Purpose – This study seeks to investigate the relationship among attractiveness of female athlete endorsers, product/service match‐up, and consumers' purchase intention within the context of China. Design/methodology/approach – A 3×2×2 between‐subject experimental design enabled a 12‐scenario study depicting a purchase experience manipulated by endorser attractiveness levels (high/middle/low), endorser‐product match‐up (high/low), and two different product types (to prevent single‐product bias). Differences between female and male samples are also compared. Findings – In terms of the generation of purchase intent, there is no difference between a middle attractive female athlete endorser and a low‐attractive one when both are in a low match‐up condition. While the use of middle attractive female athlete endorsers works only in a high match‐up condition with female consumers, it is certain that high attractiveness always works better than low attractiveness. In total, the results suggest that female athlete endorsers' attractiveness affects Chinese consumers' purchase intention more than match‐up. Originality/value – The results not only compare the relationships between attractiveness and match‐up, but also push traditional endorser theories one step farther by examining the concept of middle level attractiveness and by probing the effect of a middle‐attractive female endorser. The cultural influence of Chinese traditional philosophy, The Doctrine of the Mean, on Chinese consumers is discussed and considered. The influence of middle attractiveness endorsers on study subjects of different genders is also discussed.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 26, 2011
Keywords: China; Gender; Consumers
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