It’s our nature as human beings to constantly think about sex. Men think about it an average of 19 times a day, while for women it’s a less compulsive 10 times a day.
It’s also in our nature to try to capitalize on that scientific fact financially, giving us the idea that sex sells. But according to new data, that’s not necessarily the truth.
Researchers from the University of Illinois reviewed 78 studies conducted on ads from 1969 to present day and analyzed thousands of subjects’ reactions to sex-filled advertising. While participants were more prone to remembering sexy ads (men more so than women, of course), that didn’t translate into more sales of the product. It was also concluded that participants were not any more likely to remember the actual brand in the ad.
“We found literally zero effect on participants’ intention to buy products in ads with a sexual appeal,” said the study’s lead author John Wirtz . “This assumption that sex sells–well, no, according to our study, it doesn’t. There’s no indication that there’s a positive effect.”
Accurate or not, it’s hard to imagine a study, any study, having the slightest effect on a trend as deeply seated as sex in advertising. We sure hope not, at least.