Marketing importace of body image

Jan Koudelka


Consumer behavior is significantly influenced by body image. Psychological, social and cultural reflections of body image play serious role in marketing approach as they noticeably enter the buying decision process of consumers.
Commonly substantial attention is devoted to problems connected with body image due to their healthy life relations and media attractiveness.
Arising occurrence of critical data with regard to the worsening health condition of population used to be connected with marketing activities that leads to the increasing pressure on marketing regulation. That is why the research of this potential influence is very actual. Both the real body image impact on consumer behavior and the ideal body image imaginary should be explored.
Contrary to the importance of body image in consumer behavior, concentrated attention to it is relatively rare or even missing in marketing literature. There is also the other reason why to investigate it: naturally, there exist many differences in body image behavior among consumers . This implies the possibilities of physiognomic variables in market segmentation processes.
A lot of research lines and methods could be employed to investigate marketing specifics of body image. One area is represented by comparative analyses of various secondary data. For example, the Body Mass Index date, their structure and trends can indicate some backgrounds moments.
Data mining of syndicated data of marketing research agencies (such as project Market&Media&Lifestyle-TGI of Median agency in CR) offer an immense possibility to explore overall tendencies in body image consumer behavior, changes in time, cross relations between several body image variables and consumer descriptive characteristics. Moreover, body image behavior could be related to media behavior and attitudes to advertising.
Quantitative and qualitative ad hoc research represents further important research direction. It enables to explore specific levels of body image importance in consumer life and the possible influence of medial body image mirror.
Finally, substantial research line could be aimed on the advertising face. The content analysis of advertising is proper method with register units such as body mass, body type, skin type, hair type, activity, declared meaning I benefit, gender and age.
The above stated research lines are involved in the solution of grant project Marketing importance of body image (GACR 402I09I0311). First analyses of MML-TGI data have discovered some interesting findings.
The importance of attractive appearance is noticeable increasing but contrary the share of consumers who want to look better is decreasing. As for relation to advertising, consumers who think they are overweight stated that they could not trust in advertising.
The results indicate that the commonly applied opinion about the negative influence of advertising on body image of consumers is not proved.


Body image, consumer behaviour, consumer marketing, advertising

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Online: 2013-10-21