Date of Award

Summer 6-26-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Margaret C Campbell

Second Advisor

Donald Lichtenstein

Third Advisor

Page Moreau


As marketers more and more are acknowledging the diversity of the American marketplace by using non-standard ad models (Zmuda 2014), understanding the potential risks and benefits of these non-standard models becomes important. My research shows that by including models who are members of a stereotyped group in an advertisement, there may be unintended consequences in how the brand or product is perceived. In this dissertation, I find evidence to support the idea that stereotype associations activated by the use of stereotypical models transfer to advertised products, influencing the perceptions of brand personality and product attributes, and that this transfer is more likely to occur when people are not paying full attention to the advertisement. Together, three of the seven studies demonstrate a stereotype transfer effect from advertising model to brand personality and product attributes. The stereotype transfer effect is shown across multiple stereotypes: occupational stereotypes (businessperson and stay-at-home parent), math-related female stereotypes, and stereotypes of overweight women. The studies indicate that it is more likely to occur under conditions of high cognitive load, when less attention is paid to the advertisement, and explore two alternative explanations for the effect.

Included in

Marketing Commons