Consumer Distinctiveness and
Sonya A. Grier
Anne M. Brumbaugh
Wake Forest University
The increasing diversity of the global marketplace drives marketing efforts across numerous countries, cultures, and subcultures. The Marketer'schallenge isto make advertisements relevant to as manypeople as possible, with out of fending or alienating other s whomight “mistakenly” see the ads. In the process of creating targeted advertisements for multi cultural marketplaces, marketers lookfor meaningful characteristics by which to divideasingle heterogeneous market into separate homogeneous consumer segments that may becourted moreeffectively. Almost with out exception, the se characteristics have been those that are relatively rare with in the over all market and that aremeaningful to the individual consumer. Distinctiveness the ory (e. g., Mc Guire& Padawer-Singer, 1976; Mc Guire, Mc Guire, &Winton, 1979) provides insight into why such numerically rare but meaningful consumer characteristics have been so successful as bases for segmentation as well as into how targeted advertisements work.
Applications of distinctiveness the ory (in general, the idea that people define themselveson the basis of traits that are numerically rare in the ir local environment) to consumer behaviorhave provided a wealth of insight into how social context andindividual characteristics jointly influence consumerresponses to advertising. Prior Research has shown that membersofdistinctive groups attend more to targeted advertisements, process and interpret targeted messages differently, andfavor targeted adsmore strongly relative to nondistinctive consumers(Aaker, Brumbaugh, &Grier, 2000; Deshpandé, & Stayman, 1994; Foreh And & Deshpandé 2001; Forehand, Deshpandée, & Reed, 2002; Grier & Brumbaugh, 1999; Grier &