The old adage that sex sells has been debunked by a study from the American Psychological Association. Researchers found that although sex may be a way of attracting the viewer’s attention, it doesn’t motivate them to buy as they’re too distracted by the racy content.
The Ohio State University’s Professor of Communication and Psychology Brad Bushman, said that advertisers need to reconsider using themes of a sexual nature, even going as far as saying they shouldn’t advertise during films featuring graphic scenes.
Worse than sex scenes were those of a violent nature, with the study showing they were the least memorable to viewers.
Professor Bushman said, ‘In general, we found violent and sexual programmes, and ads with violent or sexual content, decreased advertising effectiveness.’
The surprising findings published in the journal Psychological Bulletin, also indicate that running ads during G-rated programmes could have better returns.
The research team analysed 53 studies carried out in 2014 that measured the influence of violent and sexual content on advertising effectiveness relating to buying intentions, brand memory and brand attitudes.