Forget what they say, sex doesn’t sell

It’s long been thought that sexy images in advertising help sell the product but a new finding suggests that may not be true.

Almost 80 advertising studies published over more than three decades were analysed by Professor John Wirtz and his co-authors at the University of Illinois.

“We found that people remember ads with sexual appeals more than those without, but that effect doesn’t extend to the brands or products that are featured in the ads,” Professor Wirtz explained.

Worse than that, the study found that consumers may actually be more negative towards brands that use sexual images in their advertising and they were no more likely to buy the product.

“The strongest finding was probably the least surprising, which is that males, on average, like ads with sexual appeals, and females dislike them,” Wirtz said. “However, we were surprised at how negative female attitudes were toward these ads.”

The full findings of the analysis were posted online this week by the International Journal of Advertising.


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