Not so tall, white, and skinny anymore? How the image-shift in social media advertising affects young women’s happiness.
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- Master of Science 
This thesis was inspired by the observation of the imagery shift in social media advertising. Previously, the norm has been to epitomize a perfect image in line with Western beauty ideals. Recently, this perfect image has been challenged due to the rise of sociocultural movements. Resulting in many advertisers adopting a more realistic image. This study therefore aims to investigate how the shift in advertising images affects subjective happiness in young Norwegian women. To examine the relationship between the ad images and subjective happiness, self-esteem and internalization was included as moderators. Additionally, self-recognition in ad and social media frequency were identified as important factors which could affect the outcome. An online experiment was conducted where we manipulated the advertisements to demonstrate the defined image conditions. To analyze our results, a factor analysis, a one-way ANOVA, and a regression analysis was performed. Although we did not find statistical support for our research model, many valuable observations were made. The most important implication from our study is that advertising imagery sparks different reactions amongst consumers. Therefore marketers should carefully consider which imagery they utilize in their practices. Furthermore, the main limitation of the study is that happiness is affected by numerous factors. For further research, the inclusion of body image as a mediator should be explored as it is directly associated with well-being. Due to its relevance and importance, we recommend this topic to be researched further to obtain the real effect of how advertising imagery affects women’s mental health.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2022