad. Another common suggestion for attracting males to advertising was to use attractive female celebrities, because they already have a connection with celebrities, or a mental correlation between the c elebrity and her assumed beauty, personality or role. Males said that only advertising models that appeal to the target audience should be used in ads for men. In other words, males suggested testing the market in order to understand which female model a ppealed to the audience in terms of attraction. Males also explained that the use of humor in an ad made them like and remember an advertisement more effectively. Another point of appeal for an advertising model for both males and females is the assessed m atch between the model and the product: (I like it) when its believable that they would use that pr oduct. Like makeup you see it on them and you think, Wow! Looks good on her, maybe Ill try it. Es pecially if it is a celebrity. Carly (FG) I think the more realistic the portrayal, the more inclined I am to buy it. Dana (FG) When its like an interview in a magazine, and its like J essica Simpson and they try to make her look like shes cooking, and shes wearing pretty clothes and her makeup is all don e, I dont relate to that. Ari (FG) Overall, most female participants, prior to seeing the models in the study, said they enjoyed seeing more natural, relatable models in advertising, but that a models appeal depended on the observers personal taste, th e product being advertised, and the celebrity, if applicable, that was modeling in the advertisement. Male participants explained that the use of attractive or sexy models appealed to them the most, but like the females, admitted that an advertisements ef fectiveness had something to do with the match between the product and the model.

PAGE 56

56 Responses t o Model 1 Model 1 was the first Sexy/Sensual model shown. She had long, very blonde hair, was wearing lingerie, and had on a lot of make up. She was posed standing on her knees on a bed wearing high heels, therefore revealing her whole body. Repeated descriptors of Model 1 from the female participants included provocative, sexy, fake, skinny, eye -catching, directed toward men, stupid, beautiful, and slutty. The male participants repeatedly used words such as provocative, sexy, hot, and attractive to describe Model 1 but did not use any negative descriptors to suggest that her sexiness correlated to promiscuity. Not a single female participant said she could relate to Model 1 or that Model 1 was similar to her in any way, mostly because hypersexuality has negative associations for females. Thus, the female participants did not view themselves as overly sexual, and therefore did not see themselv es as slutty, unintelligent, or a sex object. When asked how Model 1 made them feel, many male participants said she turned them on or that they were otherwise physically attracted to her. This points to the idea that males do not necessarily believe hyper sexuality has negative associations but may still hold negative beliefs about females who are promiscuous, as is often demonstrated by the idea that males want a good girl to be their wife. In addition, one male participant said Model 1 was out of my le ague. In terms of body language, many female participants exhibited a combination of disgust, shock and disbelief when seeing Model 1 for the first time. For other females, the nonverbal attitude was one of boredom, as if it were commonplace to see models like her. The male participants body language, on the other hand, suggested that they enjoyed looking at and analyzing Model 1. Many smiled voyeuristically upon seeing her for the first time. When asked what celebrity Model 1 was like, nearly every sing le participant, male and female, said Pamela Anderson. Female participants said Model 1 was like Pamela Anderson

PAGE 57

57 during her Baywatch years, because of both similar physical looks and the personality Model 1 portrayed, which they presumed to be unintell igent and shallow. A female interviewee explained Model 1 was like Pamela Anderson before the plastic surgery. Other celebrities that females named were Christina Aguilera, Paris Hilton, and Kendra from the Playboy model reality show, Girls Next Door. Ot her celebrities that males named were Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. Resulting categories Female participants had mostly negative reactions to Model 1, whereas male participants were forthcoming with mostly positive descriptions of her. The respons es have been divided into themes and are discussed at length below. Provocative, highly sexy: The most talked about element by the female participants was Model 1s provocative nature, which they saw as a negative aspect. Female participants called her sk anky, slutty, and trashy. Many said that her pose was what heavily contributed to her provocative nature. For example, I mean, I think a big thing is the pose. I think she would lo ok more tasteful is she was in a more natural pose. Katielyn (FG) When you think about it, what makes this so unappea ling to women in her position: arms up, hair over her fa ce, arching her back, all that. Kristine (FG) These responses from females suggest that a model that is perceived as highly sexy is also perceived as sl utty. Therefore, highly sexy models targeted toward women have a negative association and thus do not elicit a positive response. Male participants also found Model 1 to be highly sexy and provocative, which they conversely saw as positive attributes. Lik e the females, the males repeatedly brought up her physical pose. Male participants explained that Model 1 was trying to m ake a certain statement by her s tance and facial expression. For instance:

PAGE 58

58 I would say she is definitely provocative. Shes not reall y wearing anything at all. And the face that she has is like, staring at youlike shes tryin g to portray something to you. Its very att ractive and sexually appealing. Mike (FG) In relation, another male participant said Model 1 looked like she was ready to go. As Louis (FG) explained, Shes ready for it. Shes arching her back and everything. The males found her pose attractive, yet some thought it looked forced. For example, Lonnie (FG) said, I consider her attractive. In that pose, though, I almo st think shes trying too hard. Male participants repeatedly said Model 1 was not only sexy, but also attractive, beautiful, hot, and sexually appealing. Therefore, what females thought of as sexy/slutty, males saw as sexy/beautiful. One male par ticipant explained that Model 1 was probably what 90% of men would consider attractive. Another male participant summed it up and said, Shes just someone you want to look at. Directed toward men : Male and female participants alike repeatedly made comm ents about how Model 1 looked like she was in an ad targeting males or meant to be seen only by males. Females suggested she looked like she could be in Maxim or Playboy both of which are male publications. These participants explained why they thought Mo del 1 looked like an ad for men: She looks like shes selling something to men. Because w omen hate her for looking like that and men love her for looking like that. Carly (FG) This is meant for man because I dont know any rational advertiser who would u se her to advertise to women. Kristine (FG) In other words, women do not like a model that is perceived to be targeted toward a man, such as Model 1. The idea that women hate her for her appearance is linked with the idea that her appearance is unattain able and different than a normal woman. In contrast, however, Lynn (FG) pointed out another way of thinking about the model:

PAGE 59

59 So, we say that the ad looks like its geared toward a man, but I think either way, women want to look lik e her. Lynn (FG) Therefo re, even though females were somewhat affronted by Model 1s perceived positioning toward male audiences, there was also the idea that she provided an element of inspiration for female audiences. Male participants also felt Model 1 was advertising a produc t that was intended for men, or in an advertisement that was directed toward men. This was mostly due to her physical position, as one participant explained: I think shes geared toward men. She looks like shes about to engage in some, uhhhhh, promiscuous activities. ( laughs ) But thats what guys like. Jake (FG) Other male participants called Model 1 a typical model for mens advertisements and said she was the kind of woman that most men were attracted to. Shallow, stupid: Both male and female par ticipants said that Model 1 did not look intelligent. For females, this was based on Model 1s very blonde hair color, as there was no other reason listed by participants. Females said she looked like a dumb blonde and one female said she did not look li ke she was educated. One male participant said Model 1 looked shallow by suggesting she did not have much of a personality. Another participant said she looked stupid. One male said this about Model 1: As far as her personality, I wouldnt think muc h about it. Like, I would assume she didnt have much of a personalityIf her attractiveness wa s better than her personality, then I would probably only notice her appearance. I pr obably wouldnt want to hear what she had to say. Mike (FG) This reflects the idea that many males believe a female cannot have both brains and beauty, so to speak.

PAGE 60

60 Unrealistic, fake (females only) : Nearly all of the female participants called Model 1 fake or otherwise suggested she was not realistic by calling her a Barbie doll, saying she was airbrushed, and said she was very thin. Many made remarks about the amount of make up she was wearing (dark eye makeup, dramatic eye makeup) and her hair color (bleach -blonde, dumb blonde). The participants all agreed that being fake or looking too done up was not a good thing for an advertising model and did not make a model appealing to them. However, some participants, specifically those who seemed bored with Model 1, pointed out that this kind of model was common an d they were used to seeing women like Model 1 in advertising: I think were all used to this. Like, its not like were all like Oh, my God when we see this. Lynn (FG) I think its a bad thing were so used to this! Its so prevale nt, like pictures like this. I mean we know theyre out there, so we dont really care. Analiz (FG) Participants overall felt that Model 1s airbrushed appearance was an unrealistic portrayal of women. Aspirational, eye -catching, beautiful (females only) : Contradictory to th eir belief that Model 1 was slutty or skanky, some female participants said that Model 1 was undeniably beautiful, even if that beauty was not natural. Some females in the focus groups and interviews said that she was beautiful, hot, not an averag e woman, and that she catches my eye. Related to this was the idea that Model 1 was seen as an inspiration, as Katelyn (FG) explained: I mean, it doesnt make me feel bad about myself. It gives m e inspiration. Like, Okay, some girls can look like that! Its not so much about looking like her. I mean, I have dark hair and I dont want to have blonde hair. But as far as being in shape, yeah, shes an inspiration. Katelyn (F G) Similarly, another focus group participant Analiz, explained, Shes what wo men want to be. But very few actual ly look like that.

PAGE 61

61 Sexier than Victorias Secret (females only) : In both of the focus groups, female participants said eerily similar things comparing Model 1 to Victorias Secret models. In both groups, this topic came about because one participant said that Model 1 reminded her of a Victorias Secret model, and another participant quickly disagreed. At this point in both focus groups, many other participants got involved. The e xchanges in female focus group one and two are below. From the first female focus group: Lynn: I mean, it depends on the context. Like if shes a Victorias Secret model, then maybe we would be attracted to that because were used to looking at models like that to buy lingerie, you know? I mean, when you look at a Victo rias Secret catalog, you flip through and you may say God, I love that when you see her. Analiz: I think its different than a V ictorias Secret model though. Lynn: Yeah thats true, like she has the whole dark make up, one -ey e -showing-only thing going on. She looks like shes ready toget it on! (laughing from group) I mean, shes on the bed with heels on! Analiz: Youre saying its more sexy than a Victorias Secret model. Abby: Shes more provocative. Analiz: Yeah, like for Victorias Secret, she may be wea ring the exact same thing, but its a little more toned down. And that dark eye make upit totally changes everything. Lana: Victorias Secret may be a little more classic (sic.) From the second female focus group: Ari: A t the same time though, isnt she like a Victorias Secret model? And dont we all shop at Victorias Secret? Laurie: But I feel like Victorias Secret advertisements arent trashy. Violet: The ones geared toward us dont look like that. Darin: I think the Victorias Secret models are more na tural, like they wouldnt have bleach blonde hair or be covering their face. And that dramatic eye makeup! (laughing from group)

PAGE 62

62 Wilma: And they dont pose their models like that, on a bed with high heels. Kristine: The way she has her hands up, its just not what Victorias Secret is trying to convey. As demonstrated by the excerpts from both focus groups, the participants concluded that Model 1 was not like a Victorias Secret model, as she was too sexy and provocative, not natural enough and was not the kind of image that Victorias Secret emulates in their advertisements and catalogs. In other words, the participants felt that Model 1 was a poor match for advertising Victorias Secret products. Also, participants r epeatedly brought up the fact that Model 1 was wearing high heels on the bed, a prop that contributed to her sex appeal and unrealistic portrayal of women. Summary Overall, female participants did not react positively to Model 1. Many seemed offended by he r pose and unrealistic nature, and several noted that models like Model 1 gave men the wrong impression of what women really look like. There were a few differing responses, however. One female participant from Focus Group 1 said she was always trying to get (her) hair blonder! and therefore liked Model 1 because she had very blonde hair. A few respondents did not seem offended by Model 1 and mostly seemed apathetic, citing reasons like she just looks like a model and that they had seen this kind of mod el since the beginning of time. Male participants had positive reactions to Model 1, including the fact that she was sexy and attractive. Some of the participants said she was beautiful and very close to their ideal woman. Other participants said she was beautiful but different than their ideal woman because they preferred brunettes or women who were not as skinny. However, all of the men agreed that Model 1 was nice to look at and that they liked seeing models like her in advertisements.

PAGE 63

63 Response s to Model 2 Model 2 was the second Sexy/Sensual model shown. She had long brunette hair, had on a lot of make up, was wearing a sheer black camisole, and was shown from the waist up. Some of the descriptors that female participants repeatedly gave Model 2 were edgy, confident, seductive, naturally beautiful, mysterious, sexy, bad ass, empowering, and other words that suggested Model 2 was inspiring. Conversely, when male participants described Model 2, they repeatedly used descriptions such as provocative, attractive, bitchy, and intimidating. The female participants did not feel they could relate to Model 2, but she was slightly more similar to some participants than Model 1. For example, some participants said Model 2 looked more natural than Model 1, and since they believed they themselves were natural, Model 2 was more like them. This suggests that more of a natural beauty is ideal, as opposed to over done and unrealistic portrayals of women. When asked how Model 2 made them feel, many male participants said that although she was beautiful, she was intimidating and explained they felt this way because of her facial expression, specifically her intense stare. As with Model 1, one male participant said that, based on Model 2s appearance, she was out of my league. Another participant explained that she made him feel badly about himself, most likely due to her attractive appearance and her perceived personality. When asked what celebrity Model 2 was like, the most common respo nse from males and females was Angelina Jolie. Participants said Model 2 was similar to Angelina Jolie because, as Kristine (FG) explained, Shes kind of the same way. Like, (Angelina Jolies) no t really conservative, but you never really see her flaunt ing herself too much. Shes sexy though.

PAGE 64

64 Other celebrities mentioned by females were Kate Moss, Eva Mendes, and Victorias Secret models Giselle Bundchen and Adriana Lima. In relation, the females thought Model 2 was more like a Victorias Secret model t han Model 1. One woman also suggested Model 2 looked like a model in an Express fashion ad. Male participants named celebrity Elizabeth Hurly in addition to Angelina Jolie as similar to Model 2. The body language and nonverbal cues females demonstrated whe n seeing Model 2 for the first time was mostly admiration in the sense that the participants were in awe of her beauty and assumed personality, which was thought to be bold and strong. Some female participants seemed intrigued; others maintained the same s tate of boredom they exhibited when seeing Model 1. The male participants body language suggested that Model 2 intimidated them. Many males had raised eyebrows and open mouths, indicating a somewhat surprised reaction and a bit of intimidation. Resulting categories Female participants had mostly positive reactions to Model 2, while male participants had mostly negative responses. The responses have been divided into themes and are discussed below. Mysterious, intriguing : Several female focus group partici pants and an interviewee said Model 2 looked mysterious. Both focus groups brought up the idea that she left a little to the imagination, which the participants seemed to appreciate and respect. The mysteriousness of Model 2 stemmed mostly from her dark e ye make up and her facial expression: The first thing you look at is her face. Her eyes make her look mysterious. Wilma (FG) She looks myst erious. I think she looks sexy. Laney (IV) I think its like that saying, like she leaves so mething to the imagination. Violet (FG)

PAGE 65

65 Again, participants used such words to suggest that mysteriousness, edginess, and rebellion were good qualities for an advertising model to possess, as it provided inspiration for female viewers to tap into this part of themselves. Sev eral male participants also thought Model 2 seemed mysterious and used the word intriguing to describe her. Jesse (FG) explained, She looks like shes inviting a challenge. Participants also believed that Model 2 looked smarter and more intelligent than Model 1, which contributed to her mysterious and intriguing nature. Her assumed intelligence was correlated with her darker hair. For instance, on participant explained, Yeah, I like the darker hair. She seems like shes different than Model 1, that sh e may be deeper based on the picture. Justin (FG) Attractive, sexy, naturally beautiful : Female participants felt that Model 2 possessed more natural beauty and sexiness than Model 1. While participants in both female groups explained that Model 1 looked like she was pushing her sexuality, Model 2 seemed to naturally exude sexuality. One participant explained: Well, (Model 1) is, like, radiating sexuality. This one, its more implied, but its not in your -face sexuality. Its understood. She s not trying t o be overly sexy. Laurie (FG) Another participant expanded on the idea: Shes trying to look good, to be sexy. But shes not ove r -exposing herself. I think we can all relate to that because we all want to look hot, but not over -exposed. Ari (FG) Because the participants had already analyzed Model 1, they began to make comparisons between the two models in terms of how natural or unnatural the models looked: She is still really beautiful, but sh es like, a lot more laid -back. Analiz (FG) And you can see her face actually. Shes pretty. The first g irl, I mean you could tell she was pretty but like, it was very like, fake. But this one has a pretty face. Lynn (FG) Her hair isnt like, perfect. Like that other girl, it was so obvious that her hair was like d one by someone. And this one, its more relaxed and more natural. Katelyn (FG)

PAGE 66

66 I feel like the first one was like a Barbie doll. And this one is a real person. Rachelle (FG) The male participants agreed that Model 2 was attractive, using words such as pretty and beautiful to do so. A few participants also thought that Model 2 was provocative; however, not as much so as Model 1. Lonnie (FG) said Model 2 did not look as slutty as Model 1. Again, this idea of extreme sexiness equating to sexual permi ssiveness surfaced when comparisons between Models 1 and 2 commenced; that is, Model 1 was presumed to be more sexually permissive than Model 2 based on her appearance, pose and facial expression. Eye -catching, seductive (females only) : While female participants thought Model 2 was sexy, they also thought she had a seductive nature about her that made her eye -catching. Within the theme of seduction, Model 2 was described as a temptress and a tease, and looked like she should be uttering the words come hither, as one participant added. Another word that was frequently used to describe her was focused, as if she was focused on a certain goal or the person looking at the ad. Many female participants suggested that her intense, focused gaze seduced the viewer -male or female-to look at the ad, thus drawing them in. Lynn (FG) explained, I would stop and look at it I mean she definitely catches my attention. Unlike Model 1, the models seductive nature was thought to be seductive and attractive to bo th males and females: She appeals to both men and women: men love her, women want to be her. Kristine (FG) And they arent turning people away: like whoever is using her in an ad is smart because women arent disenchanted by this woman and men are at tract ed to her, so its a good male and female advertisement. Ari (FG) These responses explained that a model must have a unique or otherwise interesting quality about her to make her catch and keep consumers gazes.

PAGE 67

67 Inspiring, empowering, confident (females o nly): Model 2 was seen as someone to aspire to because of both her physical qualities and the personality she was presumed to have. One participant explained Model 2s physical qualities like this: I think she inspires you, but its not unrealistic that you co uld look like her. Shes thin, but shes not ultra skinny. Her makeups not over -extre me we all do our makeup more when we go out, we could try to do our hair like that. I mean, shes not so far -fetched that you couldnt look like her. Nikki (FG) Alt hough the participants saw Model 2 as highly beautiful, she provided inspiration that was reasonable and feasible. This appealed more to the participants than Model 1s beauty, which was seen as unattainable, far -fetched and fake. Model 2 also represented things that women wanted to be in terms of personality traits, rather than in terms of solely the physical qualities she possessed. She was repeatedly described as confident, edgy, and a badass. It is important to note that the tone in which these words were spoken was positive, rather than negative, which was the biggest difference between the descriptions given for Model 1 and Model 2. Participants used these words to explain how Model 2 made women feel empowered and brought to light some of the p ersonality traits women want to have: I think this model represents the edginess that a lot of women want to have, you know, what we want to be. Alice (FG) She looks like a bad ass. And a lot of people cant find that part of themselves to be like that in public. Kristine (FG) I think she shows the empowerment of women. Ari (FG) Another female focus group participant also described Mode1 2 as a rebel, and another described her as someone who would skip class. This theme of empowerment and confidence was thought of as attractive and sexy to women, and was not considered provocative or offensive. Although nearly all the males saw these attributes as negative, one male participant,

PAGE 68

68 Chase (FG) echoed the rebellious idea brought up by the females and expla ined that Model 2 probably rides a motorcycle and has a tattoo. Intimidating, scary, bitchy (males only) : Whereas females discussed how Model 2s facial expression made her seductive, empowering, confident and eye-catching, males found her facial express ion intimidating. They felt that she looked like she had an attitude, said she looked scary, and several participants described her as bitchy. These participants explained their reactions: She just looks like shed scare me! She looks like she wo uld be a complete bitch, to me at le ast. I dont like bitchy girls. Jake (FG) She looks very intimidating. Like shes about to bite somebodys head off. Al (FG) Another participant felt that Model 2s facial expression conveyed a clear message: She looks like shes more critical, or discerning. Its clear that she knows shes out of my league, with the look on her face. She looks a little bitchy. Jesse (FG) There were several other reasons male participants cited for Model 2s intimidating nature. One parti cipant said she looked like she was high maintenance and two participants said she looked smart, as in she looked like she could outsmart them. Overall, females found Model 2 empowering, while males found her fearful due to the power she exuded. Summary The female participants liked Model 2 more than Model 1, mostly because Model 2 did not look as done up, looked more natural and was empowering. Moreover, the female participants nearly all agreed that Model 2 appealed to both men and women, but f or different reasons. However, some female participants said that Model 2, like Model 1, just looked like a normal model, and a few participants mentioned that Model 2 was still not that relatable. Male participants had an overall negative reaction to M odel 2. They were intimidated by Model 2s facial expression and said she looked scary. Other negative descriptions of Model 2

PAGE 69

69 included dark, angry, and edgy. However, one participant, Mike (FG), had a positive reaction to Model 2 and said, She ma kes you feel good, I like her better. She looks like shes smiling a little, so she looks happy to see me or something. Responses to Model 3 Model 3 was the first Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next Door model shown. She had shoulder length blonde hair, minima l make up, and was wearing a cotton bra and underwear. She was shown from the knees up, with her back slightly turned to the viewer. Model 3 brought up similar repeated descriptors from the female and male participants. They described her as normal, real, average, natural, old, and awkward. Female participants also repeatedly called Model 3 relatable. In addition, males described Model 3 as approachable and pretty but not sexually attractive. The male participants body language suggested that Model 3 made them feel comfortable but unexcited; when asked how she made them feel, the participants said they did not have any feelings in particular because she was pretty but not like their ideal woman. One focus group participant, Mike, said, Theres not really a feeling Im getting from this. Im not attracted to her. Model 3 was said to be more similar to female participants than either Model 1 or 2. She was described as being a normal person and just a regular girl. Accompanying such l ackluster responses was a lack of excitement exhibited by the participants; for instance, most females leaned back in their seats, almost as if Model 3 bored them or they didnt have to scrutinize every detail of Model 3 because she was similar to them. W hen asked what celebrity Model 3 was like, both female focus groups produced Renee Zellweger as a response. Participants said Model 3 reminded them of Renee Zellweger in the Bridget Jones Diary movies, and described the character Bridget Jones as a norm al woman who was not skinny and was a little awkward. Other celebrities mentioned were Cameron Diaz,

PAGE 70

70 Michelle Pfeiffer, and Christie Brinkley. Females also said Model 3 looked like a model for Jergens Age Defying Lotion, Aveeno, or Dove. Males name d celebrities Calista Flockhart (namely her role in the television show Ally McBeal) and Michelle Pfeiffer as similar to Model 3 because of physical characteristics. Martha Stewart was also named because some male participants said Model 3 looked like a mo ther or someone who would be cooking, cleaning, and partaking in household projects. Many males said she did not remind them of any celebrity in particular. Resulting categories Participants had a mixed reaction to Model 3, saying both positive and negative things about her. The responses have been divided into themes and are discussed below. Natural, normal, real : This was the most prevalent theme throughout the discussion of Model 3 for both the males and females. Participants said she looked like a typi cal, normal, and average person; others said she was nothing special. Females from both focus groups and interviews described her as more real and natural and less airbrushed than the first two models, and also said she was not perfect. Par ticipants consistently said she did not look like the stereotypical model, as Amy (FG) explained: She looks like a regular girl, not a model. Similarly, male participants made comments about how Model 3 looked like a real person and that she looked na tural. Two male participants also said she did not look like a traditional model. However, some female participants caught on to what this type of model or advertisement was trying to do; for example one female participant said, It looks like an ad th at is trying to portray a normal person.

PAGE 71

71 Other participants commented on her body type, size and weight, which were discussed in relation to her assumed age. Participants had both positive and negative reactions to Model 3s body: I think she looks real. She looks good though. Obviously, shes not 16 but her body looks good. Kristine (FG) It looks like her metab olism went up at a normal rate. (laughing from group) Katielyn (FG) Many male participants also thought Model 3 was larger in size as compared to Models 1 and 2. The participants did not think this was a bad thing for women in general but hinted that it was not the greatest trait for an advertising model to have. The participants responses and body language pointed to the idea that a model with normal body weight, average looks, and a natural appearance bored them. This was illuminated by a few female participants who explained that Model 3 looked like themselves or someone they knew, which did not excite them because it didnt show anything new stimulating or inspiring. This idea is discussed more deeply below. Relatable, approachable : Nearly every female participant suggested that Model 3 was relatable, meaning they thought she was quite similar to them in terms of her level of physical attrac tion. Some male participants also felt that her real image made her easier to relate to. For instance, Shes got a little bit of weight on her. The position shes in doesnt flatter her. Shes not fat, but shes not like a traditional modelI mean she j ust looks like she represents people average women -better than the smaller ones. I think she s easier to relate to. Jake (FG) In regards to her personality, the females thought Model 3 was approachable, calling her friendly, fun, bubbly, play ful, and down-to -earth. One participant said, Her personality is showing. The more I look at her, the prettier I think she is. A female participant added that M odel 3 looked more respectable and said

PAGE 72

72 I think (advertising) portrays women like were all suppose d to be some really sexy girl, and this is more like, yes, you can be sexy, but you dont have to shove it in everyones face. You can look approachable and respect yourself. Guy s can respect you like this. Laurie (FG) The male participants also felt that Model 3 was more approachable than the previous two models. They described her as less intimidating, and said that her facial expression and natural appearance made her appear easier to talk to. Males also explained that Model 3 looked more approachable because of her assumed good personality. Participants described her as light hearted, down -to -earth, easy going, and warm. Some participants explained: She definitely looks like she has more of the personality tra its that Im attracted to in a woman. Fun, happy, easy going. Jesse (FG) I mean, I guess I like that she looks happy and like shes having fun. And thats what I like to see. I like to see girls have fun. She looks like shes laughing, shes having a good time. Mike (FG) The mal e participants agreed that a good personality is a must have in their ideal woman. Several participants also noted she had a nice smile that made her seem more attractive. The relatable and approachable tags given to Model 3 showed that the participants would have probably liked Model 3 as a person; however, this liking did not provide a correlation for liking of a female model in an ad. This is due to the preference for an advertisement to show the ideal rather than the reality. Old, family -oriente d, motherly : Although this was a common theme among all participants, the male participants in particular believed Model 3 looked and seemed older than the other models. One participant said he thought Model 3 was in her mid thirties, while the others we re in their twenties. Many remarks about Model 3s age were related to the idea that she looked like a Mom, as several participants stated. One male participant said she looked family oriented, like she

PAGE 73

73 should be taking care of her children and husband. A female participant said Model 3 looked like she would have children at home. Blaine, a male interviewee, explained, Her facial expression, her undergarments what shes wearing and her pose make her look more modest and motherly than the other mo dels. S everal male participants agreed that she reminded them of a young Martha Stewart and said they pictured Model 3 to be in an ad for food, cleaning items, or household ads. The thought that Model 3 was mature and maternal was seen as a negative qualit y. The male participants explained that were turned off by Model 3 mainly because of these associations. The females also saw old and motherly as damaging qualities because women in their early twenties -like the participants -are not inspired by mother like figures in their mid thirties. Therefore, these descriptions produced the idea that mothers or motherly types are not sexy or inspiring for this demographic. Uninspiring, boring (females only) : In responses from female participants, two sets of des criptions stemming from the belief that Model 3 was boring and uninspiring suggested that if a model does not catch your eye, she will not inspire you either. Some of the descriptions about how boring and uninspiring Model 3 was included the fact that she wasnt wearing much, if any, make up, her hair looked weird and she had roots. They also described her pose as awkward and said she was covering and guarding herself to suggest that she lacked confidence. Another important element to note is tha t Model 3 was deemed as boring for use in an advertisement by many female participants. When asked if they liked Model 3 in the context of an ad, several female focus group participants responded immediately in this exchange from the first focus group: Lyn n: The other ones, its like, Oh, I want to look like this. But this one, I mean, I already look like that.

PAGE 74

74 Taylor: I feel like the damage is already done. You alr eady kind of know that theyre trying. Theyve used the skinny models, and now people are t rying to use these models to appeal to more people Amy: Id have to say that if it had always been like this, s ince the beginning of time, it would be bette r. But it hasnt been that way. Lynn: YeahThe other look i s more appealing. Analiz: Theres nothin g about her that like pops out at you. There has to be something to catch your eye, you know? The premise that a model must be eye -catching and inspirational was repeated throughout the focus groups. Since Model 3 was seen as common and boring, she did not possess any qualities that made her stand out in an advertisement. Pretty but not sexually attractive (males only) : Nearly all of the male participants felt that Model 3 was a pretty or cute woman. However, not one participant said she was sexually a ttractive or that they were attracted to her. When discussing how approachable Model 3 looked, Justin (FG) said, Shes definitely more approachable not that I would approach her! This shows that males are interested in the fantasy (Model 1) rather than the reality (Model 3). Other participants went on to say that Model 3 was more similar to their ideal woman in the sense that she seemed more natural than Models 1 and 2, but that she was not attractive enough to be their ideal woman. Summary Overall, the male and female participants had very similar reactions to Model 3. The participants had many positive things to say about her, including that she looked natural, friendly, relatable, and approachable. Participants thought Model 3 had a good pe rsonality.

PAGE 75

75 Negative comments also abounded, however. Participants said that Model 3 was not catchy in the context of an advertisement because she looked older, seemed like she should have children, and did not look completely comfortable in her own skin by the way she was covering herself. Male participants also added that she was not sexually attractive. In addition, most participants said they had no feelings, either positive or negative, when they saw Model 3. Responses to Model 4 Model 4 was the last mo del shown, as well as the last Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next Door model. She had shoulder length brunette hair, was wearing a white cotton camisole, had on minimal make up, and was shown straight on from the waist up. Model 4 produced a mixed reaction from the participants in both of the focus groups, as well as in the in depth interviews. She was most commonly described by female participants as cute, young, friendly, wholesome, girly, and normal. Like Model 3, Model 4 was described as being normal and average. However, another school of thought emerged, and some participants claimed that Model 4 was boring and said things like she does nothing for me. Male participants regularly used words such as normal, pretty, cute, and approa chable to describe Model 4. Nonverbal behavior and body language of the female participants for Model 4 was similar to that exhibited during the discussion of Model 3, with many participants looking bored. In contrast to Model 3, however, a lot of partic ipants smiled when they saw Model 4 and appeared to like Model 4 better than Model 3. Males body language suggested that, like Model 3, Model 4 made them feel comfortable but did not excite them. Model 4 was thought to be the most similar to the majority of female participants, with descriptions such as she looks like she could be one of my friends and she looks like the girl next -door supporting this belief. When asked how Model 4 made them feel, females responded

PAGE 76

76 similarly to how they responded to M odel 3. They said they did not have any strong feelings one way or another and that Model 4 was just a normal person. Nearly every male and female participant thought Model 4 was similar to Jessica Biel. Participants said Model 4 reminded them of Jessica Biel because they were both casual, pretty, and friendly. One female focus group participant said Model 4 was similar to Jessica Biel because, Jessica Biel is really natural. She works out and shes thin, but shes sexy because shes confident in herself A male focus group participant explained that Model 4 was similar to Jessica Biel before she got on a work -out plan. Other celebrities mentioned by females were Rachel McAdams, Rachel Bilson, Katie Holmes, and Drew Barrymore. Other celebrities mention ed by male participants were Katie Holmes and Natalie Portman. Females also said Model 4 was akin to an ad in Teen People magazine and ads for low to mid level clothing lines. As one participant said, I picture her modeling lingerie or whatever, sleepwea r, in a Dillards or JCPenney magazine. But I cant see her modeling for anything high end. Carly (FG) In terms of the types of products models like Models 3 and 4 would advertise, the female participants did not name anything high -end or in the luxury se ctor, but instead named brands like Jergens and JCPenney. Resulting categories Overall, participants had mostly positive reactions to Model 4; however, the responses were lackluster and the participants seemed bored with her. The responses have been divided into themes and are discussed below. Cute, wholesome, girl next -door: Model 4 was frequently described by female participants as cute, wholesome, young, and girly. Most said that she was pretty in a normal, everyday sort of way. One female parti cipant described Model 4 as adorable and

PAGE 77

77 another described her as perfect. The female participants seemed to enjoy that Model 4 was not overtly sexy and that her personality showed. For instance, Kristine (FG), explained, Shes bringing out personalit y rather than sex. One participant explained their opinion of Model 4s physical appearance in the context of an ad: I think this is the type of ad that makes the consumer feel like they are better than the model in the ad. Instead of aspiring to be like them, you th ink Im better than that, so you have c onfidence when you see this ad. Ari (FG) Mostly, the comments about Model 4s cute appearance were positive. Other unique descriptions of Model 4 that relate to the idea of the girl -next -door inclu ded sporty, sassy, and school girl. Similarly, males said that Model 4 looked like a nice and innocent person. Participants used words such as sweet, modest and conservative to describe her. The male participants felt that she would be a kind natured person, and several said she looked l ike she had a good personality. For instance, She looks sweet, and maybe theres more to her. Shes not, like, super -shallow, based on the picture. Justin (FG) Relatable, approachable : As with Model 3, the pa rticipants found Model 4 to be natural, normal, and real, which, as with Model 3, made her relatable to females and approachable to males. Females said she looked like a normal girl. Many males said Model 4 did not look like a traditional model Part of this belief stemmed from her body type, which the male participants thought was larger than that of a normal model. For instance, She doesnt look as skinny as your traditional model. S hes not fat though. She looks like she has a little bit of weight on her, which isnt necessarily a bad thing. Jake (FG)

PAGE 78

78 Id say she doesnt look like a model to me. She looks li ke a normal person. Like, if I saw her on the street, I wouldnt expect her to be a model. Sh es not all done up, shes not in a glamour shot, shes just kind of standing there with a smile. Mike (FG) The participants thought Model 4s natural appearance made her more approachable. Justin, a focus group participant, explained, (Shes) definitely more approachable. Like you would see her and think, Im going to talk to that girl. As with Model 3, male and female participants found Model 4 relatable and approachable, but this again did not necessarily transfer into partiality toward her in the context of an advertisement. Friendly, good personality: Most participants commented on Model 4s assumed personality, which they perceived to be pleasant. These implied associations of personality were created mostly by the facial expression of Model 4, which was a simple smile. Females in particu lar called Model 4 friendly. This idea was brought up repeatedly and in several different ways. First, there were a group of female participants who thought Model 4 looked like someone who could be her friend: She looks like someone that I would be frie nds with. S omeone who I could talk to and hang out with. Katielyn (FG) For the females, there was also the idea that her friendly personality was something to aspire to, rather than her appearance: Shes not someone you aspire to be, but shes someone you aspire to know. She looks like she would be a good friend. Kristine (FG) However, some participants also felt that her friendly personality and appearance was a disadvantage for Model 4 in the context of an advertisement: What does this woman portray? Y ou can wear this little get up and lookfriendly? (laughing from group) Carly (FG) I mean I feel like thats my best friend. Im not trying to be like my best friend. Kristine (FG)

PAGE 79

79 Although friendly is a desirable trait in real people or acquaintan ces, the female participants explained that an advertising model is not someone you can be friends with and therefore should not look like a friend. In other words, a model that looks like a friend also looks like the viewer, which does not provide inspira tion for the viewer. In relation, male participants explained that Model 4 looked like she had a good personality by calling her happy, sweet, and warm. Because of her assumed personality, some males said she was similar to their ideal woman. For ex ample, Shes happy, and my ideal woman is happy. She look s comfortable with who she is. Jake (FG) However, some participants said that it was difficult to tell what kind of personality Model 4 indeed had due to her rather dull physical position and facia l expression. Boring, mundane: Another theme that developed for Model 4 was that she was boring. Many participants felt that Model 4 simply would not catch their attention in an advertisement. Another popular sentiment is that a model must have something eye -catching or intriguing about her, and Model 4 does not have a unique quality that draws the viewer into the ad. One female participant elaborated, She doesnt do anything for me. I wouldnt buy or not buy the product by seeing this adThere has to be a degree of attraction. Shes not we aring anything eye -catching. I think we all fee l that we could look like that. Kristine (FG) Pretty but not sexually appealing (males only) : The males described Model 4 as cute and pretty. The participants especial ly liked her smile and comfortable physical stance. However, much like with Model 3, males said she was not sexually attractive and they were not attracted to her. Many went on to say that their ideal woman would be more attractive than Model 4. Howeve r, the participants seemed to appreciate her innocent demeanor and natural appearance,

PAGE 80

80 and because of these things, she somewhat similar to their ideal woman. One participant clarified: As far as being my ideal woman, her smile is more attract ive than any thing else. If she was just standing there, I wouldnt find her attractive at all. But since shes smiling, she looks happy and I like that. As far as everything else goe s, her body type and length of her hair, its not really for me, or at least not what I ima gine now for my ideal woman. Mike (FG) However, the bottom line with the male participants was that their ideal woman and advertising model should be more physically attractive and sexy than Model 4. Summary Male and female participants reacted posi tively to Model 4s appearance and her assumed personality. Most participants said that she looked cute and friendly and gave her a variety of endearing labels. Nonetheless, both male and female participants felt that Model 4 was not a good advertising model because she was unexciting and had no special qualities about her. Therefore, no matter how much the participants liked Model 4 as a person outside the context of advertising, once she was placed in an ad, they felt she became boring and unappealing In addition, male participants did not find her sexually attractive, which they implied that they preferred in an advertising model. Recognizing Differences b etween the Two Types of Models Another idea that recurred as each focus group progresses was ho w the participants felt that any of the given models could look sexy and/or provocative with the right pose, make up, hair, and facial expression. One participant explained this idea in relation to Model 3 and the pose she was in versus the pose of Model 1: If her arms were like over her head or something, she would look more sexy. Her pose just looks more natural rather t han seductive. Katielyn (FG) Another female participant said something similar about Model 4. She explained Model 4 could easily look se xy rather than wholesome with the right cosmetic adjustments:

PAGE 81

81 I mean, they could have easily put some dark make up on her, roughed up her hair, and we could have been like, She looks like Model 1. Carly (FG) Just as the female participants said, male pa rticipants also explained that while Models 1 and 2 may have been more beautiful to begin with, their provocative nature was due to their hair, make up, and pose. The participants elaborated: The first two models looked more serious. I guess their poses we re more provocative. I think they could definitely do that with Models 3 and 4. All they would have to say i s, Okay, lose the smile, stand like this, stare at the ca mera like you want something. (laughs ) So the feel is different. You know, get on the be d, look this way and it could look like a totally different image. Mike (FG) I could actually see all them doing (what any of them are d oing). I think its all in the makeup, hair, pose, all that. Jesse (FG) However, the participants did not think that Models 1 and 2 could as easily look as natural and realistic as Models 3 and 4. One male participant explained that although it could happen, Models 1 and 2 could not look natural and real to the same degree as Models 3 and 4. Favorite and Least -Favorit e Models Near the end of the focus group, the participants were shown the four models again at the same time. The participants were first asked to select their favorite model for use in an advertisement. Then, the participants were asked to explain their c hoice. The participants were also asked to choose their least -favorite model and explain their decisions. Favorite Model When asked which model was their overall favorite, many participants immediately said that it would depend on the brand or product at hand, and that it also depended on the publication where the ad was to appear. Although the participants were not prompted to imagine the models in any particular ad for a certain product, both males and females alluded to the idea that the brand or product each model was hypothetically advertising could affect how the model was liked.

PAGE 82

82 However, the female participants ultimately selected Model 2 as their overall favorite model for use in an advertisement, while males chose Model 1. The females explained th at they liked Model 2 because she was eye -catching, empowering, and inspiring. In addition, Model 2 had a natural beauty that made her appearance realistically attainable. Participants explained their decision: Shes empowering. Her a ttitude and her natu ral beauty. Kristine (FG) Shes almost naturally sexy. Shes not showing much, but he r face conveys that. Carly (FG) Like when you showed us the four models together, she popped out. She jumped out at me more. Amy (FG) Other reasons females cited for choosing Model 2 included the fact that she left a little to the imagination, she was myste rious, and she was striking. Male participants overall chose Model 1 as their favorite model for use in advertising. They felt that she was the most attractive an d hottest of all of the models. Participants explained their choice: I think shes the best looking one, physically. Jake (FG) Shes definitely the most attractive one, even though Im more partial to brunettes and dark eyes. Shes probably in the best pose out of all four that appeals to me. Mike (FG) If Im just flipping through a magazine, Model 1 would catch my eye for sure. Al (FG) Participants cited only physical reasons for choosing Model 1 as their collective favorite. Both females and males said that their next -favorite model for use in an advertisement was Model 4. Females cited mainly aspirational reasons for why they chose Model 2 over Model 4. Participants explain: I think when you see advertisements, you dont want to see someone who loo ks blah, like the person next door. Like, I would rather see someone who looks like (Model 2) than someone who looks l ike the girl next -do orAnd I guess I would want an advertisement to

PAGE 83

83 like make me want to look like her, m ake me want to dress like her, ma ke me want to use that (product). Not just some rando m girl. Carly (FG) I mean, I feel like thats my best friend ( points to Model 4). Im not trying to be like my best friend. Like, Model 2 is perfect because I want to be like her. Kristine (FG) I want an advertisement to show me something I can aspire to. Laurie (FG) Basically women lie, because they say they want someon e relatable, but thats a lie! Women want to look at people and be inspired. Ari (FG) Males liked Model 4 because they felt that Mode l 4 was approachable and seemed like someone who they would date. One male participant summed up the distinction between Models 1 and 4: Id probably like to date Model 1, but if I had to appr oach one of them, Id approach (Model 4). Jesse (FG) Louis (FG) said that he would like Model 4 the most if she was in the same lingerie Model 1 was wearing. Therefore, the sexiness that Model 1 exuded-in this case, due to her clothing -made her more appealing than Model 4. However, one interviewee who liked M odel 4 explained, She looks like someone I could bring home to the pare nts. Thats the kind of girl I want. Steve (IV) In both the male and female participants, there were a few choices that differed from the bulk of the participants preferences. A few female participants indicated their favorite model to be either Model 1 or 3. One focus group participant chose Model 1 because she said she wanted to look like her and loved her hair, as she was always trying to get her hair to be blonder. Another femal e focus group participant chose Model 3 as her favorite model because she said she looked fun and bubbly. She continued by saying that she just looked happy and content with herself. Likewise, a few male participants indicated differing choices fro m the bulk of the participants choices for favorite model. An interviewee chose Model 2 and explained,

PAGE 84

84 I mean, I like her intensity. She looks like shes saying, Br ing it on. I like a confident woman. Davis (IV) A focus group participant also chose Mod el 2 because he was intrigued by her. No male participant selected Model 3 as their favorite. Least -Favorite Model When asked what their least -favorite model in the context of an advertisement was, the female participants were split between Model 1 and 3, while the males selected Model 3. Females explained they disliked Model 1 because she was fake, physically different from the participants, hard to relate to, and she looked like she was in an ad that would attract a man. Female participants dislike d Model 3 because she somehow seemed older than them, she looked uncomfortable or awkward, and she did not inspire them. The male participants said Model 3 was their overall least-favorite model for similar reasons. They also said she seemed to be older and out of their age range, and suggested that she was in an ad for a womans product, which did not appeal to them. They also found her to be the least physically attractive. Participants explained: She see ms older, like my moms friend. Jesse (FG) I f elt that she was the least attractive. I mean, I like that sh e looks like shes having fun, but she looks older a nd I dont find that appealing. Mike (FG) As with the selection of favorite model, there were a few distinct responses when choosing the least -favorite model. A female focus group participant said her least -favorite model was Model 2, because she looked scary, like she was going to eat someone. A few female participants said Model 4 was their least -favorite because she did not do anything for them and they found her boring.

PAGE 85

85 Only one male participant did not select Model 3 as his least -favorite model. The focus group participant adamantly stated that he did not like Model 2. He said she looked angry and there was something about her he did not like. Summary The male and female participants tended to react differently in most cases to the models. However, there were some similarities between the genders in relation to specific ideas or comparisons. Below is the summary of responses and findi ngs of the present study. Summary of Responses to Models Overall, the female participants in both the focus groups and in -depth interviews recognized that Models 3 and 4, the Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next Door (CCG) models, were easier to relate with, wer e more natural, and seemed more similar to themselves than Models 1 and 2, the Sexy/Sensual (SS) models. The females tended to say mostly positive things about the CCG models, especially Model 4, but as a whole, chose Model 2 as their favorite model for us e in advertising. Female participants called Models 1 and 2 aspirational, while Models 3 and 4 were relatable. The male participants in both the focus groups and in -depth interviews overall found that Models 1 and 2 (the SS models) were more attractive and sexually appealing, while Models 3 and 4 (the CCG models) were more approachable, more natural, and seemed to have better personalities than Models 1 and 2. The males tended to say mostly positive things about the CCG models, but found them mundane i n the context of an ad and did not think they were sexually attractive. Model 2 was seen as intimidating, while Model 1 was seen as shallow. On the whole, however, the male participants seemed to have the most favorable response to Model 1 and were more ex cited and stimulated by her than the other models. Male participants said that Models 1 and 2 were out of their league, while Models 3 and 4 were approachable. Both male and female

PAGE 86

86 participants also brought up the idea that Models 1 and 2 looked like reg ular models and Models 3 and 4 did not look like typical models. Comparing the Male and Female Participants Responses There was a discrepancy between the male and female participants in the responses to the models, especially when choosing their favorit e and least -favorite models of those shown. The male and female responses were similar in a few aspects, however, as indicated above. Points of differentiation and similarity have been further discussed below. The comparison begins with the central phenome non of each gender, which is the favorite model choice. The analysis then moves to discuss supportive themes that help explain the central phenomenon. Proposed theories for each of the genders and a theory comparing the genders are discussed in Chapter 5. The female participants had a very strong negative reaction to Model 1, whom male participants chose as their collective favorite. Female participants called Model 1 provocative, sexy, trashy, slutty, stupid, and fake, all of which had negativ e connotations. The female participants concluded that Model 1 was someone who would be in an ad targeted toward a man. They found her pose to be especially male-oriented. On the other hand, male participants liked her pose and called it appealing. The male participants also said Model 1 was provocative, sexy, sexually appealing, and attractive, all of which were said with positive intonation. Both the male and female participants found Model 2 to be provocative, sexy and attractive. Howe ver, there was a discrepancy in the ways the genders perceived her facial expression, stance and assumed personality. For instance, females said Model 2 was empowering, confident and seductive, while the male participants called her

PAGE 87

87 intimidating an d bitchy. The female participants chose Model 2 as their favorite of the models, while several male participants chose her as their least favorite. Model 3 was seen across the board as natural, real, and normal. Both sets of participants also thought she looked older than the other models and that she was like a mom. Males and females alike did not believe Model 3 was a traditional model. However, the females were harsher on Model 3 than were the males. For example, the female participants calle d her pose awkward, while the males said she looked like she was having fun. Females saw through Model 3s big smile and au naturale appearance, and said she was in an ad that was trying to appeal to normal women. The male participants said she had a nice smile and looked like she was downto -earth, light -hearted, and warm. However, despite the warm descriptions, the females and males both chose Model 3 as their least -favorite model for use in advertising. Both males and females explained that o f the four models, Model 3 would appeal to them the least of the in an advertisement. When discussing Model 4, male and female participants had similar responses and said she was cute, natural, and not a typical model. Female participants called Model 4 girly, wholesome, young, and said she was like the girl -next -door. Female participants said she reminded them of one of their friends, and that Model 4 is the kind of girl you hope to know as a person. Male participants described her as approac hable, natural, and pretty but not sexually attractive. Collectively, the females said Model 4 was their second -favorite model, as did the males. An important note is how both the female and male participants classified the models. Both genders place d Models 1 and 2 in the same group, and placed Models 3 and 4 in a different group. Both sets of participants recognized that Models 1 and 2 were similar in some ways as

PAGE 88

88 were Models 3 and 4. For instance, when a male focus group participant first saw all f our models together before analyzing each model individually, he said Well, the two on the left are in provocative poses, while the two on the right are in nice, sweet poses. So that probably has something to do wit h the product theyre selling. Jesse (FG ) Female participants called Models 1 and 2 aspirational, while Models 3 and 4 were relatable. Male participants said that Models 1 and 2 were out of their league, while Models 3 and 4 were approachable. Proposed theories, implications of findings, suggestions for marketers and advertisers, limitations of the study and proposals for future research are discussed in Chapter 5.

PAGE 89

89 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION As discussed in Chapter 4, this study produced a discrepancy between the male and fem ale participants in responses to female models. The results point to the generation of several proposed theories, which are explained below. Proposed Theories After analyzing the collected data, the researcher proposes several theories to explain how cert ain models appeal more than others to the men and women in the study. The theories below explain and answer the research questions. I. How do Sexual/Sensual (SS) models and Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl -Next -Door (CCG) models appeal to men and women? Overall, t he males and females in the study reacted differently to the models. These differences, along with a few similarities, point to a cross -gender theory that explains how both of the genders perceived models in this study. The females found one SS model (Mod el 1) to be slutty, trashy and stupid. The other SS model, Model 2, the female participants found to be sexy, attractive, and empowering, and they chose her as their collective favorite. The females found one of the CCG models (Model 3) to be old, motherly, awkward, yet cute and natural, while the other CCG model (Model 4) was said to be friendly, cute, sweet, yet boring. The females in the study said that although they like models that are relatable and similar to themselves or their friends (CCG models) they do not want to see this type of model in advertisements. They would rather see a model that inspires them (SS models). The males in the study reacted favorably to Model 1 (SS) due to her sexy and beautiful appearance and reacted somewhat negat ively to Model 2 (SS) due to her presumed attitude and intimidating personality. The male participants found Model 3 (CCG) to be old and motherly,

PAGE 90

90 yet happy and fun, while they found Model 4 (CCG) to be cute, natural and sweet. While most of the males in the study reacted somewhat positively to Models 3 and 4, they also do not like to see a normal woman (CCG models), but rather, a woman who inspires them in the context of an advertisement (SS models). Therefore, both the males and females in the study prefer female models that contain an element of inspiration and/or aspiration for them, albeit this works in different ways for each gender. The women in the study want to be inspired for their own personal appearance, whereas the men in the study want to see a woman they aspire to date. This is best explained by Kristine (FG), who said Model 2 was the best choice because she appeals to both men and women: men love her, women want to be her. Although the men in the study did not choose Model 2 as their c ollective favorite, many thought she was eye -catching, sexy and attractive, which are all things that the males believed advertising models should possess. II. What model characteristics appeal to men? The men in the study prefer to see models who are similar to the type of woman they would like to date, not a woman that they could actually picture themselves dating. In other words, the male participants prefer to see women they aspire to date rather than women who they would date in reality. Although some males explained that Model 1 was not very similar to their ideal woman, many others suggested that they would like to date her but they thought she was out of their league. The males in the study overall agreed that a female model must be sexy or eve n seductive. They enjoy seeing models like that because they inspire a kind of sexual or relational fantasy for them. This is what Model 1 did for the male participants and thus was the reason that she was selected as their favorite. In addition, the mal es in the study felt that models

PAGE 91

91 that are not viewed as sexy are also not inspiring. Therefore, it is concluded that sex appeals work in advertisements for the males in the study, where appropriate. It is also important to point out that some males in the study said they liked an advertising model to be smiling, a sign of submissiveness which relates to the idea that males want to be dominant (Goffman, 1979). Many said that Model 1 would be even better if she had a smile on her face. For example, Justin (FG) explained, I noticed that both the kind of provocative pictures, neither one was smiling. But I feel like some times a smile attracts me more. Therefore, if Model 1 had been smiling, she may have received even higher praise from the male participants. In fact, a smile was one major point of liking for Models 3 and 4 and a point of disliking for Model 2 among the male participants in the study. Rather than a full -out smile, Model 2 had more of a mysterious smirk. This contributed to the overall dislike of Model 2 by the male participants, even though they found her attractive and sexy. The males deemed Model 2s smirk and facial expression intimidating, scary and bitchy. Therefore, the use of an empowering female model is not effective in an ad directed toward men. III. What model characteristics appeal to women? Women in the study, on the other hand, prefer models that are realistically aspirational. That is, the women in the study want to see models that possess a type of beauty or appearance that is a ttainable or closer to their own personal reality. Female participants found Model 2, their collective favorite, sexy, naturally beautiful, mysterious, and empowering. These were all qualities that the participants aspired to have. Female participants als o explained that a model that is relatable is a good thing, as long as she is not completely normal. In other words, females enjoy models that are not

PAGE 92

92 unfathomably beautiful, thin, or perfect, as one interviewee said. They want someone who they can a spire to look like, but that particular look, body type, or beauty must be attainable. Female participants also agreed that there had to be something eye -catching about a model, and that she had to have some level of attraction. The female participants felt that Model 2 jumped out at them because of her dramatic stare, make up, pose, and beauty. The women in the study thought that the CCG models (Models 3 and 4) were likeable and natural but explained that these models did not possess an element of uniq ueness or some eye-catching quality. While some females in the study found Model 1 sexy and attractive, she was also described as slutty and trashy. Therefore, it is concluded that over the -top sex appeals do not work in advertisements directed toward the women in the study. However, more subdued and understated sex appeals do work for the women in the study, as indicated by the positive response to Model 2. The women in the study overall agreed that an advertising model should be sexy but not overtly s exual, over the top or fake. Female participants liked that Model 2 was modestly dressed but still sexy. The female participants cited that this idea of leaving a little to the imagination was prevalent in both Models 2 and 4 and was something they desir ed in an advertising model. Carly (FG) explained, Models 2 and 4 leave something to the imaginationMode ls 1 and 3 are just all there. What you see is what you get. Female participants said that they preferred the face of a model to show, as were the face s of Models 2, 3, and 4. Female participants mentioned several times that they did not like how part of Model 1s face was covered. This, they said, placed the emphasis on the body of the model, which does not make a model more appealing to women. The wome n in the study prefer to see more face rather than a scantily clad body.

PAGE 93

93 IV. Are certain models more appealing to men and/or women both in an advertising context and out of an advertising context, or are certain models only appealing when in an advertisem ent or out of an advertisement? Somewhat of a surprise was the way the participants in the study found certain models to appeal to them but only out of an advertising context. The females in the study found one SS model (Model 1) to be slutty, trashy, skan ky, and stupid. They did not like Model 1 as a model alone or in an advertising context. The women in the study found Model 2 to be sexy, attractive, and empowering, and they chose her as their collective favorite in the context of an ad and also had posit ive reactions to her as a stand alone model. The women in the study found Model 3 to be old, motherly, awkward, yet cute and natural. They explained she probably had a good personality. They chose Model 3, along with Model 1, as their collective least -fav orites in the context of an ad; however, they had somewhat positive reactions to Model 3 out of an advertising context and called her fun, happy and friendly. Model 4, on the other hand, received a good amount of praise from the women in the study, who sai d she looked friendly, could be one of their friends, looked cute and seemed like she had a sweet personality. Despite these terms of endearment, the women in the study explained that Model 4 was boring in an advertisement. This relates to the idea that th e women in the study like to see aspirational models. The men in the study said Model 1 was their collective favorite for an advertising model due to her sexy and attractive appearance; however, they explained that she was probably shallow and unintelligent as a person. Model 2 was also said to be attractive, but the male participants said they did not like her as a model or in the context of an ad due to her presumed bad attitude and personality.

PAGE 94

94 The men in the study had overall good things to say about the CCG models (Model 3 and 4). Although they said Model 3 was their least -favorite model collectively, they said she looked approachable, fun and happy. Similarly, the male participants found Model 4 to be cute, sweet, approachable, and similar to the type of girl they would actually date. However, the men in the study explained that models like Model 3 and 4 did not do anything for them in the context of an ad, suggesting that the men in the study, like the women in the study, prefer to see an aspiratio nal model in an ad. Therefore, while they reacted somewhat positively to Model 3 and very positively to Model 4, the males in the study still chose Model 1 as their favorite model for use in an advertisement. The researcher has proposed a theory that stat es that for both the men and women in the study, the type of model that would appeal to them as an individual or person may not necessarily appeal to them as an advertising model. Therefore, an advertising context can change the way a consumer perceives a model and should be taken into consideration. Now these proposed theories are discussed in relation to the previously explained body of literature and theoretical framework below. Findings in Relation to Body of Literature and Theoretical Framework The r esults of the present study both contradict and support prior research. For instance, Tsai and Chang (2007) found that both male and female adolescents (ages 18 to 19) preferred averagely or normally attractive models over highly attractive models. Contrad ictorily, the perceived highly attractive models, the SS models, were found to be more effective for the age range (18 24) and participants in the present study. Although the age range was wider and older in the present study, the researcher believed the T sai and Chang (2007) study would provide a correlation. However, the researcher concluded that for both male and female participants in the

PAGE 95

95 study, SS models were better liked and participants explained they would be more eye -catching and more effective tha n the averagely attractive, or CCG, models. Another point of appeal for advertising models for both males and females is the assessed match between the model and the product. Participants described this as a logical connection between a model and the pr oduct or brand, known as the Beauty Match-Up Hypothesis (Solomon et al., 1992). According to Solomon et al. (1992), the Beauty Match-Up Hypothesis states, perceivers distinguish multiple types of good looks, and that in advertising, certain beauty ideals are more appropriately paired with specific products than with others ( p. 23). Although the participants were not prompted to imagine the models in any particular ad for a certain product, both men and women alluded to the idea that the brand or product e ach model was hypothetically advertising could affect how the model was liked. Participants suggested that if Model 1 was advertising lingerie, the advertisement would be more effective than if she was advertising a fast -moving consumer good, such as soap, shampoo or toothpaste. Similarly, a participant said that if Model 3 was advertising a fast-moving consumer good the ad would be more effective than if she was advertising underwear. Therefore, the present study upholds the findings of Baker & Churchill ( 1977), Solomon et al. (1992), and Bower & Landreth (2001) to suggest that the model and the product in an advertisement should matchup in order to be the most effective. The participants in the study explained that some models are better paired with h igh-end products or, alternatively, fast -moving consumer goods or low -end brands or products. Female participants especially spoke of the type of products each model may advertise. For instance, Model 1 was suggested as a lingerie model, while Model 2 was suggested as a fashion model for clothing brand Express. In terms of the types of products models like Models 3 and 4 would

PAGE 96

96 advertise, the female participants did not name anything high -end or in the luxury sector, but instead named brands like Jergens, JC Penney, Aveeno and Dove. This reflects an idea that more natural looking models can sell some products better than highly attractive models, while highly attractive models are better used for premium products. Linda Wells, editor -in -chief of Allure magazin e, explained about natural looking models: The products they're selling are mass market, so the [reali stic] positioning makes sense. It pulls them away from the crowd. I don't think it would be effective if they were selling[premium] items. Christian Dior isn't going to show real w omen -that is an aspirational brand, and it is priced aspirationally. (Branch & Ball, 2005) Therefore, it is not a new idea to use more natural, ordinary women to advertise fast -moving consumer goods or brands for the average consumer. However, for luxury or aspirational brands, an aspirational model is almost always used, and this idea was reflected by the female participants who recognized this trend. Solomon et al. (1992) also suggested there were six types of highly attractive models that could be suitably matched to communicate certain brand images. Goodman et al. (2008) concluded that these six beauty types actually condensed into two overall categories, Sexual/Sensual (SS) and Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next Door (CCG). These were the two model types that were used in the present study. Goodman, Morris and Sutherland (2008) found that the CCG models were more likable than the SS models. Although the present study also found that Models 3 and 4 (the CCG models) were overall mor e likable (because they were described in overall more positive terms) than Models 1 and 2 (the SS models), the participants agreed that the CCG models would not be more effective in the context of an advertisement. The researcher concluded that although c ertain models may be more likable by themselves (i.e., not in an advertisement), this liking does not absolutely translate into liking of an ad or to a more effective ad.

PAGE 97

97 Bower (2001) and Christy (2006) found that highly attractive models (HAMs) are not po sitively related to womens purchase decisions. Bower (2001) explained that women are not positively influenced to make a purchase by a model that makes the viewer feel inadequate. While Model 2 generally received positive reviews from the female participa nts, Model 1 often elicited responses about how thin or how fake she was. Female participants made remarks about Model 1 that pointed to the idea that she made them feel overweight or less than ideal, which supports Bowers (2001) findings. Christy (2006) had similar results and suggested that advertising that appears offensive to female consumers can adversely affect purchase decision. Female participants in the study called Model 1 slutty and trashy and said she was like a Playboy model, all of whic h were negative descriptions. Highly sexy models have been shown to be offensive to female audiences due to their provocative nature and oftenunprovoked emergence into females media touchpoints (Christy, 2006). However, the females in the study had posit ive reactions to Model 2, whose sexuality was subdued compared to Model 1s sexuality. This supports Christys (2006) findings that overtly sexual models are seen as offensive, whereas moderately or naturally sexy and/or attractive models are not offensive Therefore, if a model appears to be naturally sexy, it is more accepted by female audiences as opposed to models that appear to force or fake their sexual nature. Past studies indicated that sexual appeals used in advertising were more effective with mal e viewers than with female viewers (Parker & Furnham, 2007; Sengupta & Dahl, 2008). The present study supports these findings, since Model 1 the most sexually provocative of the models was found to be the collective favorite of the male participants. Pa rticipants spoke of Model 1 as unintelligent, largely due to her hair color. Females said she looked like a dumb blonde and one female said she did not look like she was educated.

PAGE 98

98 This inference based on hair color reflects the long -time American myth t hat blondes are unintelligent (Loftus, 2000). Similarly, participants felt that Model 2 looked more intelligent than Model 1, due in part to her darker hair color. On a related topic, male participants felt that Model 1 must be unintelligent because she wa s so beautiful and sexy. This reflects the idea that many males believe a female cannot have both brains and beauty, so to speak. This double bind is the suggestion that females are merely bodies or wombs, not brains or intelligence (Jamieson, 1995). Mod el 2 was considered beautiful and attractive by most of the participants. Important to note is that her beauty was seen as attainable to the female participants. Realistically attainable beauty is something that women see as within reach for themselves rat her than beauty that is perfect and flawless (Lippert, 2006). Although the participants saw Model 2 as highly beautiful, she provided inspiration that was reasonable and feasible. This appealed more to the participants than Model 1s beauty, which was seen as unattainable, far -fetched and fake. Similarly, the participants descriptions of Model 3 and Model 4s natural appearance points to a trend in the media, where this type of beauty is becoming more widespread. More attainable and natural types of beauty are in vogue, as demonstrated by television shows such as ABCs Ugly Betty and advertising campaigns such as Doves Campaign for Real Beauty (Lippert, 2006). Social Comparison Theory was presented as the theoretical background for the present study. S ocial Comparison Theory suggests that individuals feel compelled to compare themselves with other people and with social standards (Festinger, 1954). Participants in the present study actively compared themselves with the models, although males and females made comparisons in different ways. To start, the female participants spoke of a felling of inferiority when seeing beautiful celebrities or women in the public eye. This inferiority that females

PAGE 99

99 experience is a result of upward comparison of Social Compa rison Theory (Festinger, 1954). Thus, by making an upward comparison of themselves to women in the public eye, the female participants experience dislike for their own bodies or appearances. The female participants compared themselves to each model, some of which was prompted and some of which was not. For example, the female participants were asked how each model was similar and dissimilar to them, leading to a discussion of how they related to each of the models. However, some of the comparisons were not prompted, such as comparisons of body weight and size. Particularly with Model 1, women said they were not as skinny or small as the model, but that Model 1s body was what men preferred. The women in the study explained that Model 1 was what men want ed women to look like or even what women wanted to look like. For example, a female focus group participant explained, (Model 1s) what women want to be. But very few actually look like that. This aspirational idea suggests a comparison between not only their own bodies but social standards as well. Social Comparison Theory states that individuals feel compelled to compare themselves with other people and with social standards for improvement purposes (Festinger, 1954). Conversely, Models 3 and 4 made th e female participants feel better about themselves because they believed they were better than these models. This idea of one as better than the model is a result of downward comparison between oneself and another (Festinger, 1954). Men made comparisons between themselves and the models in terms of what kind of woman they aspire to date. Again, some of these responses were drawn out by the moderator by asking how each model was like their ideal women, and some responses were not prompted by the moderator For example, males said Model 1 was similar to the kind of women they would want to date, but as one participant said, Model 1 was out of his league. Similarly, males said

PAGE 100

100 that Models 3 and 4 looked more approachable and were the types of women they woul d date in reality but would rather date Model 1. Therefore, males compared themselves to the type of woman they could date in actuality the type of woman they would want to date ideally. The male and female responses support Social Comparison Theory. Howev er, Social Comparison Theory does not explain all of the responses by the participants. Other existing theories are related to this studys findings and will be introduced in an effort to more thoroughly explain the responses. Social Cognitive Theory expl ains that most of consumers social behaviors are learned by watching others behaviors and applying these learned experiences to future behaviors (Bandura, 1994). Essentially, this theory explains how images in advertising and media can influence consumer s and how this affects their perceptions. Social Cognitive Theory applies to both women and men, as both genders learn from the world around them and apply this to future actions. The present study saw this by participants comments on how Models 1 and 2 l ooked like regular models and hinted that they were used to seeing models such as this. This may explain why a few participants said they were emotionally unaffected by the SS models. Throughout the study, the female participants discussed how a particu lar model provided inspiration for them and in some cases discussed how they wanted to be more like a certain model. The idea of a model providing inspiration to the viewer is related to Active Audience Theories. These theories relate to the ways that view ers or consumers actively use the media, including advertisements, and in many cases, the media are their main source of information about social processes and imagery (Stacey, 1991). Stacey (1991) explains that cinematic films can produce many identificat ory fantasies and practices that relate to the visual viewpoint

PAGE 101

101 women have when seeing models or actresses in cinema, advertisements, and so forth, and help explain how the females in the study reacted to the models. Most commonly, female participants indicated the fantasies of the desire to become, or the desire to be more similar to the star; devotion and worship, which occurs when a star is seen as other -worldly that can only be admired from afar; pleasure in feminine power, which occurs when a st ars personality or behavior is admired or even envied by spectators; and identification and escapism, which occurs when the spectator takes pleasure in the escape from reality when she sees a beautiful star that is believed to be better than reality (Stacey, 1991). In addition, women indicated the extra cinematic identificatory practice of copying and consumption, which occurs when one copies a stars appearance by consuming cultural products such as clothing or a hairstyles in order to become more lik e the star (Stacey, 1991). The fantasy of desire to become was the most common fantasy indicated by the female participants. One female focus group participant explained that she didnt want to look like an average woman when showering, and instead wa nted to look like Reese Witherspoon showering. The idea of a model providing inspiration to the viewer is related to the desire to become, or the desire to become more like the star. In this case, the participant explained that she wanted to look like Reese Witherspoon in the shower, either by her actions or by her appearance or both, which reflects this cinematic fantasy. Therefore, Reese Witherspoon served as the role model that contributed to this participants construction of ideals of feminine attr activeness (Stacey, 1991). Another participant explained that Model 1 inspired her to exercise more. Again, this relates to the desire to become, as the participant explained that Model 1 provided inspiration to get in shape (Stacey, 1991).

PAGE 102

102 Model 1 wa s described by many female participants as having a type of beauty that is unrealistic or altogether unattainable. This is described by Stacey (1991) as the cinematic fantasy of devotion and worship, which occurs when a star is seen as something immortal that can only be admired, never attained. Although in this case, the women did not come forth with positive descriptions of Model 1, she was still viewed as a woman who had unachievable features. Model 2 was seen by most female participants as confident a nd empowering. Her assumed personality was strong and was described by several female participants as something women was to be, but cannot always find within themselves. This theme of empowerment and confidence was thought of as attractive and sexy to wom en, and was not considered provocative or offensive. This relates to the cinematic fantasy of pleasure in feminine power, which occurs when qualities of power and confidence offer pleasure to female spectators because they are qualities they themselves l ack and desire (Stacey, 1991). Models 3 and 4 were described as being normal people and just regular girl(s). As such, the female participants found Models 3 and 4 uninspiring, boring and mundane for use in advertisements. They explained that a model h as to be eye -catching, and a model that looks like a normal, average or regular woman is not eye -catching. This points to the idea that fantasy is better than reality, as explained by the cinematic fantasy of identification and escapism (Stacey, 1991). T hat is, females take pleasure in the escape from reality when they see a beautiful star that is believed to be better than reality (Stacey, 1991). Female participants also spoke of engaging in the copying and consumption identificatory practice. The co pying and consumption cinematic practice occurs when one copies a stars appearance by consuming cultural products such as clothing or a hairstyles in

PAGE 103

103 order to become more like the star (Stacey, 1991). The female participants discussed the idea that adver tising models often serve as an inspiration for hairstyles, clothing, general appearances or an overall look or style. Therefore, Models 3 and 4 did not provide a look or style that the female participants wanted to emulate, since they were seen as uninspi ring. Finally, the Influential Persuasion Knowledge Model developed by Friestad & Wright (1994) suggests consumers in modern society have developed an extensive amount of knowledge about persuasive tactics used by marketers and use this knowledge to manage persuasion attempts by marketers and advertisers. Consumers, therefore, draw negative inferences about persuasive devices that are perceived to be manipulative. This model explains why some participants, specifically the females, felt that Models 3 and 4 were trying to appeal to average, normal women. These participants appeared to judge the use of a CCG model in an advertisement as a tactic that was supposed to trick an average woman into liking the ad. In other words, the participants did not feel the advertiser was using an averagely attractive model in the ad because it truly felt the models own physical merits would sell the product. Instead, they felt a model such as Model 3 or 4 was used to make everyday women feel better about their own bodies. In this study, however, the female participants outsmarted the hypothetical advertiser and saw through this approach. They concluded that the use of averagely attractive models was only an advertising tactic that did not necessarily appeal to them. Practi cal Implications for Marketing and Advertising Professionals This studys purpose was to contribute to existing advertising research to help marketing and advertising professionals better select models for use in advertising when targeting women, targeting men, and targeting both women and men. The selection of a spokesmodel for an advertisement is an important process because an advertising model can be linked with the ability to effectively persuade consumers, influence purchase decisions, and create a hi gher level

PAGE 104

104 of advertiser believability (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). In general, beautiful people are perceived to have more socially desirable traits, such as a prestigious job, a happy family and marriage, and a more contented social and occupational life (D ion, Berscheid, and Walster, 1972). Past research has shown that beautiful advertising spokespersons are also seen as more successful, trustworthy and content, and are more likely to be seen as someone the target audience wants to emulate (Joseph, 1982; Hoyer & MacInnis, 2007). The researcher has concluded that Sexy/Sensual models are more effective for both the male and female participants in this study. However, the females in the study do not like overtly sexual images or the use of blatant sex appeals. The women in the study tend to prefer someone who they aspire to look like, but the goal image has to be attainable. The men in the study tend to prefer someone sexy who is similar to the type of woman they aspire to date; however, many of the men in the study also prefer an advertising model to be smiling. Another element that is critical is selecting a model based on the product itself. Both male and female participants suggested that the effectiveness of a model intensely depends on the brand or produc t they represent. A key idea produced by this study was that female participants labeled the SS models aspirational, while calling the CCG models relatable. This is important to understand when selecting a model for a high -end, glamorous product (where a SS model would be more appropriate) or a fast -moving consumer good (where a CCG model would be more appropriate). Another interesting trend uncovered by the researcher is that while some models appealed to the men or women in the study just as models a lone, consumers may sometimes change the way they perceive a model when the context changes from a stand alone model to an advertising

PAGE 105

105 model. Therefore, it is important to conduct pretesting of models alone and/or models within the given advertisement to a llow for such differences in perception. These results will help advertisers select a model that most effectively appeals to the target audience. As aforementioned, the model in an advertisement can greatly affect how consumers feel about the ad and brand, and can also lead to their ultimate purchase decision. Therefore, it is crucial that advertisers take great care in choosing an appropriate model for an advertisement, and take into consideration not the target audience, the models physical traits, and t he product at hand. Limitations Although this study adds to the body of literature on this topic, there are several points of weakness of the present study. First, the participants used were all current college students between the ages of 18 and 24. This particular demographic almost certainly holds differing ideals from other groups, including other age groups and education levels. Also, only Caucasian participants and models were used, therefore only representing Caucasian ideals. Secondly, due to the nature of recruitment for the study, it was difficult to have an even number of male and female participants. The researcher was limited to using participants that were recruited from classes at her own university, where a professor offered extra credit to students for their participation. Thus, because the classes from which the participants were recruited were predominantly female, the study had many more female participants than male participants. If money was not an issue, the researcher could have more effectively recruited an even number of male and female participants by paying for participation instead of relying on extra credit points. In other words, the researcher had to take what she could get in terms of participants. However, responses from both the male and female focus groups reached theoretical saturation and the in-depth interviews were found to uphold the focus group findings, therefore

PAGE 106

106 the researcher does not believe the validity of the findings was greatly affected by the difference in num ber of male and female participants. Third, the researcher chose the four models that were used as the heart of the study. The researchers own idea of what constitutes a Sexy/Sensual model versus a Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl Next -Door model inevitably aff ected the ultimate choice of models. The models were chosen because the researcher felt they clearly fit into the respective category. Although the researchers committee agreed that the selected models fit into the descriptions of either a SS or CCG model the researchers bias undoubtedly came into play. This bias could have been corrected by the use of original photographs done for the purpose of this study, where all of the models were wearing identical clothing. This would have made the models more ali ke in physical appearance, thus easier to compare. Since there was much discussion about the hair color, pose, and clothing of each model, placing models in identical situations would have eased these points made by participants. Also, the models should ha ve been shown from the waist up in order to focus more on the facial qualities of each model. A larger number of models would have also helped ease the preconceived notions of the researcher. In addition, the use of a quantitative coding system for each models facial attractiveness would have ensured that the models were appropriately placed into each category. Future Research Future research should add several more of each type (SS and CCG) of model to the discussion. Future research may be improved if the models are as standardized as possible (i.e., same clothing, same hair color, pose, etc.). That way, certain biases, such as males preferring blonde or brunette women, would not get in the way of their assessment of the models. In addition, the qualitat ive results of this study may have been further supported by adding a quantitative method, such as a survey, to the research. A survey would provide numerical data

PAGE 107

107 to back up the findings of the focus groups and in-depth interviews and would account for a larger number of participants opinions and responses. Lastly, as suggested above, the researcher used only Caucasian college students between the ages of 18 and 24. It would be interesting and insightful for advertisers to understand how the perceptions of female models change or stay the same as consumers age by conducting a cross comparison of males and females of several different age groups. Also, comparing responses across several different education levels and racial backgrounds could more thoroughl y explain consumers reactions to female models, therefore further helping advertisers to effectively select female models for use in advertising. Conclusion The researcher has completed the present study with a conclusion that the males and females in th e study prefer an advertising model that inspires them in one way or another. For the females in the study, this inspiration is drawn from the type of appearance the model possesses and whether or not this appearance is the type that she desires for hersel f. For the males in the study, this inspiration is drawn from the level of physical attractiveness the model possesses and whether or not he desires to date a woman like the model. That said, the effectiveness of a female advertising model also depends on the product she represents and individual viewers personal tastes and preferences. The researcher has found that in the case of the male participants in the study, sex appeals can effectively catch and hold their attention, which may translate into a posi tive purchase decision. For the female participants in the study, blatant sex appeals using female models are not effective. The women in the study would rather see a realistically beautiful model that they can aspire to look like. The researcher feels th at the present study has effectively added to the ongoing discussion on whether sex and beauty sell. Although a qualitative study cannot generalize for a given

PAGE 108

108 population, the researcher has found that for both the male and female participants in the pre sent study, Sexual/Sensual models more effectively and positively attract attention.

PAGE 109

109 APPENDI X A SCREENING QUESTIONNA IRE Thank you for filling out this form. The information you will be providing will help us to place you in a focus grou p with people who are very similar to you. All information in this form will remain CONFIDENTIAL. The researcher and her advisor will be the ONLY people with access to this information. After your data has been recorded, these questionnaires will be shredded. We will report some of the basic demographic information in our research report (age, gender, race, year in school), BUT YOUR NAME WILL NOT BE ATTACHED to your information in any way and your name will not appear anywhere in the report. 1. Name: ______________________________________________ 2. Class in which you will receive Extra Credit for participating: Course Number: __________________ Instructor: _______________________ 3. Your Email Address: ________________________ 4. Cell phone or main phone number where you can be reached: ___________________ 5. Please check one or more of the sessions below when you are available to participate. (You will only participate in one session. All sessions will be in held in Weimer 2008.) FEMALES: Wednesday, November 5, 6:00 pm Wednesday, November 12, 7:30 pm -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------MALES: Wednesday, November 5, 7:30 pm Wednesday, November 12, 6:00 pm You will be notified by email and/or telephone within the next week if you qualify to participate in this st udy. Thank you! I understand that the information I provide will be kept confidential and separate from my identity and any other identifying marks. I give my consent for my personal information to be used only by the researcher. Signature: ___________ __________________________________________

PAGE 110

110 1. Gender: Male Female 2. Age: _______ 3. What best describes your racial background? Check only one. Caucasian/White Asian African American/Black Native American Hispanic/Latino O ther: ______________________ Pacific Islander 4. Have you lived in the United States for 15 years or more? Yes No 5. Are you an undergraduate UF student? Yes No

PAGE 111

111 APPENDIX B PARTICIPANT DEMOGRAP HIC QUESTIONNAIRE Please answer the following questions. Your answers will be kept CONFIDENTIAL and will only be used by the researcher. Your contact information will only be used by the researcher if he or she should need further information or clarification. This questionnaire i ncludes some questions about personal information that will be kept confidential and will not be used in conjunction with your name or other identifying marks. Thank you for participating in this study. 1. Name: ______________________________________________ 2. Todays Date: ____________________ 3. Class in which you will receive Extra Credit for participating tonight: Course Number: __________________ Instructor: _______________________ 4. Email Address: ________________________ 5. Cell phone or main phone number where you can be reached: __________________ I understand that my responses will be completely anonymous in the final research report and I give my permission for my responses to be audio taped. I give my consent for my personal information to be used only by the researcher. Signature of participant: ____________________________________

PAGE 112

112 1. Age: _______ 2. Major: ______________________________ 3. Year in School: Freshman Senior Sophomore Other: _____________ ___________ Junior 4. Please list your Fathers highest level of education completed : some high school Bachelors Degree/4 year college degree high school diploma Masters degree or higher some college Other: ______________________ vocational program Not sure AA/2 year college degree 5. Please list your Mothers highest level of education completed : some high school Bachelors Degree/4 year college degree high school diploma Masters degree or higher som e college Other: ______________________ vocational program Not sure AA/2 year college degree 6. Please list your approximate usage of AM and/or FM radio during an average week (Satellite radio not included). none less than one h our a week 1 5 hours a week more than 5 hours a week 7. Please list your approximate usage of the Internet during an average week, including checking email and using social networking sites. none 4 hours a week or less 5 9 hours a week 1014 hours a week 15 hours a week or more

PAGE 113

113 8. Please list approximately how much you watch Television during an average week (not including having the TV on when you are not watching). none less than one hour a week 1 4 hours a week 5 8 hours a week more than 8 hours a week 9. Please list how much you read magazines during an average week. I do not read magazines I usually read a portion of one magazine a week I usually read about one entire mag azine a week I usually read about two entire magazines a week More than three entire magazines a week 9a. Which magazines do you read often? Please list: ____________________________________________________________ 10. Please lis t how much you read newspapers (including online newspapers) during an average week. I do not read newspapers I usually read one or more newspapers one day a week I usually read one or more newspapers 2 3 days a week I usually read on e or more newspapers 4 6 days a week I read one or more newspapers every day of the week 10a. Which newspapers do you read often? Please list: ____________________________________________________________ 11. What best describes your sexua l orientation? Heterosexual Homosexual Other: _________________________ Prefer not to say

PAGE 114

114 APPENDIX C MODERATORS GUIDE Introduction and Welcome statement: Hello and welcome to our Focus Group. My name is _______________ and I will be your Moderator this evening. This study is for graduate research for a masters thesis. Assisting me tonight is ________________________. Tonight, well be discussing your thoughts, opinions, and experiences about womens portrayals in advertising. We are interested in all of your idea and comments and there are no wrong answers, but rather different points of view. Please feel free to share your point of view even if it differs from what others have said. Keep in mind that were just as interested in negativ e comments as positive comments, and at times the negative comments are most helpful. Before we get started, the restrooms are located ______________ and there is soda and pizza, so please help yourself. Before we begin, let me suggest some things that will make our discussion more productive. Please speak up. Only one person should speak at a time. Think of this as a conversation, with all parties involved please speak to one another, not just directly to the moderator. Please be courteous and do not t alk over someone else or interrupt. Were tape recording the sessions because we dont want to miss any of your comments. Were on a first -name basis, and in our later reports there will not be any names attached to comments. You may be assured of confide ntiality. As moderator, my goal is to simply listen to the discussion. I will ask questions to the group and sometimes follow up questions to be sure I have understood what you have said. Opening Question: 1 Lets start by going around the room and saying your name, your major, and your favorite female celebrity or woman in the public eye. Introductory Questions: 2 When your friends talk about women in the media, who do they talk about? Possible Prompts: What do they say about these women? What about th eir personal lives? What about actresses? What about musicians and singers? What about journalists or TV reporters? What about politicians or political figures? 3 How do these women who are in the public eye make you feel? Possible Prompts:

PAGE 115

115 How do they i nfluence your life? How do they make you feel about your body? How are they are similar to you? 4 What makes a woman in an advertisement appeal to you? Possible Prompts: What is your ideal advertising model? How important is it for a model to be similar to you? How does a model influence your attraction to an ad? How does a model influence how you remember or recall a brand? Transition Question: Now were going to look at some models that have been used in advertisements. Were focusing on the models them selves, so each model has been removed from the ad. All 4 models are displayed on the projection screen. 5 What is your first impression of the models on the screen? Key Questions: 6 Now look at Model 1. [First Sexual/Sensual model] Only Model 1 is displayed on the projection screen. How would you describe this model? Possible Prompts: What celebrity is she similar to? For female groups: How is this model similar to you? How is she different from you? For male groups: How is she like your ideal woman? H ow is she different from your ideal woman? 7 How does she make you feel? 8 Now look at Model 2. [Second Sexual/Sensual model] Only Model 2 is displayed on the projection screen. How would you describe this model? Possible Prompts: What celebrity is she simi lar to? For female groups: How is this model similar to you? How is she different from you? For male groups: How is she like your ideal woman? How is she different from your ideal woman? 9 How does she make you feel?

PAGE 116

116 10. Now look at Model 3. [First Cl assic Beauty/Cute/Girl -Next -Door model] Only Model 3 is displayed on the projection screen. How would you describe this model? Possible Prompts: What celebrity is she similar to? For female groups: How is this model similar to you? How is she differen t from you? For male groups: How is she like your ideal woman? How is she different from your ideal woman? 11. How does she make you feel? 12. Now look at Model 4. [Second Classic Beauty/Cute/Girl -Next -Door model] Only Model 4 is displayed on the projection s creen. How would you describe this model? Possible Prompts: What celebrity is she similar to? For female groups: How is this model similar to you? How is she different from you? For male groups: How is she like your ideal woman? How is she differen t from your ideal woman? 13. How does she make you feel? 14. Now lets look at all four models again, side -by-side. Which model is your favorite? Possible Prompts: What about the model influences your decision? 15. Again looking at all models side -by-side, which m odel is your least favorite? Possible Prompts: What about the model influences your decision? Ending Question: 16. Would you like to add anything else or is there something you think is important that we did not talk about? After the Discussion: Thank you for participating in this focus group today. Your responses will help the researcher with their research goals. With respect to anonymity, please do not discuss what was said in this group with anyone who was not a participant of the group. Thanks again for your time.

PAGE 117

117 APPENDIX D PARTICIPANT DEMOGRAP HIC INFORMATION

PAGE 118

118

PAGE 119

119 LIST OF REFERENCES Appeal. (2009). Merriam -Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved January 28, 2009, from http://merriam -webster.com/dictionary/attraction. Attractive. (2009). Merriam -W ebster Online Dictionary. Retrieved January 28, 2009, from http://merriam -webster.com/dictionary/attraction. Babbie, E. (2007). The practice of social research (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Baker, M. J., & Churchill, G. A. (1977). The im pact of physically attractive models on advertising evaluations. Journal of Marketing Research, 14, 538555. Bandura, A. (1994). Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication. In J. Bryant and D. Zillman (Eds.), Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Re search (pp. 64 90). Hillsdale, NJ: Laurence Eribaum Associates. Bower, Amanda B. (2001). Highly attractive models in advertising and the women who loathe them: The implications of negative affect for spokesperson effectiveness. Journal of Advertising, 30(1), 51 63. Bower, Amanda B., & Landreth, S. (2001). Is beauty best? Highly versus normally attractive models in advertising. Journal of Advertising, 30(3), 1 12. Branch, S., & Ball, D. (2005, May 19). Does reality sell beauty? Wall Street Journal p. B1. Caballero, M. J., Lumpkin, J. R., & Madden, C. S. (1989). Using physical attractiveness as an advertising tool: An empirical test of the attraction phenomenon. Journal of Advertising Research, 29, 16 22. Caballero, M. J., & Solomon, P. J. (198 4). Effects of model attractiveness on sales response. Journal of Advertising, 13(1), 17 23. Christy, T. P. (2006). Females perceptions of offensive advertising: The importance of values, expectations, and control. Journal of Current Issues and Resear ch in Advertising, 28(2), 1532. Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Dion, K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. (1972). What is beautiful is good. Journal of Personality a nd Social Psychology, 24(3), 285290. Deshpande, R., & Stayman, D. M. (1994). A tale of two cities: Distinctiveness theory and advertising effectiveness. Journal of Marketing Research, 31, 57 64.

PAGE 120

120 Duke, L. (2008, February 19). Focus groups Lecture prese nted to Masters students, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 11740. Friestad, M., & Wright, P. (1994). The persuasion knowledge model: How people cope with pers uasion attempts. Journal of Consumer Research, 21(1), 1. Garner, D. M., Garfinkel, P. E., Schwartz, D., & Thompson, M. (1980). Cultural expectations of thinness in women. Psychological Reports, 47, 483--491. Goffman, E. (1979). Gender Advertisements C ambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Goodman, J. R. (2007, November 5). Qualitative field research Lecture presented to Masters of Advertising students, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Goodman, J. R., Morris, J.D., & Sutherland, J.C. (2008). Is beauty a joy forever? Young womens emotional responses to varying types of beautiful advertising models. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 85(1), 147168. Gulas, C. S., & McKeage, K. (2000). Extending social comparison: An examination of the unintended consequences of idealized advertising imagery. Journal of Advertising, 29(2), 1728. Hosea, M. (2008, May 8). Case studyDove: Beneath the skin. Brand Strategy 20. Hoyer, W. D., & MacInnis, D. J. (2007). Consumer Behavior Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Jamieson, K. H. (1995). Beyond the double bind: Women and leadership. New York: Oxford University Press. Jankowski, N.W. & Wester, F. (1991). The qualitative tradition in social science inquiry: Contributions to mass commu nication research. In K.B. Jensen & N.W. Jankowski (Eds.), A handbook of qualitative methodologies for mass communication research, (pp. 4474). London and New York: Routledge. Joseph, W. B. (1982). The credibility of physically attractive communicators : A review. Journal of Advertising, 11 (3), 15 24. Kanner, B. (1994, December 20). Plump sells: Ads plain faces a bid to connect with customers. The Charlotte Observer p. D1, 8. Khan, H. (2008, November 6). Digital media viewed as reliable in face of uncertain economy: Studies still predict 15% growth for online ad spend in 2009. The Americas Intelligence Wire.

PAGE 121

121 Knodel, J. (1993). The design and analysis of focus group studies: A practical approach. In D.L. Morgan (Ed.), Successful focus groups: A dvancing the state of the art (pp. 3550). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Krueger, R. A. (1993). Quality control in focus group research. In D.L. Morgan (Ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art (pp. 6588). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Krue ger, R. A., & Casey, M. A. (2000). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Lavine, H., Sweeney, D., & Wagner, S. H. (1999). Depicting women as sex objects in television advertising: Effects on body dissa tisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 10491058. Lippert, B. (2006). Ordinary people: The new pretty. Adweek, 47 (46) 245, 1125. Loftus, M. (2000 March 13). The roots of being blond. U.S. News and World Report, 128, 10. Martin, M. C., & Kennedy, P. F. (1993). Advertising and social comparison: Consequences for female pre adolescents and adolescents. Psychology and Marketing, 10, 512 530. Mathes, E. W., & Kahn, A. (1975). Physical attractiveness, happiness, neuroticism and self esteem. The Journal of Psychology, 90(1), 27 30. Monk Turner, E., Wren, K., McGill, L., Mattiae, C., Brown, S., Brooks, D. (2008). Who is gazing at whom? A look at how sex is used in magazine advertisements. Journal of Gender Studies, 17(3), 201209. Morgan, D. L. (Ed.). (1993). Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Morgan, D. L. (1997). Focus groups as qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Parker, E. & Furnham, A. (2007). Does sex sel l? The effect of sexual programme content on the recall of sexual and non -sexual advertisements. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21(9), 12171228. Patzer, G. L. (1983). Source credibility as a function of communicator physical attractiveness. Journal of Business Research, 11 229241. Peterson, R. & Kerin, R. (1977). The female role in advertisements: Some experimental evidence. Journal of Marketing, 41(4), 59 63. Rand, C. S. W. & Wright, B. A. (2001). Thinner females and heavier males: who says? A comparison of female to male ideal body sizes across a wide age span. International Journal of Eating Disorders 29(1), 45 50.

PAGE 122

122 Reichert, T. (2003) The prevalence of sexual imagery in ads targeted to young adults. Journal of Consumer Affairs 37 (2), 4034 12. Reichert, T. & Carpenter, C. (2004). An update in sex in magazine advertising: 1983 to 2003. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(4), 823837. Reichert, T. & Fosu, I. (2005). Women's Responses to Sex in Advertising: Examining the Effect of Women's Sexual Self Schema on Responses to Sexual Content in Commercials. Journal of Promotion Management 11 (2/3), 142153. Reichert, T. & Lambiase, J. (2003). How to get Kissably Close: Examining how advertisers appeal to consumers sexual needs an d desires. Sexuality & Culture, 7 (3), 120 136. Richins, M. L. (1991). Social comparison and the idealized images of advertising. Journal of Consumer Research,18, 71 83. Sengupta, J. & Dahl, D.W. (2008). Gender related reactions to gratuitous sex appeals in advertising. Journal of Consumer Psychology (Elsevier Science), 18(1), 62 -78. Solomon, M. R., Ashmore, R. D., & Longo, L. C. (1992). The beauty match up hypothesis: Congruence between types of beauty and product images in advertising. Journal of Ad vertising, 21 (4), 23 34. Stacey, J. (1991). Feminine fascinations: Forms of identification in star -audience relations In Gledhill, C. (Ed.), Stardom: Industry of Desire (pp. 141163). London: Routledge. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qual itative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Walster, E. H., Aronson, V., Abrahams, D., & Rottman, L. (1966). Importance of physical attractiveness in dating behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4 508516. Wiseman, C. V., Gray, J. J., Mosimann, J. E., & Ahrens, A. H. (1992). Cultural expectations of thinness in women: An update. International Journal of Eating Disorders 11 (1), 85 89. Wood, J. V. (1989). Theory and research concerning social comparisons of personal attributes. Psychological Bulletin,106(2), 231248.

PAGE 123

123 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kristin Larson is a seventh -generation Floridian and was raised in rural Okeechobee, Florida. She graduated from Okeechobee High School in 2003 an d entered the University of Florida in the fall of the same year. While at UF, she majored in advertising and minored in agricultural c ommunication. Kristin graduated w ith her Bachelor of Science in a dver tising in December 2006, Summa c um Laude. After tak ing a few months to work in a public relations agency in Chicago, Kristin returned to the University of Florida in the fall of 2007 to pursue her masters degree in the College of Journalism and Communications After writing a thesis and completing coursew ork in advertising theory, planning, management, strategy and research, Kristin receive d her Master of Advertising in May 2009. Kristin enjoys traveling, taking photographs, watching Gator football, and spending time with loved ones, friends, and her dog P enny Anne. She plans to work in a Southeastern advertising agency with a career in account services and management.