Sociology 2172A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Double Entendre, Nudity, Physical Attractiveness

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WHAT IS SEX IN ADVERTISING?
Using sex to sell may prove to have a limited life
Soon, advertisers will use models wearing clothes in order to catch attention, rather
than the other way round
There are other forms of sexual imagery other than nudity – provocative clothing,
suggestive positions
Persuasion from sexual ads occurs in a linear manner
Sexual appeals are persuasive appeals that contain sexual information in the message
The degree to which sex is featured in ads can vary – fully clothed physically attractive
men and women can be considered an instance of sex in advertising; sexual innuendos
Types of sexual information in advertising:
oNudity – amount and style of clothing worn by models
oSexual behaviour – behaviour, demeanor, words, tone of voice, level of sexual
contact
oPhysical attractiveness – model’s physical beauty
oSexual referents – images/words that subtly refer to sex or that trigger sexual
thoughts through double entendre or innuendos; depend on the receiver to
interpret the message in the intended way; are implicit because they depend on
the receiver to generate the sexual thoughts
oSexual embeds – content interpreted as sexual at the subconscious level
Ex: the word sex, objects shaped or positioned like genitalia, hidden
images of naked people
Intensity of an ad refers to the degree to which a persuasive message deviates from
neutrality
Majority of studies done surrounding the effectiveness of sex in advertising have only
assessed male responses to female sexual imagery, primarily because most sexual
information is represented by images of women
BEYOND SUBLIMINAL – THE PERVASIVENESS OF PERSUASION
The persuasive aspect of advertising messages are strategically chosen by advertisers
Aim to indicate how consumers will think/feel when they buy/use the product
Consumers buy products based on what they feel will address their needs/wants
Subliminal advertising – message is placed under an individual’s margin of consciousness
Third-person effect – although individuals believe that they are active consumers, they
know others who have been affected by the subliminal strength of advertising
Active consumers would not be susceptible to subliminal advertising because they are
actively involved with absorbing the information that they see and hear
Product placement – incorporates brands into media (ex: movies, TV shows, etc.)
Advertorials – combines editorial content and advertising
Von Restorff effect – placing a familiar product in an unexpected context will have
positive effects in terms of product awareness and recall
Interpretation of meaning has the potential to generate unintended effects:
oContent may be compromised
oBlurring of advertising and editorial messages
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