A/B Testing Idea #136 - When appropriate, employ charismatic models

Tactic_When appropriate, employ charismatic models


Using attractive models on your site can be very effective in the right context.

Studies have shown that using a model to market a product increases its credibility, how much attention people pay to it, and how likely they are to want to purchase it. Your customers will project the positive qualities the model embodies (attractiveness, happiness, health) on to the product or service they are marketing and will want to buy it in order to also benefit from these.

What's more, by displaying one indisputable positive trait (the attractiveness of the model) to your customer, they are likely to project other positive traits on to your product too. We have a tendency to only use selective information to make a general judgement on something. One positive attribute is sometimes all it takes for us to decide that all the other attributes associated with something will be equally as positive.

It's worth noting though that using attractive models isn't always appropriate, depending on what the product or service is that you offer on your site. This could actually harm credibility and reduce sales if your customers are looking for medical products or a funeral service, for example.

Inspired by Nick Kolenda 


  • Physical Attractiveness (Caballero & Pride, 1984; Kahle & Homer, 1985; Kamins, 1990; Bower, 2001; Tsai & Chang, 2007; Buunk & Dijkstra, 2011)
  • Halo Effect (Thomdike, 1920; Asch, 1946; Clifford, 1975)

The Research

Physical Attractiveness

Using physically attractive models in adverts can, dependent on context, help increase sales.

Halo Effect

The Halo Effect is the way in which we tend to see someone or something in a positive light due to just one positive trait that we are aware of, even if it’s not related at all.

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