Researchers say that higher testosterone levels lead to men wanting “higher status” luxury goods. Marketing propaganda figured this out long ago – hence the image of men lounging in a high status beach resort or on the deck of a fancy yacht, or a $200,000 recreational vehicle, surrounded by attractive women.
By focusing on “conspicuous consumption as an avenue to status,” the new research shows what “value to others” means in a society where scarcity itself has become scarce, Von Ruedon said. These goods put others on notice that “you’re wealthy, and you must have some skills or some valuable something that’s allowed you to amass wealth,” he said. “It’s an advertisement that you’re of value as a mate or friend or leader.”
Trumble said he’s not surprised that marketers would use evolutionary anthropology to help them sell products. And if Wharton professors want to know how testosterone affects male consumers, that’s fine with him.
Remember that advertising and marketing messaging are subsets of the propaganda field. This study highlights how marketing is crafted to “hook” men into acquiring high status luxury goods based on hypothesized evolutionary aspects of males. A corollary finding is that men and women admire men who have been influenced to acquire luxury goods.
From the study itself
Men experience situational elevation in T during and following sporting events, in the presence of attractive mates, and following meaningful life events such as graduation and divorce29,48,49. Our results suggest that in such contexts, male consumers might be more likely to engage in positional consumption, and might find status-related brand communications more appealing.
This is why marketeers place attractive people in advertising – or at trade shows. It also suggests that attractive people have an “attractive privilege”.
Further hypothesis might include:
- Do women who acquire luxury goods achieve the same results (status) as men who acquire luxury goods?
- Would men with lower testosterone levels be wise to acquire more high status luxury goods to attract mates?
- How can these findings be used in propaganda messaging to persuade others to adopt someone’s agenda?
I’ve categorized this under Appeal to Authority (an other categories) as a potential match to the idea that people with high status luxury goods are alleged to be better or superior (i.e. authorities). Which is a kind of scary thought.