What goes through your head when deciding whether or not to purchase an item? It’s likely that quality and price are important factors, but what about the appearance of the model advertising the product or the salesperson attempting to sell it? Science suggests that these factors may be just as important as the product itself when it comes to the consumer’s decision to purchase.

Curvy Brunettes Sell More Lingerie

The New York-based lingerie brand Adore Me revealed that plus-sized brunette models sell more lingerie than slimmer, fair-haired models, The Independent reported. This finding was based on the sales following three TV commercials launched earlier this year. The first ad featured blonde models, the second brunette models, and the third featured “plus-sized” brunette models. By analyzing the sales made after the airing of each advert, the company was able to determine that the plus-sized brunette model generated four times as many sales as the ad featuring the blonde models, something that some might find rather surprising.

“There’s an overall mentality that you have to be super skinny. … We are showing that we offer lingerie for everyone,” Morgan Hermand-Waiche, founder of Adore Me, told CNN. “Brunettes overall sell better than blondes. … Our customers — and women in general — prefer brunettes when it comes to purchasing lingerie. It’s what we’ve seen.”

In the United States, “plus-sized” is typically anything over a U.S. size 12, but it has recently been used to describe models as small as a U.S. 4. This is something that many in the modeling business find to be not only inaccurate but largely offensive, i100 reported.

Seeing as women are the main buyers of lingerie, the reason for this preference of curvy models may also be explained by a 2013 study. According to Dr. Tamara Ansons, one of the researchers involved in the study, thin models can trigger scorn in women, a coping mechanism to help them feel better about their own appearance.

“For instance, they belittle the model or celebrity to restore a positive perception of themselves. So the product in the advert becomes associated with negative reactions,” Ansons told The Daily Mail. This negative reaction to the model can transfer as a negative reaction to the brand and thus hinder their purchasing decision.

Racially Ambiguous Models Sell Products

Although according to the latest U.S. census, individuals who identified as “two or more races” only made up a little more than two percent of the population, their prevalence in the world or marketing would suggest otherwise. According to BuzzFeed, Getty Images reported that since 2007 the sale of “multiethnic family units” has risen by 75.4 percent. The reason for this is that, quite frankly, “racially ambiguous” faces sell products.

Crystal Bedley, a researcher at Rutgers University in New Jersey, explored the increasing trend of racially ambiguous individuals in TV commercials and online images and found that part of the reason these ethnically ambiguous models are chosen is because they appeal to the masses.

"It’s a subtle message of inclusion. ... The companies want consumers to be able to see a lot of different groups within one person," Bedley explained in a press release.

This trend of using racially or ethnically ambiguous model is something that can be seen in all areas of advertising, from high fashion to drug commercials.

"Both in the mainstream and at the high end of the marketplace, what is perceived as good, desirable, successful is often a face whose heritage is hard to pin down," Ron Berger, the chief executive of Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners in New York, an advertising agency and trend research company whose clients include Polaroid and Yahoo, told The New York Times.

When BuzzFeed reporter AnneHelen Peterson created a fake tinder profile for racially ambiguous “Yasmin,” she realized just how significant America’s preference for attractive and hard-to-categorize faces ran. Yasmin is a stock photo, one that you can probably easily recognize from the dozen or so ads she’s recently been used in. Although Peterson created 50 different profiles, none did as well as that of Yasmin, who had a 89 percent swipe yes rate, the highest of all females and 10 percent higher than her closest competitor, BuzzFeed reported.

racially ambiguous woman
Does this face make you more likely to buy a product? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Blondes Make More Door-To-Door-Sales... Sometimes

Overall studies have shown that attractive people earn more than their less attractive colleagues, but a 2008 study from the University of Nevada found that being blonde may be enough to give you an even bigger advantage in your selling potential when it comes to face-to-face sales.

During the experiment, multiple groups of equally attractive women were sent to door-to-door fundraising. The women were either white with blonde hair, white with brown hair, or minorities. Results showed that a blonde was 23 percent more likely to elicit a donation than a counterpart brunette or minority female. This blonde business advantage is reflected in their average pay, which according to Business Insider is on average around $870 more than brunettes and red heads.

Interestingly, the blonde advantage only went so far. The same study found that blonde females only made more when they fund-raised in majority-white neighborhoods. When the tables were turned and blonde women attempted to raise funds in non-white neighborhoods, their hair color turned into a disadvantage, with the report reading that they were significantly less likely to receive donations from non-white households. Both white brunettes and minorities of all hair colors earned the same, regardless of whether they fundraised at a white or non-white household.

Extroverts Don’t Make More Sales

Although the outgoing friendly extrovert may seem to make the ideal salesperson, research has shown that more moderate temperament is actually more successful in making sales, Scientific American reported. In a 2012 study, Adam Grant, from the University of Pennsylvania gave 340 personality tests to sales people and compared their scores against their yearly revenue. The results showed those who scored exactly halfway between the extremes of extroversion and introversion earned 24 percent more than the extroverts.

Grants told Scientific American that the reason for this may be because “ambiverts” are “less likely to get distracted and to talk too much — they find the right balance between talking and listening.” On top of that, as many of you may have experienced, often the eagerness of extroverted salespeople can turn off potential buyers and hinder their chances of making a sale.