Do campaigns to alter our attitudes about size and body image have any effect?
Although groundbreaking initiatives, such as Dove's 2004 Campaign for Real Beauty, have been applauded for their attempts to broaden beauty standards, some experts doubt how successfully they sell products.
At Arizona State University, a marketing scholar in the W.P. Carey School of Business found that ads and catalogs featuring plus-size models are likely to backfire and contribute to low self-esteem that could dampen the enthusiasm to make a purchase.
"We found that overweight consumers feel worse about themselves after looking at any ad with models, because whether they look at thin or heavy models, they are only reminded that they are heavy," said associate professor Naomi Mandel, who conducted the new study with colleagues at the University of Cologne in Germany and Erasmus University in the Netherlands.