This research predicts that luxury versus non-luxury self-display enhances status and produces advantages in human social interactions. Across three experiments, findings support the following conclusions. First, luxury versus non-luxury brand logos associate positively with displayer wealth and status. Second, people wearing clothes with luxury brand logos receive preferential treatment over those not wearing luxury brand logos. Third, a person wearing a luxury brand logo while soliciting charitable donations receives larger contributions than a person not wearing a luxury brand logo. Fourth, cross-gender contexts are more effective than same-gender contexts for requester and target in influencing consumer donation behavior. Conclusion: luxury self-display may increase deference and compliance in presentations-of-self because conspicuous displays of luxury qualify as a costly signaling trait that elicits status-dependent favorable treatment in human social interactions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This experiment examines whether or not exposure to a fundraiser's clothing with a luxury logo versus a non-luxury logo or no logo increases donations to a charity. The fundraising campaign was conducted for the experiment and the influence of brand logos was examined. The experiment was supported by the Korean committee of UNICEF, an organization that helps children in difficult situations in developing countries through voluntary fundraising. The “Collection of Love Coins” campaign was conducted for this experiment. “Collection of Love Coins” is a unique fundraising campaign for UNICEF in collaboration with an airline, and all the donations in the collection box were used for children in this study. All of the donations raised through this study were donated to UNICEF.
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