Linda DamFollow

Date of Completion


Embargo Period



consumer attitude, ethnic identity, multicultural marketing, perceived similarity, purchase intention, racial identity, social distance, social identity

Major Advisor

Carolyn A. Lin

Associate Advisor

Diana Rios

Associate Advisor

Amanda Denes

Field of Study

Communication Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Mixed results in advertising research regarding the effective use of racially congruent spokespersons bring to light a need for a more comprehensive understanding of racial and ethnic influences. Specifically, little research addresses the ways in which perceived social distance – the level of acceptance individuals feel towards people from a different racial background – may impact consumer responses toward advertising spokespersons from different racial groups. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether perceived social distance between consumers and multicultural advertising spokespersons will influence consumer attitudes and purchase intentions. This research also explores whether two concepts related to social distance – consumer social identity and perceived similarity with racially congruent or incongruent advertising spokespersons – will have an impact on consumer decision-making processes. In addition, the study attempts to distinguish the constructs of racial identity and ethnic identity in relation to social identity. Findings demonstrated that racial identity and ethnic identity directly impacted social identity. In addition, perceived similarity was found to positively predict attitudes toward the spokesperson. Results suggest that cross-cultural group relations could help explain the underlying consumer decision-making process, which influences the effectiveness of multicultural advertising practices.