Self esteem is a reflection of how positive or negative a person’s self-concept is. People with low self-esteem do not expect that they will perform very well, and they will try to avoid embarrassment, failure, or rejection. In contrast, people with high self esteem expect to be successful, will take more risks, and are more willing to be the center of attention. Self esteem is often related to being accepted by others. For example, teenagers who are members of high status groups have higher self-esteem than their excluded classmates.
A recent study illustrates how this social comparison process works. The study showed that female college students tend to compare their physical appearance with advertising models. Study participants were exposed to beautiful women in advertisements. Afterwards the participants expressed lowered satisfaction with their own appearance as compared to other participants who were not exposed to the advertisements. Another study demonstrated that young women's perceptions of their own body shapes and sizes can be altered after the women had viewed as little as 30 minutes of television programming.
Self-esteem advertising attempts to change people’s product attitudes by stimulating positive feelings about the self. One strategy is to challenge the consumer's self esteem and then show a product or service that will provide a remedy. For example, the United States Marine Corps uses this strategy in its advertising slogan: "If you have what it takes” as does Zest when it says “You’re not fully clean until you’re Zestfully clean.”
Fantasy: Bridging the Gap Between the Selves
While most people experience an inconsistency between their real and ideal selves, for some consumers this gap is larger than for others. These people are especially good targets for marketing communications that employ fantasy to attract consumer attention. The marketing strategies allow consumers to create a vision of themselves by...