The biggest truth you thought you knew about sex is wrong

Jessica Brown@Jessica_E_Brown
Friday 23 June 2017 10:15
discover
Picture:(iStock / gilaxia )

We've always been told 'sex sells'. It's just one of life's truths.

Whether it's a buff guy, shirtless in the mirror trying to flog a new razor, or a scantily clad woman trying to get you to pick up some protein powder it's commonly assumed that the fastest way to our wallets is through our more... Primal, desires.

But, according to new research that might not be the case. In fact, it could mean quite the opposite.

Not only do adverts using sex as their main gambit or grab our attentions not make us any more likely to remember a brand, some of us are actually more likely to form a negative attitude towards the company.

Simply put, we’re no more likely to buy a product if sex is used to sell it.

Researchers based in the University of California, Illinois and Indiana analysed 78 studies on the effects of sexual appeals in advertising, published over three decades which included thousands of participants.

Ads using sex as their weapon were defined as those using models who were partially or fully nude, engaged in sexual touching or in suggestive positions, or including sexual innuendoes or sexual messages hidden in words of pictures.

John Wirtz, the lead author of the research, said:

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.

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

Some stereotypes were reinforced thanks to their research though, Wirtz added to Eureka Alert that males like ads with sexual appeal, while women dislike them.

However, we were surprised at how negative female attitudes were toward these ads.

Whether this will affect a great revolution in advertising away from 'sexy' videos and billboards remains to be seen.

More: Everyone loves this ridiculously stupid advert

Trending