The role of social categorization of models on visual attention to features of print advertisements
Abstract: Recent trends in consumer behavior have resulted in brands’ use of models in ads that challenge essentialized social categories (e.g., racially ambiguous) to appeal to socially-conscious consumers. Although industry outlets propose tentative suggestions for mechanisms underlying positive responses to these models, little empirical research investigates how different aspects of social identity (e.g., race, gender) are associated with responses. Using a theoretical framework of social categorization (Macrae & Bodenhausen, 2000), the present experimental research used eyetracking to examine if visual attention to models in ads differs on the basis of social identity presentation and how attention is associated with consumer behavior measures like purchase intention. For ads with socially ambiguous models, it is expected that participants will demonstrate more attention to the model and less attention to the logo compared to ads with socially unambiguous models. A research question asks about the relationship of attention to these features with purchase intention.