Sexuality in advertising
Most people who happen to watch television, read periodicals or to get outside their home have indubitably encounter advertising. They may also have confronted what may be called “sexual advertising”, where images of human bodies are, more or less explicitly, depicted. My intentions, writing this paper, are to know if this kind of advertising really works at persuading its audience and if so, how does it operate. To do this, I will use a strictly technical perspective, i.e. academic researches and statistics. It will also be an occasion to expose interesting and revealing research on the matter. My hypothesis, and thesis, is that the use of sexual imagery in advertising is effective at persuading but only under certain conditions.
In the following research, I will first define what constitute a sexual advertisement and then, enquire on the role of some variables in the process (sex and age). Lastly, I will try to understand the psychological process of an exposure to that kind of advertising and then, as I will conclude, interpret all of the evidences.
Overview of variables
1.1 Content of a sexual advertisement
When hearing “sexual advertisement”, most people will associate the term with the image of an aggressive advertisement that expose sexual, suggestive and provocative situations. While they would not necessarily be wrong, researchers have identified other and more precise types of content that constitute a sexual advertisement: nudity sexual behavior, physical attractiveness, sexual referent and sexual embeds. (Reichert, 14)
a) Nudity: The most common type of content is nudity. In a research done in 2000, participants were asked to think of a sexual ad and to identify its characteristics. Physical aspects of models and revealing clothing were, without exception, mentioned the most often. Common examples include muscular characteristics of male model (arms and abdominal) and minimal clothing of woman (bikinis,