||According to human nature of having a taste for beauty, advertisers heavily rely on physical attractive male and female models as the product spokespersons to enhance consumers’ liking of the ad, and this is so-called “What-is-beautiful-is-good stereotype.” Previous research focuses on the impact of physical attractiveness of models on consumer perceptions and advertising persuasion. However, service is different from products due to the high intangibility and interaction with consumers. Therefore, this research takes one step forward to examine how a service provider’s physical attractiveness influences advertising persuasion. |
The present study uses experimental design to investigate the advertising effects of service provider’s physical attractiveness (high vs. moderate), gender congruence between service provider and customer (congruent gender vs. incongruent gender), and type of service (search service vs. experience service). Thus, 2x2x2 factorial design is conducted. The ad effects are measured by attitudes toward the ad and purchase intention toward the ad to observe the responses under eight different and fictitious scenarios.
The results indicate that, a highly attractive service provider is not necessarily more effective than a moderately attractive one. When promoting a service with search attributes, either gender congruence between service provider and consumer or service provider’s physical attractiveness matters in advertising persuasion. When promoting a service with experience attributes, a moderately attractive service provider is more effective than a highly attractive one in the condition of the same gender between provider and consumer. The findings suggest that companies and marketers should take account of not only the match-up of service attributes and physical attractiveness but also the target customer gender to enhance their advertising persuasion.