Wednesday, March 07, 2007

S*x Sells . . . NOT!

Warning to all advertising execs: A fascinating article in the March 3rd-9th The Economist, "The Big Turn Off," seems to show that "s*x does not sell anything other than itself."
Ellie Parker and Adrian Furnham of University College London devised an experiment to test three ideas. The first was to confirm that men and women alike would struggle to remember the brand of a product that was advertised during a break in a programme that contained s*x. The second was that commercials that had an er*tic element would be recalled more readily than those that did not. Finally they wanted to know whether people would remember the advertisement more easily if its theme contrasted with the programme into which it had been inserted.

Test subjects who watched advertisements included in the middle of a particularly "hot" episode of "S*x in the City" were "less able to name which brands had been advertised than were the groups that had watched 'Malcolm in the Middle,' whether or not the advertisement tried to be s*xy. Even when the researchers prompted their recall, by naming the type of product that had been advertised, the viewers of 'S*x in the City' failed to remember what they had seen, compared with the groups that had seen more mundane scenes" [emphasis added--JAH].

The Economist's report said Parker and Furnham's work is detailed in the March 2007 issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology.
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