Date of Publication

Fall 12-8-2014

Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Professor's Name

Katharine Burakowski



As female athletes gain more recognition in the sports world, researchers continuously debate on whether the reason behind this is due to their athletic performance or their hyper sexualized appearance in media outlets such as print advertisements (Fink, Cunningham, & Kensicki, 2004). This raises the question on how consumers interpret advertisements that contain female athletes promoting both sport and non-sport products. Since this research is the first examine how consumers view and react to the use of professional female athletes in advertisements, this research further develops the literature of women’s role in both the advertising and sport world. Both members of the advertising world and sport world can use this research to develop more effective ways to use female athletes in advertisements that will benefit both the product and brand and the athletes reputation. This research included a qualitative study of three focus groups lasting 30-60 minutes. After the focus groups were conducted, coding was used to analyze the data that emerged from the study. The findings confirmed the previous research in that consumers formed opinions on the product based on the portrayal of the female athlete in the advertisement, the athlete’s fit with the product, the athletes reputation and the objectification of the athlete in the ad. These findings are important as they provided additional evidence for the previous literature.