Open Access
Johnson, Curtis J.T.
Graduate Program:
Media Studies
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
October 16, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Francis Erin Dardis, Thesis Advisor
  • attitude toward the model
  • atttitude toward the ad
  • racial identification
  • racial identity
  • masculinity
  • advertising
  • perceived masculinity
  • self-identification
  • self-image congruity
  • purchase intention
This study seeks to explore the role that racial identification, masculinity, and the race of an advertisement’s model plays in an individual’s reaction to an advertisement. It aims to reveal the unique effect that these measures of self-concept have on consumer preferences such as product evaluation, purchase intention, attitude toward the ad, and attitude toward the model. The role of self-concept in ad processing has been given little attention in past advertising research, with researchers opting to focus more on concepts such as message appeals and message content. However, research involving the self not only investigates a significant factor in consumer response but also is easily obtainable via self-reports, and should thus be given more attention in the field of advertising. Individuals vary immensely in their self-image; it is through research where we can determine how the differences in these aspects of self affect how consumers respond to advertised images. As predicted, Black participants who were exposed to an ad with a Black model demonstrated a more positive attitude toward the ad, higher self-image congruity, higher purchase intention and more positive attitude toward the model than those who were exposed to the White model. However, tests of responses of White participants did not yield similar results; Whites maintained a more positive attitude toward the ad featuring the Black model, and did not show preference for either the Black or the White model with regard to self-image congruity, purchase intention, and attitude toward the model. Furthermore, the interaction of masculinity and the race of the model yielded a significant interaction for Whites such that those high in masculinity showed a higher purchase intention when exposed to the White model, whereas those lower in masculinity exhibited a strong purchase intention for the product when presented with a Black model. No other effects of masculinity on the dependent variables were significant. However, the interaction of masculinity with the race of the model suggests that further research may uncover a deeper relationship between the effects of race and masculinity on reactions to advertisements.