Imagining Thin: Why Vanity Sizing Works
8 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2015
Date Written: December 13, 2010
Vanity sizing, the practice of clothing manufacturers, whereby smaller size labels are used on clothes than what the clothes actually are, has become very common. Apparently, it helps sell clothes — women prefer small size clothing labels to large ones. We propose and demonstrate that smaller size labels evoke more positive self-related mental imagery. Thus, consumers imagine themselves more positively (thinner) with a vanity sized size-6 pant versus a size-8 pant. We also show that appearance self-esteem moderates the (mediating) effect of imagery on vanity sizing effectiveness — while vanity sizing evokes more positive mental imagery for both low and high appearance self-esteem individuals, the effect of the positive imagery on clothing preference is significant (only) for people with low appearance self-esteem, supported by the theory of compensatory self-enhancement. Our suggestion of simple marketing communications affecting valence of imagery and consequent product evaluation have implications for many other marketing domains.
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