Research Shows Plus-Sized Models Are Better at Marketing Brands

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Research Shows Plus-Sized Models Are Better at Marketing Brands

According to a study from Florida State University, women are more likely to recall and pay attention to plus-sized and averaged sized models. Women also experienced a boost in their self-esteem after viewing these models.

In the study, 49 college-aged women were shown images of thin, average and plus-sized models, then asked various questions about their own body image after viewing each. Prior to the study, each woman said they wanted to be thinner.

When viewing thinner models, women were more likely to compare themselves to the model, but paid less attention to the characteristics and brand merchandising of the model. On the other hand, the women remembered larger models more easily, and reported feeling more better about their own bodies than when viewing thinner models.

Russell Clayton, the study’s lead author, believes these findings—and more like them—may change the methods used by modeling and marketing agencies. “it might be a useful persuasive strategy for media producers to employ plus-size models if the goal of the campaign is to capture attention while also promoting body positivity,” Clayton said.

Plunkett Research from 2012 showed that up to 67 percent of American women wear size 14 and up. In other words, approximately two-thirds are considered plus-sized by modeling standards—so it really doesn’t come as a surprise that these women feel happier and more confident when the models who represent their favorite styles look more like them.

In 2016, several companies saw increases in sales after using plus-sized models. American Outfitters and Lane Bryant respectively saw a growth of four percent and six percent respectively. Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue also used its first plus-sized model in 2016, Ashley Graham. This year Hunter McGrady continued the magazine’s trend of using plus-sized models.

Photo: Andres Eu Gordinho Bravo Vallejos, Flickr, CC-BY

Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.

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