Journal of Services Marketing
Management, Marketing and Business Administration
Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business
Purpose: As the cosmetic surgery industry grows and diversifies, societal beauty standards have shifted to include images of surgically enhanced bodies. With the increased use of influencer marketing, it is important for marketers to understand consumer perceptions of these modified appearances. This research uses the lens of perceived morality to investigate consumer perceptions of cosmetic surgery services and the effect of enhanced body appearance on consumer interest in an endorsed brand. Interpersonal similarity is tested as a boundary condition.
Design/Methodology/Approach: A mixed-methods approach was taken with a qualitative study and two online experiments. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling (NStudy 1 = 133) and Amazon Mechanical Turk (NStudy 2 = 202; NStudy 3 = 270).
Findings: The themes uncovered in the qualitative study revealed that cosmetic surgery services were acceptable when internally motivated but may signal inauthenticity. The findings of Study 2 suggested consumer interest in an endorsed brand was negatively impacted by body enhancement, with perceived morality as the underlying mechanism. Study 3 results demonstrated interpersonal similarity moderated this effect. The indirect effect was significant only for those low in interpersonal similarity.
Originality: This research contributes to the underexplored area of cosmetic surgery services and its role in influencer marketing. The findings extend the literature on consumer attitudes and perceptions towards these services and provides insight into the intersection of body enhancement and morality. The contribution is notable since marketers increasing rely on social media influencers, many of whom have undergone cosmetic surgery services and enhanced their body appearance, to promote their brands.
Lefebvre, S. and Cowart, K. (2022), "An investigation of influencer body enhancement and brand endorsement", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 59-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-12-2020-0509
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