The Effectiveness of Sex Appeal in Advertisement
Sex is everywhere. It's in every magazine, on every television station, and in every movie. Sex appears in advertisements for everything from shoes to food to computers. It is understandable why advertisers use sex appeal since it sets their ads apart from the countless others. Ads with sex can be more memorable, but sometimes too much sex overpowers the ad, drawing attention away from the brand. Overdone sex appeal can offend the target audiences, therefore causing the ad to be ineffective. Sex in advertising also tends to stereotype women and be bias towards men. Overall sex appeal can be effective if used in the correct context, but can also render the ad ineffective if overdone.
Many advertisers view sex appeal as one of the most effective marketing practices today. In the endless number of advertisements out there nowadays, ad agencies are desperate to have their ads stand out. Several research studies have found that sex appeal in advertising is attention-grabbing, likable, arousing, and memorable (Severn, Belch, & Belch 1990). Ads that contain sex appeal usually evoke positive feelings in the audience, such as excitement and desire. Other studies state that sex appeal in advertising is also effective in eliciting fantasy (Richmond and Hartman 1982). In their research Latour, Pitts, and Snook-Luther (1990) found a positive relationship between the arousal evoked by sex appeal in ads and evaluations of the brand. Another study shows that sex appeal enhances brand recall only if it is used in an appropriate way (Richmond and Hartman 1982).
While sex can be an effective tool in advertising, it also can be counterproductive. Many consumers become so focused on the use of sex in the ad that they ignore the brand name, thus producing the opposite of the desired result. Reichert, Heckler, and Jackson (2001) found that when sexual stimulus is used in advertising the viewers' attention is directed towards the sexual information in the ad rather than the brand. One study suggests that sex appeal overwhelms the...