Magazine article Psychology Today

Blinded by the Thrill

Magazine article Psychology Today

Blinded by the Thrill

Article excerpt

EXPLOSIONS, GUN BATTLES, bare skin, and make-out sessions reliably seize our attention, so it seems natural for advertisers to position their brands near sexy or violent material- the more eyes watching, the better. According to a paper in the journal Psychological Bulletin, however, this logic may have some holes. Breaking down the data from 53 experiments, communication researcher Robert Lull of the University of Pennsylvania and psychologist Brad Bushman of The Ohio State University extracted several findings.

Advertisements that featured violent or sexual contentor were attached to programming that did-were no more successful overall at building consumer interest than ads with no connection to sex or violence, the researchers found.

On several counts, connecting brands to violent or sexual material may backfire. Ads that were tied to violent media-TV spots during a war film, for exampletended to be less effective at generating positive brand impressions, memories of the brands depicted, and desire to buy them. …

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