A group of scientists, along with an Indian-origin boffin, has found the formula as to how marketers can make women consumers respond to sexy advertisements.
In today's advertising world, marketers are increasingly using radical images that include nudity and sexual language.
Previous studies have demonstrated that women exhibit negative reactions to explicit sexual content in advertising, said Darren W. Dahl (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Jaideep Sengupta (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), and Kathleen D. Vohs (University of Minnesota).
"Our work builds upon existing perspectives in sexual psychology, which argues for stark differences in men's and women's sexual beliefs and motivations. This literature portrays men as having positive attitudes towards casual and recreational sex, whereas women value the emotional intimacy and commitment that can surround the sexual relationship," authors said.
They researchers said that if marketers are determined to use sex in advertising, there might be ways to do it that can attract customers of both sexes.
They proposed that women's attitudes toward sexually oriented advertising would improve if ads depicted sex in a manner consistent with women's intrinsic values, for example if the sexual behavior appeared to reflect devotion and commitment.
"Findings from our initial experiments were supportive of this hypothesis. Experiment 1 illustrated that commitment-related cues in the ad itself (for example, positioning the product as a gift to a woman from a man) boosted women's attitudes," the authors said.
The researchers have urged marketers to 'exercise caution' when it comes to sex in advertising, but they needn't abandon it altogether.
"The present experiments also revealed that the appropriate use of positioning and relationship context can improve women's attitudes toward the ad and brand," they said.
The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research.