To test the influence of model ethnicity on advertising effectiveness in East Asia, this research proposed a cue-triggered value-expressive model, according to which positive attitudes towards western models help consumers with independent self-concepts express themselves. Western models generated more favourable ad responses (ad credibility, diagnosticity and attitudes), promoted stronger self–brand connections and led to more favourable brand attitudes than did Asian advertising models among independent respondents in Taiwan. In contrast, consumers with interdependent self-concepts did not exhibit such differences. Independent self-concepts also consisted of two sub-dimensions: horizontal individualism focused on the desire to be different, and vertical individualism centred on the desire to be superior. The former dimension accounted for the enhanced effects of western models. Three experiments confirmed that expressing positive attitudes towards these advertising models served value-expressive functions among consumers with uniqueness self-concepts when they read ads promoting products that were publicly (Study 1 and 3) or privately (Study 2) consumed.
International Journal of Advertising,33(1), 155-177