Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Sex doesn’t sell, study finds

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

“Sex sells” – it’s an advertising phrase that’s well known and widely accepted, and a lot of the ads we’re presented with appear to support the idea. But this conventional wisdom is more complex than it seems.

According to a major study, sex gets attention but doesn’t necessarily sell.

The research analyzed almost 80 advertising studies from a span of more than three decades.

“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,” said University of Illinois advertising professor John Wirtz, the lead author of the research.

Participants in the 78 peer-reviewed studies examined were no more likely to remember brands that used sex to sell products. They were also no more motivated to purchase the relevant products.

In fact, there was a high probability that participants would have a negative attitude towards such ads.

“We found literally zero effect on participants’ intention to buy products in ads with a sexual appeal,” Wirtz said. “This assumption that sex sells – well, no, according to our study, it doesn’t. There’s no indication that there’s a positive effect.”

The research, published in the International Journal of Advertising, also involved Johnny V. Sparks, a professor of journalism at Ball State University, and Thais M. Zimbres, a doctoral student at the University of California, Davis.

A big difference between men and women

Despite the surprising findings, some things we think we know about the world are simple truths – and sexual content appealing to men more than women is one of them.

“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 authors pointed out that analysis of the collated studies gave a very large sample and therefore highly reliable results.

The findings are a reminder for advertisers of a problem which applies to ads with and without sexual content. That making an ad memorable does not necessarily make people want to buy the product more.

Sometimes, a really good ad can make viewers remember the ad more than the product it is selling, and sometimes, even if they remember the product, the fact that its ad was funny, poignant or sexy doesn’t necessarily make them want to buy.

As to whether advertisers will continue to rely on sexual content, the University of Illinois News Bureau, which carried the story, pointed to the example of a national restaurant chain who for a long time advertised its food using half-dressed models in suggestive poses. The chain made a major departure from that in a commercial made for the most recent Super Bowl.

“If the ‘sexy ads’ had been effective, it’s unlikely the company or ad agency would have made such a drastic change,” he said. “When a product is moving, people don’t make changes.”


Image credit: Unsplash/Throng Vo

The post Sex doesn’t sell, study finds appeared first on Redorbit.
offers Science, Space, Technology, Health news, videos, images and reference information. For the latest science news, space news, technology news, health news visit frequently. Learn something new every day.”


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation.

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)

Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!

Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video).

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.