Vanessa Apaolaza-IbÃ¡Ã±ez*, Patrick Hartmann, Sandra Diehl and Ralf Terlutter
Research suggests that the exposure to pictures of good-looking and even slightly above-average-looking females lowers the self-image of exposed women and increases dissatisfaction with their own appearance. This study analyses the effect of perceived instrumental/utilitarian and hedonic/emotional brand benefits on women’s satisfaction with cosmetic brands, focusing on relief from dissatisfaction with one’s self-image as one of four identified emotional brand experiences. A survey of 355 women was carried out, assessing instrumental and hedonic brand benefits of the brand used by each interviewed participant, as well as the degree of satisfaction with the surveyed brand. The collected data was modelled using structural equation analysis. Results indicate that utilitarian and hedonic brand benefits both contribute to satisfaction with cosmetic brands – with an overall stronger influence of emotional consumption experiences. The greatest influences were found for the feeling of relief from dissatisfaction with one’s self-image. This research reveals that one of the mechanisms through which cosmetics advertising works is by lowering women’s self perception in the first place and then delivering relief from this negative feeling as an emotional benefit through the brand. However, from an ethical point of view, such a strategy is questionable, especially given the problems of eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
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