Measures of Aesthetic Dimensions and Reactions in Advertising

April 15, 2021 - Bruce Huhmann

Citation: Zarzosa, Jennifer and Bruce A. Huhmann. 2019. “Measures of Aesthetic Dimensions and Reactions in Advertising,” International Journal of Advertising, 38 (2), 258-275.

Research Summary:
Increasingly, advertisements use discordant images that feature portrayals of models in unsettling situations and with unpleasant appearances rather than the traditional imagery featuring ideal settings, beautiful models, and aspirational products.  Do advertising images with weird or grotesque pictures actually work?  What makes such images effective? This paper applies art and aesthetic theories to develop valid and reliable measures of the aesthetic dimensions of advertising visuals and viewers' reactions towards them. These measures can help marketers understand which of their advertising images might improve perceptions of brand quality, win advertising industry awards, encourage consumers’ reposting and sharing on social media, or evoke a particular aesthetic response in a target market.