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Sexual Ads Off-Putting to Women, Unless the Item Is Expensive

Censored American Apparel ad.
Censored American Apparel ad.

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According to a new study published in Psychological Science, the old adage "sex sells" is only true for half of the population. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that women are unimpressed by sexual imagery, unless the item advertised is expensive.

By way of explanation, psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs wrote, "Women generally show spontaneous negative attitudes toward sexual images. Sexual economics theory offers a reason why: The use of sexual imagery is inimical to women's vested interest in sex being portrayed as infrequent, special, and rare."

In order to get authentic gut reactions, the researchers sapped both male and female brain power by asking participants to memorize a 10-digit code before viewing ads for women's watches. Some watches were shown with "a majestic mountain range" and others with sexually explicit images, and they were alternatively price at $10 and $1,250. The subjects then had to rate the products based on their attitudes or feelings. The study states that, "Overall, women who saw the sexual imagery with the cheap watch rated the ad more negatively in comparison to women who saw the sexual imagery with the pricey watch." Dudes were pretty okay with both ads on the whole.
· Women Find Sexually Explicit Ads Unappealing — Unless the Price Is Right [Pyschological Science]
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· Happy Socks' New Ads Are Very Naked. And Dancy. [Racked]