Advertising as unfavorable self-presentation: The dirty laundry effect

Tandy Chalmers Thomas, Rebecca K. Trump, Linda L. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Identity appeals - marketing communications that invoke one of the target market's identities - are typically well liked by consumers. In contrast with this notion, this research examines a situation when consumers respond negatively to identity appeals in advertising. Through three studies, we find that identity appeals fail when consumers judge an identity-congruent ad as portraying information about them that they would rather not have widely broadcast. In these cases, self-presentation concerns arise, leading to ad dislike. Thus, although identity-congruent ads resonate with consumers, such ads may lead to negative responses if consumers believe the ad airs their "dirty laundry." We discuss implications for targeted advertising and identity marketing strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-70
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Advertising
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Communication
  • Marketing


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