COLUMBUS, Ohio – If there’s one thing advertisers think they know, it is that sex and violence sell.
A new analysis, however, provides some of the best evidence to date that this widely accepted adage just isn’t true.
Researchers analyzed the results of 53 different experiments (a so-called meta-analysis) involving nearly 8,500 people, done over 44 years. All of these experiments examined some facet of the question of whether sexual or violent media content could help sell advertised products.
When all the results are considered together, the overall conclusion, with some caveats, is that programs featuring violence and sex aren’t the ideal context for effective advertising, said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.
It’s not that people don’t pay attention to sex and violence in the media, Bushman said. In fact, an evolutionary perspective would say it is just the opposite.
“People are so focused on the sex and violence they see in the media that they pay less attention to the advertising messages that appear along with it,” Bushman said.
Source: Pam Frost Gorder, https://news.osu.edu