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Appealing to men and women using sexual appeals in advertising: In the battle of the sexes, is a truce possible?



Sexual appeals remain a very popular advertising technique yet questions regarding their use remain, including how they can be used to appeal to men and women simultaneously. Literature examining what men and women find sexually appealing and the body language used to signal relationship status guided development of two appeal types: ‘Intimate’ portrayed a couple in an intimate stable relationship, whereas ‘Objectified’ showed them as sexual objects. These were combined with different levels of nudity and product relevance and studied experimentally. As expected, both genders preferred intimate appeals though they only rated low nudity intimate adverts for relevant products positively.
Appealing to men and women using sexual appeals in advertising: In the battle of the
sexes, is a truce possible?
Iain R. Blacka1 and Peta Mortonb
a School of Management and Languages, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland
b Banjo Advertising, Sydney, Australia
Sexual appeals remain a very popular advertising technique yet questions regarding
their use remain, including how they can be used to appeal to men and women
simultaneously. Literature examining what men and women find sexually
appealing and the body language used to signal relationship status guided
development of two appeal types: ‘Intimate’ portrayed a couple in an intimate
stable relationship whereas ‘Objectified’ showed them as sexual objects. These
were combined with different levels of nudity and product relevance and studied
experimentally. As expected, both genders preferred intimate appeals though they
only rated low nudity intimate adverts for relevant products positively.
Keywords: advertising; sexual appeals; body language; experiment
1 Corresponding author:
Sex and sexual appeals remain an important and widely utilized platform for promoting a
broad range of products and services. Indeed, Reichert, Latour and Ford suggest its use is
now the norm for advertising products such as cosmetics and perfume. Whereas significant
amounts of research questions how and if 'sex sells' (see for example Dahl, Sengupta and
Vohs 2009 or Giebelhausen and Novak, 2012), particularly for female audiences, recent
research has helped develop a nuanced understanding of the relationship between gender and
response to sexual appeals. This work has shown, for example, that cueing relationships or
targeting those with certain personality types or a propensity to seek sensations, can lead
some women to respond positively to sexual appeals .
Whilst this work shows that women's responses can be positive or improved, overall,
research supports the view that irrespective of what is done in terms of the models and levels
of nudity used, the types of product advertised or sex role portrayals; men and women
typically respond differently to sexual appeals. Indeed most often, women will respond less
favourably .
However, this difference is an important issue for advertisers and marketing managers as
there are several situations where they must consider the responses of both men and women
simultaneously and where a sexual appeal may be a legitimate, effective, creative form. These
situations include products targeted at one group but whose purchase or use is influenced by
the other (chocolate, perfume, clothing, lingerie, underwear) and products targeted and
consumed by both sexes (wine, carbonated soft drinks, beds). In addition, media targeting is
not perfect and managers need to understand the consequences of using sexual appeals on
both men and women simultaneously.
Considering the differing responses, should organisations avoid using this type of appeal
when targeting men and women at the same time? Currently, there is a lack of research to
help answer this question and help managers understand the potential benefits and limitations
this approach has in terms of advertising effectiveness and branding.
The research reported here aims therefore to examine how to appeal to men and women
simultaneously when using sexual appeals and makes both practical and conceptual
contributions. It takes a heterosexual perspective and leaves the gay, lesbian and bisexual
perspectives for later study. From a practical perspective it adds to work on executional
elements in advertising . It provides specific instructions on how to pose models in terms of
their body position, type of eye contact and physical touching (and what characteristics they
should display), when designing sexual appeals to be enjoyed by both men and women.
Conceptually, it highlights how, contrary to much of the work in the area female subjects
can enjoy sexual advertising appeals if they are constructed using consensual, intimate
displays of affection between the models. It also helps explain the negative reactions by
women and men toward adverts using higher levels of nudity and men’s negative responses
when male models are used .
Theoretical background and hypotheses
Appealing to men and women: An impasse?
Research over a significant period of time shows that men tend to respond more favourably to
sexual appeals than women . This appears to hold over a number of conditions such as level
of nudity (LaTour and Henthorne, 1993; Simpson, Horton, and Brown 1996), the gratuitous
use of sexual appeals , relevance or ‘fit' between the product and the use of sexual appeals
and the use of a number of different dependent measures including attitude toward the
advertisement, attitude toward the brand and purchase intention .
The lesson seems to be that as long as there are attractive women used within the
advertisements, then men, on the whole will respond positively. This is not to say that men
like sexual appeals and women don’t nor that they like all types of appeals the same, but
instead, that they are less discriminating and less likely to be 'turned off' by for example by
gratuitous use or overt visual displays. For women, it seems a more subtle and nuanced
approach is required, with women tending to prefer verbal and complex messages compared
to the preference for visual stimuli by men.
If we are going to use sexual appeals to target both men and women, where does this leave
us? Considering the above and that overall research supports the notion that women are less
stimulated by visual media , we argue that when constructing advertisements for a mixed sex
audience, they should be based on the type of stimulus and features that women have been
found, overall, to find sexually attractive. Whilst this may not necessarily be the best way to
communicate to men, it is likely, because of its sexual nature, to appeal to them nonetheless.
This then leads to the question of how best to achieve this? The next section, considers
evidence regarding responses to sexual appeals and what the different sexes find attractive, to
develop appeals to which men and women may respond favourably.
Product relevance
Product relevance refers to whether the product being promoted has pre-existing sexual
connotations and hence whether it is ‘relevant’ to use sexual appeals . It has been found to
have a significant effect on men and women’s ratings of these types of appeals where
advertisements for relevant products are rated more highly (appealing- Peterson and Kerin
(1977) or liking- Sengupata and Dahl (2008) compared to those for products without such
meanings. Hence, due to the importance of this factor and that the literature reviewed does
not suggest the relationship will be modified by the type of appeals to be tested and that we
do not plan to constrain processing relevance is integrated into the type of appeal hypotheses.
It is expected that irrespective of gender, adverts for relevant products will be preferred to
those for irrelevant products.
Women's preferences
Whereas the sexual appeals literature has given considerable attention to the importance
that men attach to physical attractiveness , it is clear that women also rate this as important,
though what differs are the traits for which they are looking .
Li, Bailey, Kenrick, and Linsenmeier found that both men and women assess potential
mates for sufficient levels of physical attractiveness and status though what differed was the
standard they had to reach. So what do women tend to find attractive in men? They tend to
prefer a high waist-to-chest ratio , higher levels of muscularity, lower levels of fat and above
average height . As with men, however, physical attractiveness is assessed holistically and its
characteristics such as waist to hip ratio (WHR), body mass index, hormone markers,
averageness, symmetry and skin texture, are considered together . These attractiveness cues
are linked to health and reproductive fitness .
Beyond physical attractiveness, women may also find signs of wealth and status attractive
and Symons showed that women are positively aroused by acts of intimacy. This view is
supported by Leitenberg and Henning who found that women use more romantic imagery
when fantasizing about sex. Hill takes this further and showed women were more likely to
engage in sexual activity if it is described in an emotionally committed, intimate situation. In
work specifically on advertising, Dahl et al. discussed how ‘relationship commitment’ is a
valuable resource that men can provide for women in a sexual situation and showed that when
male models provided a gift in the picture (signifying a commitment to the relationship), then
women’s ratings of sexual advertisements improved. Taken together this work suggests
women react more favorably toward sexual stimuli that include cues of intimacy and
relationship commitment.
A common observation of sexual appeals in advertising is that they portray a heterosexual
male view of what is attractive and hence the findings that women are less aroused by this
comes as no surprise. Hence it is a rather unsurprising nuance in this debate that women do
react positively to sexual visual stimuli if they are tailored to them . For example, Youn
argues that women’s generally lower arousal by pornographic films compared to men , is due
to the male orientation typically used. Indeed, Laan et al. and Mosher and Maclan find that
women are aroused if the visual erotica is based on equal enjoyment of non-denigrating,
consensual activities between actors portraying a pre-existing relationship. This suggests that
not only should women prefer sexual stimuli using models posed to display an intimate,
committed relationship, but in doing so, beyond just improving women’s ratings they may
actually enjoy this type of stimulus. Therefore the physical, resource and relationship
characteristics described above provide the framework used for constructing one type of
sexual appeals labelled Intimate to be tested in this study. For this type, a mixed sex couple of
physically attractive models are posed to demonstrate intimate, stable relationships and the
propensity to remain loyal . Details of the specific posing used are provided in the Stimuli
As this research examines advertisements featuring both a man and a woman, we must
consider the female viewer’s reaction to the female model. Social comparison theory
describes how women typically compare themselves to models on the basis of physical
attractiveness with numerous authors finding that this can have a negative effect on women’s
self-esteem and body satisfaction .
However, women can react positively to models if they present a beauty ideal that is seen
as achievable (i.e. not too thin nor their bodies too attractive) and activates a self-
improvement goal . Therefore, if a female model used in an advertisement is not highly
attractive and does not openly display her beauty or physical resources in an 'objectifying'
manner, then she is not expected to pose a specific threat to the female respondents or invoke
damaging negative self-comparison.
If, however, the female model makes conspicuous displays of her body, and the female
respondents feel threatened, then they are likely to respond using indirect aggression .
Common forms of this include spreading gossip and making derogatory comments which in
turn negatively influence how the model and advert are assessed .
To provide a comparison to the Intimate appeals, these demonstrations of physical
attributes are used to help develop an Objectified type appeal where models are posed to
display themselves and their partners as sexual objects and show their sexual availability to
others. Indeed, examples of these types can be found in print advertising and according to
Reichert et al. are increasingly prevalent, thus, making a test of their effectiveness relevant to
H1 (a): Women will prefer advertisements where the models are posed in an intimate
manner compared to those where they are posed in an objectifying manner. In addition, they
will evaluate intimate appeals featuring relevant products positively.
Men's preferences
We also expect that men will respond positively to sexual appeals that contain a
physically attractive female model. However, men also tend to be attracted to evidence that
potential partners have the mental resources to form close, intimate relationships and be
faithful and loyal . Indeed, men are able to detect and react to signs of infidelity . Hence,
they are likely to find appeals, where an attractive female model is posed in a way to show she
is capable of a stable relationship, more attractive compared to appeals showing an attractive
female model showing signs that she may be unfaithful. As described earlier, cues to these
traits are incorporated into the Intimate and Objectified appeals.
Regarding the likely reaction to the male model, Hill showed that men overestimate how
attractive rivals are to women, and hence see potential competition as more of a threat than
they should. In turn, this can lead to aiming derogatory statements toward the competitor,
direct aggression or more likely here, avoiding the competition by looking away and avoiding
the advertisement . Social comparison theory also supports the notion that viewing a rival
who possesses superior resources can have negative effects on men and whilst their self-
image appears to be more robust, it can still be damaged . Therefore, if the male model is
posed so that he does not make a conspicuous display of his body shape ('V’) nor financial or
other status related resources, and hence appears as less of a threat, then male respondents
should not have a strong negative reaction to him. If on the other hand the male model makes
a conspicuous display of his physical resources (as is planned for the 'objectified' condition)
then a negative reaction can be expected. Therefore, we hypothesize that:
H1 (b): Men will also prefer intimate appeals to objectified appeals, but they will
evaluate positively both intimate and objectifying appeals featuring relevant products.
Advertising research conducted over a number of years and exploring the impact of a
number of different stimulus and individual difference variables, has consistently found that,
overall, men respond more favourably than women to sexual appeals containing couples .
Therefore, despite focusing on creating stimuli designed to appeal to women, we hypothesize
H1 (c): Men, will respond more favorably to sexual appeal than women irrespective of
whether the mixed gender couple are posed in an Intimate or Objectifying manner.
Gender and level of nudity
When opposite sex models appear in advertisements (males viewing adverts with female
models and vice versa), men typically prefer higher levels of nudity and women typically
prefer lower levels . The relationship differs though when mixed gender couples (male and
female models posed together) are used. Here, men still responded more favorably via attitude
toward the advertisement (Aad) and attitude toward the brand (Abr) than women , but both
genders tend to prefer fully clothed to partially clothed or nude stimuli.
Women's preference for lower levels of nudity is explained by their overall preference for
cues of intimacy, status and resources (see for example Kenrick 2001) therefore increasing
levels of male nudity are effectively giving them more of the wrong thing. For men, whilst
they enjoy higher levels of female nudity; they do not enjoy seeing more of the male model
and as described before, if he is assessed as being superior, then their self-image can be
damaged and greater body image dissatisfaction can occur. Hence greater levels of male
nudity are expected to reduce men’s ratings of the adverts and we hypothesize that:
H2: Irrespective of whether the mixed gender couple are posed in an Intimate or
Objectifying manner, both male and female subjects will respond more favorably to
advertisements using lower levels of nudity compared to higher levels of nudity.
A mixed factor experimental design was used where gender, type of sexual appeal (Intimate
or Objectified) and level of nudity (High or Low) were the between-subjects factors.
Relevance of the product to the appeal was the within-subjects factor and was also
manipulated over 2 levels (Relevant or Irrelevant). Subjects were randomly assigned to one of
four conditions, Low Nudity Intimate, High Nudity Intimate, Low Nudity Objectified and
High Nudity Objectified.
Stimuli material
The stimulus material consisted of colour, print style ads featuring a mixed gender couple. To
guide the development of how specifically to pose the models in order to demonstrate the
required intimacy or objectification, work regarding relationship status and body language
was reviewed. Nonverbal behaviour is used to demonstrate relationship status (i.e. being in a
relationship or interested in forming one) with the actual behaviours used based largely on
gender, the stage of the relationship and the actor’s intentions . In her widely cited article,
Moore codes, in great detail, nonverbal behaviours used at the early stages of a relationship
including behaviours used by women to start courtship by soliciting interest in men and
behaviours used to demonstrate a bond has been formed. These works are therefore also used
to operationalise the Intimate and Objectified types of appeal (Table 1).
Intimate appeals
These appeals used specific nonverbal behaviour elements that cue intimate affection
commonly seen between couples in a stable relationship. A key element of this is
synchronicity or posture mirroring: People demonstrate rapport and approval with each other
by mirroring poses held by the other party and by mirroring sequences of behaviour until full
body symmetry (where each part of the body mirrors their partner’s) is attained . Within the
Intimate appeals therefore, couples mirror, to a large extent, each other's body positions and
do so using a closed stance as this restricts the display of strength or physical attractiveness to
other parties and instead showing a bond between the couple .
Moore describes behaviour ‘constellations’ where several behaviours appear together
to communicate the desired signal. A constellation was used for the model’s faces to show
affection and intimacy by having them gaze into each other's eyes and holding this eye
contact . As it was important to show nurturing and close intimate contact (rather than
sexually explicit contact) instead of kissing, the models heads touched (whilst keeping their
noses a few centimetres apart) and they smiled at each other . Physical contact with other
parts of the body was used as it is a common sign that a relationship has progressed from the
early 'attention getting' stages. To operationalise this, the models caressed the head of their
partner .
Objectified appeals
In contrast, the Objectified appeals were presented through nonverbal behaviours that are
gender specific cues for sexual interest. Key to this is for the women to express enough
interest to elicit courtship by the man, whereas the man must display enough physical
attractiveness and status to elicit a reaction. As the signals attuned to by each gender are
different, the following instructions were given to the male and female model. When trying
to solicit interest, how the female looks around the environment is very important. Moore
describes how the women can instigate this phase by visually sweeping the location and
briefly holding the gaze of perspective partners, this is quickly followed by looking away.
Therefore, if the female model looks toward the camera she will simulate both the type 1
‘room encompassing glance’ and the type 2 ‘short darting glance’ . To show interest, a further
facial constellation was used encompassing a coy smile (partial opening of the lips and
lowering the eyelids) and to show openness, her neck was elongating and presented . The
final key element for the female is to show her physical shape by standing in such a way as to
split her hip so highlighting a low WHR, a trait across cultures men tend to find attractive .
For a man to sexually objectify himself and the person he is posing with, it is
important for him to show his strength and status. A key way of doing this is to take up an
open body position and open legged stance . Finally, to show his intentions, rather than
engage with the other model or with the audience he stares at her erogenous zones . Figure 1
presents both the Intimate and Objectified appeals used.
Figure 1. Stimulus materials used
Table 1. Summary of specific elements used in the intimate and objectified conditions
Level of nudity and product relevance
The level of nudity (low and high) was operationalised through amount of clothing worn
by models. Although full frontal nudity has been employed in previous research , it is rarely
used in advertising and avoided here. Instead, following the general approach used
elsewhere , in the low nudity condition models wore a white t-shirt and blue denim jeans and
in the high nudity condition, they wore black underwear only. It is worth noting though that in
following the approach provided by these authors we are using a North American culturally
bound perception of high vs. low nudity and the results must be interpreted accordingly.
Half the treatment advertisements featured a product classified via pre-testing (as detailed
during the procedure section) as sexually relevant (perfume and massage oil) and half featured
products classified as irrelevant (muesli and USB Sticks). These were chosen to be applicable
to both men and women, hence making the use of a mixed gender couple realistic. Fictitious
brand names from Peterson and Ross were used -Vade’ and ‘Cariss’ for relevant products
and ‘Dallacks’ and ‘Vig’ for the sexual irrelevant products.
Colour photographs for the stimuli were taken by a professional photographer in a studio
enabling lighting and background to be held constant. Professional models were selected, with
the aid of their model agency manager, to have a ‘neutral /classic’ look as assessed using a set
of standard cues to attractiveness such as low WHR for the female model, high WCR for the
male model and clear skin tone . Finally, experienced models were used to ensure that the
posing would appear natural and the relationship genuine. Indeed, the photos used came from
the second shoot as the two original models did not work well together and their posing
appeared awkward and contrived. Two advertisements were created for each condition by a
qualified graphics designer using a single design template to keep font size, style and
background constant.
The adverts were pre-tested on 20 undergraduate students with the same profile as the
main sample. Level of sexual appeal was measured with the single item scale anchored ‘Mild
sexual appeal’ to ‘Overt sexual appeal.’ Intimacy (‘Intimate’ – ‘Not Intimate’) and
Objectification (‘Objectifying’ – ‘Not Objectifying’) were measured using one item each as
was Product Relevance (‘Relevant’ and ‘Irrelevant’). All items were measured using seven
point semantic differential response format. Model attractiveness was measured using Feick
and Higie’s three item scale using a 7 point likert scale anchored ‘Strongly Disagree’ to
‘Strongly Agree.’ The results (see Table 2) support the idea that the manipulations worked as
expected. Importantly, the Intimate and Objectified appeals did not differ in how overtly
sexual they were. Therefore, variations in responses to between these items cannot be
attributed to how overt the appeals are.
Table 2. Pre-test results
Main data collection procedure
Data were then collected from 128 (74 female, 54 male) undergraduate marketing students
attending an Australian University and who completed the task for class credit. Their age
ranged from 18 to 27 years (mean 20.3), which helped control for likely age effects . As well
as being appropriate for theory testing , this group provided an appropriate sample to enhance
external validity as sexual appeal are commonly used to target students and young adults of
this age.
Subjects attended a computer lab and were told the study objective was to ‘discover how
people respond to different advertising appeals.’ Having been randomly assigned to one of
the four treatment conditions, after reading the instructions and completing a practice
example, subjects were exposed to 12 ads in randomised order. This number comprised the
four targets (two stimulus replicates for the two levels of the relevance factor) and eight
dummy advertisements (equal numbers of fear and humour appeals used to disguise the true
nature of the research) each appeared on the screen for exactly five seconds. The dummy ads
were also constructed for the purpose of the study and adhered to a similar format as the
target ads. The dependent measures were then asked after each stimulus had been shown.
Having viewed all 12 advertisements, demographic data was collected and the subjects de-
The dependent variables used were Aad and Abr. Attitude toward the advertisement was chosen
as it is a widely accepted measure of advertising effectiveness and has been shown to mediate
the relationship between advertising, brand attitudes and purchase intention . It was measured
using seven items from previously used scales: Bad/good, like/dislike, irritating/not irritating,
boring/interesting were taken from Mitchell and Olsen , unpleasant/pleasant and
unfavorable/favorable were from MacKenzie and Lutz and offensive/not offensive from
Droge . Across the four conditions this scale showed acceptable level of internal consistency
with Cronbach’s alphas of .884, .860, .835 and .827. Abr scale, included as it too is a mediator
of purchase intention, was based on work by Gardner and comprised six items, bad/good,
like/dislike, pleasant/unpleasant, high quality/poor quality, tasteful/tasteless and
expensive/inexpensive with an exploratory factor analysis producing Cronbach’s alphas of .
863, .869, .865 and .869. Items loaded as predicted on to separate factors. For both dependent
variables, items were scored on a seven-point scale.
To test the hypothesis, a repeated measures MANOVA was run with the results shown in
tables 3 and 4. The dependent measures were summated Aad and Abr constructed by summating
ratings from the relevant and irrelevant advertisements. Midpoints for these scales are 49 and
42, respectively (higher score represent more positive ratings). One within-subjects factor
and three between-subjects factors were included in the models. The within-subject factor,
relevance, comprised of the summated scores for both treatment stimulus replications. This
summation was deemed acceptable because when the scores for each replication were treated
as a separate within subjects factor in the models, no unexpected interactions with the other
factors were found. The between-subject factors were gender, level of nudity and type of
appeal. Descriptive statistics appear in Appendix 1.
Table 3: Results of repeated measured MANOVA: Within subjects effects
Table 4: Results of repeated measured MANOVA: Between subjects effects
H1 (a) predicted that for relevant products, women will respond positively to Intimate appeals
and will prefer them to Objectified appeals. The MANOVA shows a main effect for type of
appeal (Aad Type: F 1, 120 = 13.776, p < .000, and Abr Type: F 1, 120 = 11.114, p = .001) with the
descriptive statistics confirming that the Intimate appeals are preferred to Objectified appeals
(MAadIntimate = 54.58 vs. M AadObjectified = 48.59 and MAbrIntimate = 44.60 vs. MAbrObjectified = 39.75).
Specifically, women rated the Intimate appeals higher than the Objectified appeals for both
Aad and Abr (MAadIntimate = 50.99 vs. MAadObjectified = 44.64, t = 2.41, df 72, p = .019 and MAbrIntimate
= 42.42 vs. MAbrObjectified = 37.54, t = 1.95, df 72, p = .055). To determine whether women’s
responses were positive for either the Intimate or Objectified appeals, these were compared to
scale midpoints. In line with the predictions, only the Intimate Relevant conditions were rated
positively (MAadIntimateRelevant = 58.20, t = 5.61, df 48, p < .001 and MAbrIntimateRelevant = 47.73, t =
3.51, df 48, p = .001). See Appendix 1 for other results. Therefore, Hypothesis 1 (a) is
Similarly, hypothesis 1 (b) predicted that men would also prefer Intimate to Objectified
appeals, but they will evaluate both Intimate and Objectifying appeals featuring relevant
products, positively. The results support this. Intimate appeals were preferred to the
Objectified appeals MAadIntimate = 61.92 vs. MAadObjectified = 51.88, t = 2.90, df 52, p = .005 and
MAbrIntimate = 49.04 vs. MAbrObjectified = 41.58, t = 3.20, df 52, p = .002). In addition, both the
Intimate Relevant and Objectified Relevant conditions were rated positively compared to the
scale mid-point (MAadIntimateRelevant = 67.71, t = 9.11, df 23, p < .001, MAbrIntimateRelevant = 55.21, t =
7.82, df 23, p < . 001, MAadObjectifiedRelevant = 57.53, t = 3.53, df 29, p = 001 and MAbrObjectifiedRelevant
= 46.80, t = 2.51, df 29, p = .018).
In line with predictions made by the evolutionary psychology literature, hypothesis 1 (c)
stated that irrespective of whether intimate or objectifying posing is used, men will respond
more favorably to sexual appeals compared to women. This is supported by the MANOVA,
which shows a main effect for gender (Aad Gender: F 1, 120 = 17.355, p < .000, and Abr Gender: F 1, 120
= 8.801, p = .004) with the descriptive statistics showing the means scores for Aad and Abr are
higher for males compared to females (MAadMale = 56.34 vs. MAadfemale = 48.84, t = 3.45, df 126,
p = .001 and MAbrMale = 44.90 vs. MAbrFemale = 40.77, t = 2.33, df 126, p = .021). This difference
is also seen between the men and women for the Intimate appeals (MAadMaleIntimate = 61.92 vs.
MAadfemaleIntimate = 50.99, t = 3.94, df 71, p < .001 and MAbrMaleIntimate = 49.04 vs. MAbrFemaleIntimate =
42.12, t = 2.77, df 71, p = .007) and the Objectified appeals in the Aad condition
(MAadMaleObjectified: = 51.88 vs. MAadfemaleObjectified = 46.44, t = 2.21, df 53, p < .032). It is not found
in the Abr Objectified condition (MAbrMaleObjectified: 41.58, vs. MAbrFemaleObjectified: = 37.54, t = 1.58, df
53, p = .119). This specific result is discussed in detail later. Overall, hypothesis 1 (c) is
Finally hypothesis 2 predicted that irrespective of the posing used both genders will prefer
adverts using lower levels of nudity. In support of this, the MANOVA shows a main effect for
level of nudity (Aad Level: F 1, 120 = 5.126, p = .025, and Abr Level: F 1, 120 = 5.198, p = .024) but
does not show an interaction between gender and level of appeal (Aad Level: F 1, 120 = .624, p = .
431, and Abr: F 1, 120 = .027, p = .870). This effect is in the expected direction with low nudity
preferred to high nudity overall (MAadMild = 54.24 vs. MAadOvert = 49.56, t = 2.12, df 126, p = .036
and MAbrMild = 44.48 vs. MAbrOvert = 40.34, t = 2.36, df 126, p = .020. However, whereas a
preference was found for men regarding Aad (MAadMaleMild: = 59.68 vs. MAadMaleOvert = 52.75, t =
1.94, df 52, p = .058) it was only marginally significant for Abr (MAbrMaleMild = 47.09 vs.
MAbrMaleOvert = 42.54, t = 1.85, df = 52, p = .070). In addition, whilst the results for women
were in the predicted direction, they were not significant (MAadfemaleMild = 50.33 vs. MAadfemaleOvert
= 47.19, t = 1.23, df 72, p = .224 and MAbrFemaleMild = 42.62 vs. MAbrFemaleOvert = 38.71, t = 1.63,
df 72, p = .107). Therefore Hypothesis 2 is only partially supported.
Discussion and recommendations
The research examined how to communicate to a mixed gender audience using sexual
appeals. This remains an important question considering the range of situations where this
approach is used to target products to men or women or where organisations must consider
the non-target group reactions. Guidance on how to do this was based on evidence from
consumers' responses to sexual appeals, studies exploring what the different sexes find
attractive and body language literature.
Overall, we hypothesized that when trying to appeal to both genders, the best approach
would be to create adverts focussing more on the cues and traits that women find attractive.
This was operationalised using non-verbal behavioural elements to create an intimate, stable
relationship between the models (a trait that also appeals to men) and contrasted with an
appeal highlighting sexual objectification. As expected, because of the presence of an
opposite sex model, both genders preferred the Intimate appeals.
A preference for one condition is not however the same as a positive reaction to it. To
achieve this, our results suggest advertisers should use low levels of nudity with the Intimate
appeals and use it only to promote sexually relevant products as this mirrors the only
conditions in which both genders responded positively on both dependent variables (see
Appendix 1).
This research also supports existing literature showing a gender effect when couples are
used and expands this body to show the effect when different types of appeal are used, even
ones explicitly designed to appeal to women. We note that this is not seen in the Abr
Objectified condition. The lower scores by men here may be due to consideration of the
advertiser motives and judging the use of this type of appeal as manipulative and
exploitative .
Overall, however, we conclude that whilst men and women can be advertised to using the
same type of sexual appeal, it is still likely to create a more positive response in men. The
difference may be due to the visual medium being more suited to arousing male sexuality than
for women . This reaction may also be extenuated by women’s stronger negative stimulus
avoidance response . Plutchik and others show that humans have a pervasive tendency to
classify incoming stimulus as either good or bad (affective processing). Kamhawi and Grabe
showed women, when compared to men, are more likely to avoid something they classify as
bad. This avoidance manifests itself in actions such as liking it less and identifying with the
characters less.
Whilst finding an overall effect for level of nudity, where lower levels are preferred, this
relationship was only significant for men’s Aad. That is, they preferred the mild appeals to
those that were more overt. This work indicates that men do not necessarily prefer
advertisements showing higher levels of female nudity . Indeed it appears that their negative
reaction to seeing more of the male model appears to override their preference for seeing
more of the female. Griskevicius et al. (2009) provide an explanation of this effect and why
men react negatively to male models in sexual appeals. At higher levels of nudity, the male
model is demonstrating his potentially superior physical resources. As the male respondents
do not have the option of direct aggressions, then resorting to indirect forms, they react
negatively to the model and the advert.
Regarding the lack of relationship found with the other dependent measures, we believe
the most likely reason for this is the relatively mild form of ‘overt’ manipulation used being
too weak to elicit the expected reaction in individual cells. In future research even higher
levels of overtness, including implied and actually nudity should be investigated along with
sexually suggestive taglines and other contextual cues as to the activities taking place.
In conclusion, this study shows that it is possible to appeal to men and women
simultaneously when using sexual appeals. In addressing this, it demonstrates, in detail, the
type of posing and appropriate body language to use, and hence it has significant benefits for
practitioners. In so doing, it also builds a picture of how to develop sexual appeals that work
better for women and that certain types of adverts can be inappropriate for men. By building
the hypotheses on human sexual response and body language literature, a conceptual
explanation for these findings and previous work into this type of appeal is given.
This research does not of course answer all the questions about how to advertise to both
genders simultaneously, nor, due to choices taken in the construction of the adverts, were all
advertising design options examined. Future work must examine the responses of people with
homosexual and bisexual sexual preferences. It would also be interesting to test the use of
intimacy in multimedia and non-visual media. As we concentrated only on visual stimuli,
further work on exposure rates that work for both genders would be useful. Methodologically,
the adverts were shown on computer screens rather than in print form and we did not explore
the information processing styles of the respondents. We used culturally bound models
(Caucasians with dark hair) and though overall they were rated as attractive, work is required
with different types of models. The results should also be tested with different samples
including older more conservative groups, as age and student status can be expected to affect
the findings.
Overall this research allows us, within the limitations discussed above, to make a
contribution to work explaining how to appeal to mixed gender audiences. We recommend
using appeals that are based on clothed models demonstrating intimacy, relationships and
equality rather than ones just showing sexy bodies. Critically, these should only be used for
sexually relevant products.
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Appendix 1. Descriptive statistics for Abr and ABr including P values vs. scale midpoints (49 for Abr, 42 for Abr)
Level of
Summated Aad for relevant
Summated Abr for irrelevant
Summated Abr Summated Abr for relevant
Summated Abr for irrelevant
Summated Abr
Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total
Intimate Low M69.23 59.21 62.39 60.15 43.61 48.85 64.69 51.41 55..62 57.77 49.54 52.15 44.46 37.61 39.78 51.12 43.57 45.96
SD 12.75 12.00 12.97 17.30 15.81 17.86 14.06 11.73 13.83 8.45 13.30 12.49 11.25 13.80 13.31 6.72 12.22 11.27
P .000** .000** .000** .038* .082 .958 .002* .287 .004* .000** .006* .000** .446 .104 .292 .000** .502 .030*
N13 28 41 13 28 41 13 28 41 13 28 41 13 28 41 13 28 41
High M65.91 56.86 59.97 51.36 44.00 46.53 58.64 50.43 53.25 52.18 45.33 47.69 41.00 36.43 38.00 46.59 40.88 42.84
SD 5.58 10.91 10.29 15.32 8.51 11.62 9.85 8.62 9.75 7.29 7.98 8.32 10.87 9.78 10.23 7.29 7.78 7.99
P .000** .004* .000** .620 .014* .239 .009* .457 .019* .001* .070 .001* .767 .017* .035* .063 .517 .555
N11 21 32 11 21 32 11 21 32 11 21 32 11 21 32 11 21 32
Total M67.71 58.20 61.33 56.13 43.78 47.84 61.92 50.99 54.58 55.21 47.73 50.19 42.88 37.10 39.00 49.04 42.42 44.60
SD 10.06 11.49 11.85 16.68 13.07 15.39 12.44 10.43 12.19 8.27 11.42 11.02 10.98 12.14 12.01 7.21 10.54 10.02
P .000** .000** .000** .048* .007* .520 .000** .188 .000** .000** .001* .000** .700 .007* .036* .000** .782 .030*
N24 49 73 24 49 73 24 49 73 24 39 73 24 39 73 24 39 73
Objectified Low M58.93 52.36 56.15 51.73 42.82 47.96 55.33 47.59 52.06 47.33 43.64 45.77 39.87 36.73 38.54 43.60 40.18 42.15
SD 12.96 10.22 12.12 12.74 15.62 14.44 10.48 11.91 11.55 10.27 9.60 9.97 9.01 14.11 11.30 8.81 11.48 9.96
P .010* .309 .006* .420 .219 .717 .035* .703 .189 .064 .584 .065 .374 .244 .131 .383 .611 .844
N15 11 26 15 11 26 15 11 26 15 11 26 15 11 26 15 11 26
High M56.13 49.00 52.69 40.73 35.64 38.28 48.43 42.32 45.38 46.27 39.93 43.21 32.87 31.00 31.97 39.57 35.46 37.59
SD 13.82 10.98 12.83 16.85 11.63 14.54 14.20 10.62 12.76 11.01 7.82 9.97 12.60 8.01 10.49 9.90 7.17 8.79
P .065 1.0 .133 .078 .001* .000** .879 .035* .149 .156 .340 .520 .014* .000** .000** .506 .010* .035*
N15 14 29 15 14 29 15 14 29 15 14 29 15 14 29 15 14 29
Total M57.53 50.48 54.33 46.23 38.80 42.85 51.88 44.64 48.59 46.80 41.56 44.42 36.37 33.52 35.07 41.58 37.54 39.75
SD 13.24 10.57 12.50 15.71 13.72 15.17 12.76 11.28 12.54 10.48 8.67 9.96 11.34 11.23 11.28 9.43 9.41 9.55
P .001* .491 .003* .343 .001* .004* .226 .065 .810 .018* .802 .077 .011* .001* .000** .929 .047* .193
N30 25 55 30 25 55 30 25 55 30 25 55 30 25 55 30 25 55
Total Low M63.71 57.28 59.97 55.64 43.38 48.51 59.68 50.33 54.24 52.18 47.87 49.67 42.00 37.36 39.30 47.09 42.62 44.49
SD 13.66 11.81 12.92 15.34 15.55 16.51 12.94 11.76 13.02 10.70 12.54 11.91 10.19 13.71 12.49 8.65 11.97 10.86
P .000** .000** .000** .030* .030* .808 .000** .483 .002* .000** .006* .000** 1.00 .041* .081 .002* .750 .056
N28 39 67 28 39 67 28 39 67 28 39 67 28 39 67 28 39 67
High M60.27 53.71 56.51 45.23 40.66 42.61 52.75 47.19 49.56 48.77 43.17 45.56 36.31 34.26 35.13 42.54 38.71 40.34
SD 11.99 11.46 12.04 16.78 10.57 13.63 13.35 10.16 11.85 9.90 8.25 9.34 12.37 9.39 10.71 9.42 7.91 8.72
P .000** .020* .000** .263 .000** .001* .164 .298 .715 .002* .407 .004* .027* .000** .000** .596 .035* .286
N 26 35 61 26 35 61 26 35 61 26 35 61 26 35 61 26 35 61
Total M62.06 55.59 58.32 50.63 42.09 45.70 56.34 48.84 52.01 50.54 45.65 47.71 39.26 35.89 37.31 44.90 40.77 42.51
SD 12.88 11.71 12.58 16.74 13.41 15.43 13.47 11.07 12.65 10.37 10.91 10.92 11.55 11.89 11.82 9.23 10.37 10.08
P .000** .000** .000** .478 .000** .017* .000** .861 .003* .000** .005* .000** .087 .000** .000** .011* .399 .378
N54 74 128 54 74 128 54 74 128 54 74 128 54 74 128 54 74 128
... Accordingly, research investigating the effectiveness of sexual appeals in advertisements has also been abundant. This branch of advertising research has revealed consumption contexts (Jayasinghe and Ritson 2013), gender differences (Brunel and Nelson 2003;Darley and Smith 1995;Fisher and Dub e 2005), the product-sexual appeal match (Black and Morton 2017;Chang and Tseng 2013), and audiences' sexual attitudes (El Hazzouri, Main, and Sinclair 2019;Read, van Driel, and Potter 2018;Sengupta and Dahl 2008) as factors influencing the effectiveness of sexual appeals. ...
... Moreover, previous research has investigated whether and how product-sexual appeal match influences the effectiveness of sexual appeals (e.g., Black and Morton 2017;Chang and Tseng 2013;Wirtz, Sparks, and Zimbres 2018). With regard to the relevance of product-sexual appeal match, we employ both products that highly match with sexual appeals and those that do not match well with sexual appeals to explore whether the proposed effect would be moderated by the degree of product-sexual appeal match in different studies. ...
... Previous research has revealed the positive effects of product-sexual appeal match on ad appeal (e.g., Peterson and Kerin 1977), ad attitude (Black and Morton 2017), product attitude (e.g., Simpson, Horton, and Brown 1996), brand attitude (e.g., Black and Morton 2017), and message recognition and recall (e.g., Wirtz, Sparks, and Zimbres 2018). Notably, realworld advertising practices correspond to these findings. ...
This research explores consumers’ responses to sexual appeals in advertisements in the context of access-based consumption. The results indicate that male consumers’ responses toward sexual appeals are more negative when the advertised products are access based (versus ownership based). For female consumers, sexual appeals lead to equally negative responses in the two consumption modes (Study 1). Male consumers react more negatively to sexual appeals (versus nonsexual appeals) when the advertised product is access based because of a heightened desire for possessiveness, which conflicts with the nonpossessive nature of access-based consumption (Study 2). Notably, the negative effect induced by sexual appeals in access-based consumption mode is supported regardless of whether the degree of match between advertised product and sexual appeals is high or low (Study 3). Moreover, sexually conservative consumers respond to sexual appeals more negatively when the advertised products are access based (versus ownership based) (Study 4). These findings have important implications for advertising activities in the context of access-based consumption and the sharing economy.
... Thus, studies on the effect of athlete attractiveness on advertising effectiveness directly test the effect of physical attractiveness (e.g. Fink et al., 2004Fink et al., , 2012, which is also referred to as sex appeal (Black & Morton, 2017) and is a sub-dimension of the likability dimension of the source attractiveness model. Table 1 summarizes the literature on the effects of an athlete endorser's attractiveness on customer equity drivers. ...
... The first objective of our study is to extend the source attractiveness model in order to guide advertisers in selecting an athlete endorser with the specific types of attractiveness that are most effective in advertising. Most research on attractiveness seeks to explain partner choice, where biological explanations for attractiveness perceptions play a dominant role (Black & Morton, 2017;Buss, 1989;Buunk et al., 2002). However, these theories only partially explain the nature and behavioral influence of celebrity endorsers of ads because consumers do not necessarily regard these celebrities as their prospective partners. ...
... These types of appeal can be classified broadly into sex appeal, personality appeal, and success appeal (Black & Morton, 2017;Buss, 1989;Buunk et al., 2002;Hartz, 1996). Both sex appeal and personality appeal lead to appreciation of the person's physical and mental characteristics and induce the expectation of enjoying the attractive person's presence. ...
Full-text available
Research question: According to past research, the effectiveness of athlete endorsements of advertised products is low on average and strongly depends on the context. This article extends the source attractiveness model to examine two research questions: 1) How do multiple unexplored types of an athlete endorser’s attractiveness affect customer equity drivers? 2) How do these effects vary by the fit of an athlete endorser with the endorsed product and with the consumer’s gender and sports experience? Research methods: This research uses hierarchical linear modeling of 1319 consumer evaluations of athlete-endorsed ads in Japan. Results and Findings: Among multiple types of an athlete’s attractiveness, an athlete’s success appeal, personality appeal, and athlete-product similarity, but not sex appeal, positively affect customer equity drivers. Due to gender roles, success appeal and personality appeal have stronger effects and athlete-product similarity has weaker effects for male athletes. Contrary to conventional wisdom, sex appeal is not more influential for female athletes. Reflecting sexual preferences in opposite-gender evaluations, a female athlete’s sex appeal more strongly influences male consumers, whereas a male athlete’s success appeal more strongly influences female consumers. A consumer’s sports experience enhances the influence of an athlete’s success appeal. Implications: This research identifies a set of contextual moderators (athlete-product fit; athlete-consumer fit in gender and sports experience) of the effectiveness of different attractiveness types in athlete endorsements of advertised products. It provides guidelines on how to enhance the effectiveness of athlete endorsements by using different types of athlete attractiveness in different contexts. Keywords: athlete endorsement; gender; match-up hypothesis; sports experience; source attractiveness model.
... They represent an important slice of commercials and continue to be an extremely popular advertising technique. Sex continues to be a tremendously effective promotion platform (Black & Morton, 2017). There are several types of sexual appeals in advertising (Cunha & Sauerbronn, 2014): exposure of body and nudity, sexual behaviour, sexual context and sexual references. ...
... Participants continued with the intention to buy when they encountered paternalistic ads that portrayed women in gender assigned roles. In the case of sexual ads, while some authors argue that sexuality develops negative attitudes on the part of consumers (Latour & Henthorne, 1993;Dahl et al., 2009), others oppose such influence (Wan et al., 2014), stating that it is possible to content women with sexual ads (Reichert et al, 2011;Black & Morton, 2017). ...
... Second, this literature is based on a large variety of methodologies, which complicates the interpretation of the unique role of female and male model sexualization in advertisements. For example, some studies used single-model ads (either female or male ;Dudley 1999;Simpson et al. 1996), whereas other studies used ads portraying couples (Black and Morton 2017;LaTour and Henthorne 1994;Putrevu 2008). ...
... In addition, previous research has shown that consumers' purchase intentions may be positively affected by the congruency between the gender-relevance of the product and the level of sexualization of the ad (e.g., Black and Morton 2017;Simpson et al. 1996; see also Wirtz et al. 2018 for a meta-analysis). Gender-relevant products are those products that are congruent with gender stereotypes-for example, masculine-typed liquor (Grazer and Kessling 1995), and feminine-typed fragrances (LaTour 1990;Reichert et al. 2001). ...
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To test the “sex sells” assumption, we examined how Italian men and women react to sexualized advertising. Women showed lower product attractiveness and purchase intentions toward products presented with sexualized female models than with neutral ads, whereas men were unaffected by ads’ sexualization (Study 1, n = 251). Study 2 (n = 197) replicated the overall results. Study 3 (n = 198) tested hostile sexism as a moderator as well as negative emotions as a mediator of consumers’ responses. Especially men with higher hostile sexism showed more purchase intentions after viewing female sexualized ads than neutral ads. Moreover, women’s lower consumer responses toward sexualized female ads were due to higher negative emotions. Study 4 (n = 207) included ads with both female and male models, replicating responses to female sexualization and showing that both women and men had lower product attractiveness and purchase intentions toward male sexualized ads than neutral ads. Replicating and extending Study 3’s results, women’s negative emotions was the mediator. The present study has practical implications for marketers because it suggests that “sex does not sell.” In addition, considering both the psychological damage and practical inefficacy of sexualized ads, our findings have important implications for public policy.
... As a result, customers are more likely to buy the goods because of the advertisement's sexual attractions. When words alone are not doing the job, sex appeal is often utilized in commercials to draw customers' intention (Black and Morton, 2015). Sexual appeal in advertising has a greater impact on women's purchasing decisions and self-esteem. ...
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Consumer buying behavior is an important aspect in every marketing strategy to produce maximum output from the market. This study aims to determine how advertisement affects consumer buying behavior and brand loyalty by considering a mediator between brand awareness and the moderating role of perceived quality. For this purpose, this study targets the rising cosmetics industry. This study used the purposive sampling technique to collect data from 300 respondents with the help of an online survey method via Google doc. The partial least squares structural equation modeling PLS-SEM was applied to verify the hypotheses relationships. The findings have confirmed that advertisements substantially predicted brand awareness, brand loyalty, and consumer buying behavior. Furthermore, brand awareness partially mediated the association of advertisement with brand loyalty and consumer buying behavior. Also, perceived quality is significantly moderated on the association of brand awareness with brand loyalty and consumer buying behavior. Based on such findings, this study has contributed to the literature and provided new insights into the practical implications alongside the future roadmap of the survey.
... Physical attractiveness can increase the perceived credibility of the communicator and his/her persuasiveness (Baker and Churchill 1977). Ads with attractive models have been found to enhance ad evaluation (Reichert, LaTour, and Ford 2011;Black and Morton 2017;Wan, Luk, and Chow 2014), message recall (Shimp 2007), product evaluation (Kahle and Homer 1985), and purchase intention (Caballero and Solomon 1984). This suggests that a model's attractiveness likely increases promotional effectiveness: ...
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Based on culture identity theory and schema theory, we investigate how model ethnicity influences the perception and effectiveness of potentially offensive nudity advertising in Asia and Western Europe. Study 1 with 5,193 ad evaluations by 1,731 subjects from two countries shows that the overall perceived offensiveness in nudity advertising was higher in Asia (China) than in Western Europe (Austria). While previous research indicates that same-ethnicity endorsers are typically favorable for advertising outcomes, our study demonstrates that same-ethnicity endorsers in nudity advertising led to a higher perceived offensiveness and more negative advertising outcomes in Asia, as compared to endorsers of other ethnicities. In Western Europe, in contrast, same-ethnicity endorsers led to a lower perceived offensiveness and more positive advertising outcomes. A follow-up experiment with 373 subjects validated the results. We suggest a model of multi-ethnic offensive nudity advertising effects that is tested with structural equation modeling. Our findings have implications for international advertising theory and international advertising practice.
... Overall, the literature on this topic has suggested that sexual advertising leads to superior recall of the advertisement (King et al., 2015;Leka et al., 2013;Toverljani et al., 2017;Wirtz et al., 2018), but it has been less clear whether sexual appeals improve brand memory and/or increase consumers' brand purchase intentions (Black & Morton, 2017;Vezich et al., 2017;Wirtz et al., 2018). While several studies have offered evidence that sexual appeals increase memory for both advertisements and brands (e.g., Ferguson et al., 2010), a recent metaanalytic review concluded that sexual appeals improved memory for the advertisement scene but did not impact brand memory (Wirtz et al., 2018). ...
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This study investigated implicit and explicit memory effects of sexual and non-sexual advertisements embedded in either a sexual or non-sexual program among women viewers. We predicted that sexual appeals would facilitate implicit memory for the brand, and we explored whether program-type (sexual or non-sexual) and its associated congruity would impact or moderate recall of the surrounding advertisement among a small sample (n = 52) of exclusively women advertisement viewers. Sexual (versus non-sexual) advertising led to significantly worse implicit memory for the brand logo but better explicit recall for the advertisement scene itself. There was no effect of sexual appeals on explicit brand name recall, and no significant effect on advertisement recall of the program type. There was a significant interaction effect for program type and advertisement type for explicit recall of the advertisement scene, in which program-type moderated sexual advertisement recall. These results suggest that sexual advertising may increase memory for the advertisement at the expense of recalling the brand advertised. Limitations and implications of this study are discussed.
Purpose The purpose of this research is to extend theoretical knowledge of key variables and their interactions that impact the persuasiveness of online influencers. The study explores the interactions between influencer gender, follower gender, influencer physical attractiveness, influencer product-match and influencer-follower homophily on persuasiveness of influencer product promotions. Although the extant literature shows the persuasive impact of attractiveness, product-match, gender and homophily, less is known about the interactions of these variables with each other and the gender of the influencer and his or her followers. These gaps in the literature are explored. Design/methodology/approach The study is a scenario-based experiment where respondents were randomly assigned to cells where influencer attractiveness and product-match were manipulated. The variables of homophily and respondent gender were measured and recorded, respectively. The data were collected through an online survey done through Qualtrics. Findings The findings show that for female influencers, homophily felt by their followers is a dominant persuasive factor, which tends to supersede the variables of attractiveness and product-match. For male influencers, homophily is an incremental persuasive variable. That is, homophily, attractiveness and product-match interact such that persuasiveness is highest when all three variables are strong. Research limitations/implications Limitations are that the authors used a student sample and a hypothetical scenario-based experiment. Theoretical implications are interesting in that the authors have results which add to theory on the factors that make an online influencer more persuasive. Specifically, the authors contribute by extending theoretical knowledge about the interactions of key variables that influence the impact of online influencers. Practical implications For a manager marketing products using influencers, it is very important to stress homophily cues for female influencers more than other variables. However, for male influencers, product knowledge or match, homophily and attractiveness all need to work simultaneously to maximize influencer persuasiveness. Social implications One needs to understand that physical attractiveness and perceived homophily with the influencer have significant influence and persuasiveness, regardless of product or service. Hence, there needs to be social responsibility in what is advertised and promoted, given that followers may be persuaded by influencers no matter what the product or service is. Originality/value To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first study that explores the persuasiveness of online influencers from the perspective of the variable interactions described above.
The contribution that active sexism and daily sexist attitudes and behaviours provide to gender inequality happens in a large scale and seems to be a recurrent problem. The majority of authors' state that sexism can be divided in two categories: benevolent sexism and hostile sexism. One of the major problems is that the concept of sexism still faces, along with the concept of feminism, its society misunderstanding of the concepts. In an exploratory and conceptual perspective, this chapter presents contributions for communication, marketing, and advertising around the phenomenon of sexism. In a more practical contribution, the case study focuses on the motives why sexism in advertising doesn't seem to bother consumers when they decide to purchase an item. This chapter aims to present a critical review and theoretical contribution about sexism and advertising in the global world.
In the face of an increasingly competitive and global market, where communication channels are massified and where information sharing between consumers occurs in such a fast and uncontrolled way, brands need to reinvent their communication plans, with the aim of focus on the emotional side of the consumer. Thus, in this context, the integrated communication mix emerges as a competitive strategy to meet the needs of consumers. Therefore, the main objective of this chapter is to understand the role of the Integrated Marketing Communications in the context of an organization linked to ecological tours. This chapter presents contributions to the area of marketing and communication (integrated), tourism (ecological) and a response to the pandemic and post-pandemic scenario (i.e., covid-19), at the level of response strategies in the context of a pandemic in 2020 (through digital communication channels). A qualitative methodology was adopted, using semi-structured interviews with organizational managers in the context of ecological tours in Portugal (i.e., Ekoeasy case study). Ecotourism as a concept is neither easy to define, nor to implement. Ecotourism is a complex concept as it involves specialised niche markets that can share a lot of characteristics, preferences and motivations or vary for the same reasons. Future studies should allow to complement the present investigation, through empirical study and quantitative nature (i.e., questionnaires to tourist consumers in the North of Portugal).
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This experimental study presents an evolutionary psychology explanation for gender differences in responding to television news. It tests the idea that women are drawn to stimuli that are moderately arousing when they are framed positively and avoid negative ones, while men approach negatively framed stimuli more than positive ones. Men and women's affective and cognitive judgments of news messages in different valence frames (positive, negative, and ambiguous) were measured. The 2 groups exhibited different patterns in their reaction to the news message conditions in line with this hypothesis.
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The results of an experiment examining the use of attitude toward the ad and brand-related beliefs in brand attitude formation under two different processing "sets"-brand evaluation and nonbrand evaluation-are reported. Findings suggest that attitude toward the advertisement affects attitude toward the advertised brand as much under a brand evaluation set as under a nonbrand evaluation set.
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This study draws on differences between men and women's attitudes about sex, either as an end in itself (men) or as inextricably linked to relationship commitment (women) to understand attitudes toward the gratuitous use of sex in advertising. In line with predictions, four experiments showed that women's spontaneous dislike of sexual ads softened when the ad could be interpreted in terms of commitment- related resources being offered by men to women. In contrast, men's positive attitudes toward sexual ads were relatively unaffected by the salience of relationship commitment cues. These results not only offer insights into consumer reactions to sexual advertising but also inform theories on how men and women conceptualize sexual behaviors and relationships.
Social exchange and evolutionary models of mate selection incorporate economic assumptions but have not considered a key distinction between necessities and luxuries. This distinction can clarify an apparent paradox: Status and attractiveness, though emphasized by many researchers, are not typically rated highly by research participants. Three studies supported the hypothesis that women and men first ensure sufficient levels of necessities in potential mates before considering many other characteristics rated as more important in prior surveys. In Studies 1 and 2, participants designed ideal long-term mates, purchasing various characteristics with 3 different budgets. Study 3 used a mate-screening paradigm and showed that people inquire 1st about hypothesized necessities. Physical attractiveness was a necessity to men, status and resources were necessities to women, and kindness and intelligence were necessities to both.
I examine how the increasing ability of firms to target their ads influences market outcomes when consumers have access to advertising-avoidance tools. Although firms generally benefit from improved targeting, consumers need not. I also show that there may be too little blocking of ads in equilibrium and consider the role of targeted advertising when niche firms compete against mass-market firms.
Graphic sexual appeals grab attention but the advertising literature suggests that these messages are far from a “magic bullet.” Using a large national panel ( N = 1,506), the current research manipulated levels of nudity in fragrance ads and assessed key constructs including Sexual Self Schema, Sensation Seeking, and dimensions of the Reidenbach-Robin Multi-dimensional Ethics Scale to determine which factors best account for individual response. Findings indicate that elements of all three variables were important predicators of viewers' emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral responses, especially as nudity increased. The results elucidate key factors for managerial action when incorporating sexual appeals in brand building.
Several studies investigating the positive effects of including highly attractive models (HAMs) in advertising have failed to unilaterally support their use. This paper explores the differential effects of pairing highly versus normally attractive models with different types of attractiveness-relevant products. Contrary to past research (Kahle and Homer 1985; Kamins 1990), the results suggest that HAMS are not the most effective choice for all categories of attractiveness-relevant products. This research also explores the method by which the match between model attractiveness and product type influences advertising effectiveness. Results suggest that a match between a model and a product improves ad effectiveness not necessarily through the elicitation of product arguments from model appearance, but instead by heightening perceptions of the model's expertise about the product.
What are the effects of employing either nudity or sexual overtones in advertising, and do males and females react differently?