Impact of Sexual Content in Advertising on Purchasing Behaviour of Customers: An Empirical Analysis

By Malik, Garima | ASBM Journal of Management, January-June 2016 | Go to article overview

Impact of Sexual Content in Advertising on Purchasing Behaviour of Customers: An Empirical Analysis


Malik, Garima, ASBM Journal of Management


Introduction

In today's society, advertising has a profound impact on how people understand life, the world and themselves, especially in regard to their values and their ways of choosing and behaving. The field of advertising is extremely broad and diverse. In general terms, an advertisement is simply a public notice meant to convey information and invite patronage or some other response. Over the years, advertising and marketing communication messages have created a lot of debatable ethical issues, due to public belief that advertisements nowadays deeply affect the way people perceive themselves and the world surrounding them, inclu ding cru c i a l a c t i ons and beh a viors (Foley1999). For these reasons, moral issues in marketing are important, given the fact that marketing is expected to identify, predict and satisfy customer requirements profitably (Carrigan et al, 2005). Due to the difficult equation between both ends of the marketer's responsibility, some actions (like certain Ads), have led to the creation of new laws and regulations regarding the world of advertising (Clow & Baack, 2007).

In order to have a better understanding of the situation, the researchers need to further explore the world of advertisements, the appeals used, the targeted decision-making components and the effects of Ads on the targeted consumer as a whole Advertising also has an indirect but powerful impact on society through its influence on media. Many publications and broadcasting operations depend on advertising revenue for survival. This often is true of religious media as well as commercial media. For their part, advertisers naturally seek to reach audiences; and the media, striving to deliver audiences to advertisers, must shape their content so to attract audiences of the size and demographic composition sought. Advertisers resort to various kinds of tactics to get people to buy their products or patronize their services, e.g. humor, selfesteem, peer pressure, etc. However, the one that is assumed to be the most popular and the most effective is the use of sex in advertising.

Sex in advertising is the use of sexual attraction as a tool of persuasion to draw interest to a particular product for the purpose of sale. Nudity in advertising falls in this category, even if it is often only suggestively so. Over the past few years, the use of increasingly explicit sexual appeals in consumer-oriented print advertising has become almost commonplace. Sexuality is considered one of the most powerful tools of marketing and particularly advertising.

Robbie Duschinsky (2013), proposed the term 'sexualisation', indicating the innocence and desirability of the young females to intensify the demands of the opposite gender. The term 'sexualisation' has been used as an interpretive theory of contradictory gender norms, using the figure of the 'girl'. Use of sexual imagery in advertising has been criticized on different grounds. Conservatives, especially religious ones, often consider it obscene. Some feminists feel it objectifies women, as women are more often portrayed in a sexual manner than men. In recent years ads for jeans, perfumes, and many other products have featured provocative images that were designed to elicit sexual responses from as large a cross section of the population as possible, to appeal to repressed sexual desires, which are thought to carry a stronger emotional load.

Sex appeal is one of the seven different appeals used in advertising. It can be defined as messages, whether as brand information in advertising contexts or as persuasive appeals in marketing contexts, which are integrated with sexual information. It can also be defined as the degree of nudity or sexual explicitness in an Ad, It can be found in visual, audio, and verbal elements of advertisements (Liu & Li & Cheng 2006).

Maddy Coy et al. (2010) has suggested that glamour embeds confidence in communication and attracts the audience effectively. …

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