Ahn, S.J., & Bailenson, J.N. (2011). Self-endorsing versus other-endorsing in virtual environments: The effect on brand attitude and purchase intention. Journal of Advertising, 40 (2), 93-106.
Self-endorsing-the portrayal of potential consumers using products is a novel advertising strategy made possible by the development of virtual environments. Three experiments compared self-endorsing to endorsing by an unfamiliar other. In Experiment 1, self-endorsing in online advertisements led to higher brand attitude and purchase intention than other-endorsing. Moreover, photographs were a more effective persuasion channel than text. In Experiment 2, participants wore a brand of clothing in a high-immersive virtual environment and preferred the brand worn by their virtual self to the brand worn by others. Experiment 3 demonstrated that an additional mechanism behind self-endorsing was the interactivity of the virtual representation. Evidence for self-referencing as a mediator is presented.