Feeling Fit and Looking Good: The Impact of Materialism, Peer Approval and Sex Appeal on Youth Consumer Perceptions towards Fitness Studio Advertising

Keywords: Adolescent; Aspirational advertising; Materialism; Peer approval; Sex appeal.


This paper addresses young Malaysian consumers’ perceptions and marketplace behaviour through advertising for aspirational and lifestyle consumption. The aim is to study the impact of aspirational advertising on materialism, peer approval, sex appeal, and body image. The literature review uses marketing and social theories, while the appeals of emotional advertising will be discussed through a case study analysis examining how Malaysian fitness advertisements on digital and social media impact youth attitudes towards physical appearance and through capturing emotional experiences and their association with materialistic values, peer approval and self-image. Findings present a cultural perspective in understanding the current standards of ethical decision-making and what factors are relevant as lifestyle aspects of ethical choices and decision-making for fitness brands among youth consumer market segments. It was found that aspirational advertising for fitness brands in Malaysia is designed to build perceptions that personal consumption choices represent values such as social and peer approval, with less emphasis on materialistic values and body image. This demonstrates that advertising may influence some aspects of materialist, aspirational consumption choices, but peer pressure and cultural values have strong implications on youth consumption behaviour. Some practical recommendations are suggested for marketing practitioners and consumer behaviour researchers to invest, in optimising the power of social media marketing and advertising.


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Author Biography

Stephen T.F. Poon, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation - Malaysia

Currently serves on the Malaysia Chair Representative of Professional Standard & Education for ACED (Asian Council on Ergonomics & Design), Steering Committee for MINDS (Malaysia Invention & Design Society) and member for MRM (Malaysian Design Council), Advisor in Special Interest Group (Ergonomics in Design for All) for HFEM (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Malaysia).  


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How to Cite
Poon, S. T. (2022). Feeling Fit and Looking Good: The Impact of Materialism, Peer Approval and Sex Appeal on Youth Consumer Perceptions towards Fitness Studio Advertising. Religación, 7(32), e210921. https://doi.org/10.46652/rgn.v7i32.921