Magazine trends study finds increase in advertisements using sex

Jun 05, 2012

Sex sells, or at least that is what advertisers hope. A recent study from the University of Georgia looked at sexual ads appearing in magazines over 30 years and found that the numbers are up.

"Advertisers use sex because it can be very effective," said researcher Tom Reichert, professor and head of the department of advertising and public relations in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and . "Sex sells because it attracts attention. People are hard wired to notice sexually relevant information so ads with sexual content get noticed."

People also succumb to the 'buy this, get this' imagery used in ads, he said.

"Some young men actually think Axe body spray will drive women crazy," he said. "But, brand impressions are shaped by images in advertising, too. Arguable, Calvin Klein and Victoria's Secret are not much different than Hanes or Vassarette, but perception studies show those brands are perceived as 'sexy,' and some customers want that."

Looking at 3,232 full-page ads published in 1983, 1993 and 2003 in popular magazines Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Esquire, Playboy, and Time, researchers found sexual imagery in 20 percent of the ads. Using sex to sell everything from alcohol to banking services has increased over the years: 15 percent of ads used sex to sell in 1983; that percentage grew to 27 percent in 2003.

Ads were categorized based on the models' clothing, or lack thereof, and physical contact between models.

"Our findings show that the increase in visual sexual imagery over the three decades of analysis is attributable to products already featuring sexual content in ads, not necessarily widespread adoption by other product categories," Reichert said. "Specifically, alcohol, entertainment and beauty ads are responsible for much of the increase."

The study showed sex is primarily used to sell low-risk products purchased on impulse.

"Sex is not as effective when selling high-risk, informational products such as banking services, appliances and utility trucks," he said.

Much of the growth was seen in alcohol, entertainment and beauty advertising. Out of 18 product categories, those most often using sexual imagery in advertising were health and hygiene at 38 percent; beauty, 36 percent; drugs and medicine, 29 percent, clothing, 27 percent; travel, 23 percent; and entertainment, 21 percent.

"In almost every study I've seen, gives a purchase advantage in such instances," Reichert said.

Products not using sex in their ads were charitable organizations and computer companies.

Women are used to sell products most often when pitching sex. In ads sampled from 2003, 92 percent of beauty ads that contained models were female. Just under half the ads did not contain models.

With the exception of entertainment advertising, females overwhelming occupy the pages of sex-selling advertisements. Of the 38 percent of provocative health and hygiene advertisements that feature models, 31 percent feature females and 7 percent feature males.

"Perhaps more important, this analysis shows that the proportion for alcohol ads in 2003 increased to about one sexual ad for every three ads (37 percent)," Reichert said. "Using to sell products such as alcohol and tobacco is a moral issue."

Reichert said this upward trend in erotic is a reflection of society.

"It takes more explicitness to grab our attention and arouse us than before," he said. "In the early 1900s, exposed arms and ankles of female models generated the same level of arousal as partially nude models do today. We can see during our lifetimes the changes in sexually explicit content on television, movies, books and other forms of media beyond just advertising."

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User comments : 7

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dschlink
not rated yet Jun 05, 2012
Sex is very good for attracting attention to the model(s), but detract from the product. Is there any wonder that the advertising community awards are for ad recognition and not product recognition?
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 05, 2012
I will purchase anything a pretty women tells me to purchase because a corporate culture has trained me to do so.

New Capitalist Motto.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jun 06, 2012
[q9A recent study from the University of Georgia looked at sexual ads appearing in magazines over 30 years and found that the numbers are up
And in other news: grass is green.

Using sex to sell everything from alcohol to banking services

Those aren't the extremes but the prime suspects. Alcohol and money: The two easiest ways to get sex. OF COURSE wil their ads include sexual imagery. They'd be stupid if they didn't.

Products not using sex in their ads were ... computer companies.

I think computers don't need to sell USING sexual imagery. If the computer comes with an internet connection (and which computer doesn't these days) then it's basically the only product where the imagery is pretty much included in the purchase.
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (1) Jun 07, 2012
Magazine trends study finds increase in advertisements using sex


Is that even possible? Their percentages seem low. Way low. Of course I don't have contradictory data, but I would have assumed the percentages had maxed out by now, and the only way to get an "increase in advertisements using sex", numerically, would simply be to have an "increase in advertisements" overall.

"Sex is not as effective when selling high-risk, informational products such as banking services, appliances and utility trucks,"


They must get different channels than I do.

Oh, and @antialias_physorg - another great post. What's with you today?
SatanLover
0.8 / 5 (25) Jun 07, 2012
Masturbate every day to keep the STDs away.
PussyCat_Eyes
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 07, 2012
Masturbate every day to keep the STDs away.
- -

Well, that certainly is the safer approach behind complete abstinence. I had a patient who was 76 years old at the time and we would all be giggling as we approached his private room because we knew what to expect. Sure enough when the door was opened, he'd be in there masturbating with an open to the centerfold copy of Penthouse. We would have to ask one of the male nurses to clean him up and wash him down. The guys would kid around and say, "why don't YOU do it?" After he was cleaned up and a wearing a clean gown, I would give him his meds. He was a nice old geezer anyway. LOL
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2012
Masturbate every day to keep the STDs away.
- -

Well, that certainly is the safer approach behind complete abstinence. I had a patient who was 76 years old at the time and we would all be giggling as we approached his private room because we knew what to expect. Sure enough when the door was opened, he'd be in there masturbating with an open to the centerfold copy of Penthouse. We would have to ask one of the male nurses to clean him up and wash him down. The guys would kid around and say, "why don't YOU do it?" After he was cleaned up and a wearing a clean gown, I would give him his meds. He was a nice old geezer anyway. LOL
If I didn't know this was pirouette/Ritchieguy/russkiye I might think this was a nurse describing a real event. But since it is pirouette/Ritchieguy/russkiye I can understand it is only some sicko indulging in a sick fantasy while trying to build yet one more sockpuppet persona.