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Do Clients Buy Skin Care for Benefits or Because It Makes Them Feel Good?

Posted: July 25, 2011

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Paradoxically, in order for the brand to provide this positive emotional experience, it must first cause consumers to have negative feelings about themselves, such as concern about and dissatisfaction with their appearance.

"One way of achieving this is by subtly telling them they are ugly—something that many cosmetics adverts achieve implicitly and very effectively by showing images of unusually beautiful women," the study points out. "The theory of social comparison has been used in various research studies to explain how using very attractive models in advertising can affect consumers," says Apaolaza.

"The basic premise of these studies is that consumers compare their own level of physical attractiveness with that of the models used in adverts, and that these comparisons give rise to negative effects in the way they perceive their own physical attractiveness and on their self-esteem. These effects are most heightened among people with the greatest awareness of their public image," she adds.

The study points to the need to eliminate these negative emotions and to soothe women's worries about looking good as one of their main psychological motivations for buying cosmetics.

Emotional need to attract the opposite sex

"Our emotions often dictate our decisions. In our buying behaviour, we make emotional decisions and justify them rationally. These emotions are in part learned and in part instinctive," points out Apaolaza.