Activating stereotypes with brand imagery: The role of viewer political identity

Justin W. Angle, Sokiente W. Dagogo-Jack, Mark R. Forehand, Andrew W. Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of ethnic imagery in visual identities of brands, such as those used by professional sports franchises, has long been a contentious issue in American society. This research investigates the oft-voiced argument that ethnic brand imagery perpetuates negative stereotypes (a claim that has been subject to very little empirical scrutiny) and identifies conditions under which encountering such brand imagery strengthens both positive and negative implicit stereotypes. Within the context of American Indian brand imagery, two laboratory experiments (Studies 1 and 2) and a quasi-experimental field study (Study 3) revealed that the effects of ethnic brand imagery on stereotypes depend on the viewer's political identity. Exposure to ethnic brand imagery strengthened implicit stereotypes only among more liberal individuals, consistent with the idea that liberals tend to hold more malleable views. These findings demonstrate measurable negative effects of ethnic brand imagery on implicit stereotypes and support the view that the use of such imagery can carry detrimental societal consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Ethnic brand imagery
  • Implicit social cognition
  • Political identity
  • Stereotypes

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