A qualitative investigation of the positive and negative associations of luxury goods and luxury goods advertising: do women feel their image is damaged by not owning advertised luxury goods?
(2015) A qualitative investigation of the positive and negative associations of luxury goods and luxury goods advertising: do women feel their image is damaged by not owning advertised luxury goods?, no. 93.
Purpose and Rationale - The purpose of this dissertation was to find if women felt their image was damaged by not owning luxury goods. A gap in the current literature was identified whereby many articles were found that relate to body image, personal debt, and materialism. However, no studies explored the reasons for women's dissatisfaction and reasoning for purchasing luxury goods that links the aforementioned into one study. In order to achieve this, the literature and research explored the negative consequences of luxury good advertising and the positive consequences of owning luxury goods to determine if this was the cause of women's perception and behaviour. Therefore, the rationale of the study is to fill this gap in the current literature and to determine whether women need luxury goods in order to heighten their image. Methodology/Approach - The literature review provided a multitude of reasons why women buy luxury goods. These were categorised as Materialism, Sociological, and Psychological. The reasoning and justification was provided in this chapter to aid the Methodology. After an analysis of the literature review, in comparison to the different research methods, an interpretivism philosophy was chosen. The topic aimed to explore the social phenomenon that is luxury goods advertising's effect on women. Whether that be a positive or negative, as opposed to the amount of people who feel this way. Therefore, a positivist paradigm was discounted as the author felt that this would not aid in reaching the research objectives. A qualitative approach in the form of focus groups and interviews was chosen as the method of research, as this would provide indepth answers and give the participants an avenue for discussion due to the semistructured nature of the questions that were posed. Findings - The results and discussion chapter identified a loop of luxury, whereby those that were materialistic felt more isolated and would buy products to make them feel happier, which in turn created more isolation. Another idea that was suggested was that luxury goods adverts portray a lifestyle that is highly desirable yet unrealistic. Conversely, they can buy the item in the advert, which compensates for not having the body image of the models. This chapter also discovered that the younger the participant, the more likely they were to compare themselves to other women, admit that they were materialistic and buy successive products to 'fit in'. The older age categories reported that they were not concerned about what other women thought, and advertising had little or no impact on what they bought or the way they viewed their self- and body image. Limitations - Future research is recommended for this topic. Firstly, a quantitative approach should be used to allow for a larger sample to provide more generalisable results that are representative of a larger population. Secondly, this study should be replicated for men in order to interpret if this is a social phenomenon that has begun to effect society as a whole as opposed to only focusing on women. Only a small amount of literature used in the review focused on both genders and there is a large gap regarding research on men. More specific examples of future research will be discussed in chapter five, such as research relating to the benefits of having luxury goods - are they real or imagined?