New research from the University of Southern California found that, shocker, looking at images of happy couples when you’re single makes you feel crappy. Advertisers love to rely on the “lovey dovey” trope to sell things, assuming that people who aren’t in a happy relationship will see the product as the key to attaining kind of life they want (“aspirational”).
Instead, just the opposite happens: consumers think they aren’t worthy of the brand. What researchers refer to as single consumers’ perceived deservingness drops with each ad they see of a relationship they don’t have. The popular stereotype is that when people feel bad about themselves, they turn to retail therapy. Instead, they actually stay away from nice stuff. If they do indulge while in their funk, the things they buy usually are lower-end or, in the case of food, low-calorie. Keep reading »