I was browsing through my Facebook feed yesterday and bumped into something truly interesting. It was a post by Facebook’s Chief Operation Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg about the latest research on sex in advertisement.
The Bloomberg Business piece states that sex does not sell. The story reveals that commercial content with neutral themes are more effective than those laced with sensual perspectives. The report in discussion was published by the academic journal Psychological Bulletin.
“It never helps to have violence and sex in commercials. It either hurts, or has no effect at all,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University. The study resulted out of 53 experiments.
What he basically meant is that attention is diverted from the message to the violent and obscene acts. While some of the campaing may be memorable, less customers are likely to buy into the brand.
The co-author of the study adds that there is no major difference in how women and men perceive advertising. A perfect example of a successful campaign that avoided sex and violence is Obama’s 2008 Presidential bid. It focused mostly on video games.