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The role of a model’s race in influencing Chinese consumers’ product perception

Xiaobing Xu () and Rong Chen
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Xiaobing Xu: School of Economics and Management, Department of Marketing, Tsinghua University
Rong Chen: School of Economics and Management, Department of Marketing, Tsinghua University

Asian Business & Management, 2016, vol. 15, issue 3, 201-225

Abstract: Abstract Previous studies indicate that consumers generally favor ads featuring racially similar models. However, distinctiveness theory suggests that people in a homogeneous society may not treat race as a similarity trait. On the basis of stereotype activation and country-of-origin theory, we find the use of Western models in ads may enhance Chinese consumers’ product-attribute beliefs and attitudes. Our work also extends knowledge of gender differences in information processing by showing that the model-race effect is stronger in males; this is attenuated when the product is utilitarian rather than hedonic, providing an explanation of why some product categories in China are more likely to feature foreign models in ads.

Keywords: model race; country-of-origin; information processing; utilitarian product; hedonic product (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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