The Stereotype Content Model defines two dimensions which seem to be universal features of social perception: warm vs. cold and competent vs. incompetent. Competence refers to people who are capable, skillful, intelligent, and confident while warmth describes those that are good-natured, trustworthy, tolerant, friendly, and sincere. According to this model, perceived warmth and competence differentiate group stereotypes which are applicable on e.g. nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and gender subgroups. In other words, groups can be classified as a) warm and competent, b) warm and not competent, c) competent and not warm, and d) not warm and not competent. Hence, ambivalent stereotypes are possible, i.e. a positive evaluation on one dimension and a negative one on the other.
Ingroups, in other words groups we belong to, are perceived positively on both dimensions. The group we belong to is both warm and competent (i.e. we are nice and work so well). Stereotypical examples for warm but not competent are the disabled, the elderly, housewives, the Greeks etc. (i.e. nice but not really efficient).
Asians or Germans are stereotypically perceived as competent but not warm (i.e. we think they are efficient but do not really like them). The stereotypical notion of the efficient German is also communicated in Marketing. Watch: Lufthansa Clip "These Germans"
Unmistakeably German: The Citroen C5 advertising campaign in the UK was themed "unmistakeably German". In 2008, it won first prize at the car advertising awards but was not spared criticism. The clip used various German stereotypes ranging from sausages, beer, lederhosen, dirndl to blonde women and many more. The "background" music is, by the way, Wagner's Ride of Valkyries - often used in filmmaking since Die Deutsche Wochenschau (via). Not only was Citroen accused of creating a caricature of Germany but also of using aesthetics and symbols that are associated with one of the darkest chapters in history (via). Attempting to understand stereotypes in Marketing on the basis of the Stereotype Content Model, one might encounter "positive stereotypes" not that rarely. Here, German is used as a synonyme for competence. And most interestingly, as we have the stereotypical background knowledge we get the message of what is meant when a French car is "unmistakeably German".
Cuddy, A. M. C., Fiske, S. T. & Glick, P. (2008) Warmth and Competence as Universal Dimensions of Social Perception: The Stereotype Content Model and the BIAS Map. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 40
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