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The Drake
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Sex doesn't sell?

quote:
Furnham and co-author Ellie Parker recruited 60 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 31, half males and half females. Randomly dividing them into two groups, half were shown the highly sexual “Was it good for you” episode of Sex and the City, and half watched an emphatically non-sexy episode of Malcolm in the Middle. The team found that the study subjects were less able to recall the content of advertising embedded the sexual program than in the more chaste offering.

“I think it’s really interesting,” said Diane Costa, director of sales and marketing at Marketing Mechanics, a Sydney-based ad agency. “This could have a really major impact on the … pricing scheme of ads.” According to Costa, the cost of placing an ad in a given show is based largely on its popularity. “A 30-second spot during primetime on Sex and the City might cost A$10,000. A 30-second spot during Judge Judy in the afternoon might cost A$1,000.”

Advertisers will pay a premium, she explained, to match their products to shows that reach their target audience, such as placing ads for shampoo or spirits in more adult, sexually-themed shows like Sex and the City. “Of course you're going to place those ads in Sex and the City because that’s the largest [audience] that you’re marketing to,” she said. “But, if people aren’t remembering it, then that … is just going to throw everything out,” she said.

The team went further, curious whether presence of sexual material in the ads themselves affected the subjects’ ability to remember them. They showed half of each study group ads with sexual content during breaks in the programs, and the other half non-sexual ads.

Not surprisingly, said Costa, Furnham and Parker found that men remembered sexual ads better than non-sexual ones. “Sex and guys,” she said, “is going to work no matter what you do.”

Intriguingly, though, the presence of sexual content in ads appeared actively to put off females – inhibiting their ability to remember them. “Making your ads sexy or putting them in sexy programs may in fact backfire,” said Furnham.

Is it possible that ad agencies and market pressures could accomplish what the morality and parents groups never could - curbing the trend toward greater sexual content on television?
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Lobo
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Is it possible that ad agencies and market pressures could accomplish what the morality and parents groups never could - curbing the trend toward greater sexual content on television?
__________________________________________________

Only during chick flicks.

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KnightEnder
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If this is ever taken as gospel by advertisers; The market rules.

What about the 30 people that fastforwarded through their Tivo recordings?

KE

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caladbolg1125
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Is 60 a big enough test group? Also, since the people in the test group know that they are being observed wouldn't that also screw with the results?
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Carlotta
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I will say it makes sense to me, most sexual commercials leave me totally uninterested and sometimes even affect me negatively.
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caladbolg1125
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Most sexual commercials don't make me want to buy their product so much as have sex so... I don't know...
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tonylovern
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i can watch the same girls gone wild comercial 30 times a night, and watch it every time. my ex would flip the channel before the announcer got past, "have you ever wanted".

this is just my opinion, i'm not in advertising, but i think that regardless of sex, when commercials come on, most people either tune them out, or flip the channel.

i think it would be a big leap forward, for advertisers to do away with commercials all together. focus more on product placement. and insert the little scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen, for ads.

i'll ignore a coca cola comercial, if a hot girl on t.v. is wearing a coca cola tank top, i develope a thirst.

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IrishTD
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How does show content affect the viewers ability to recall ads? If the show is boring and/or annoying, as I generally found Malcom in the Middle to be (can't say I've ever watched Sex and the City), could it make one more likely to recall the ads?
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KnightEnder
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Maybe the 'sex' in the show so occupies the brain that it doesn't take in the advertisements as well as when watching a show that doesn't so involve the brain? That's my hypothesis.

God forbid I'm right and they find that shows that really involve the viewer lessen the impact on commercial retention. They'll go back to making crappy shows.

Do they do 'product placement' in television shows like they do in movies?

Does anybody else deplore, to the point of outright anger, the advertisements at the bottom of the screen during the show you are watching? Soon all I'll watch is cable or purchased DVDs. I'd rather pay than have my attention diverted from House to drivel like an American Idol advertisement in the middle of the show. [Mad]

KE

[ March 07, 2007, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Lobo
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KE,

I haven't noticed in-show advertisements. Are they text or pictures or what?

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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Is 60 a big enough test group? Also, since the people in the test group know that they are being observed wouldn't that also screw with the results?
60 actually is large enough for a study of this type, assuming they have a random sample. Although when they start breaking it up into subsamples (male/female) that's pushing it a bit.

The test group may not know the details of what is being studied. For instance, they may assume that they're going to be asked about what they liked about the show and so may pay attention to the commercials as much as they normally would (I wonder if they have a table of snacks to attend to in the viewing room during commercial breaks).

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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
haven't noticed in-show advertisements. Are they text or pictures or what?
Only some channels do it, and mostly they are just an advertisement of a show coming up later in the day/week. It's usually in the form of a small square at the bottom right of the screen saying something along the lines of, "Who will be the next Idol? Catch American Idol at 7pm...only on FOX"

Often it will show half the ad and then the box will flip and show the other half of the ad. In the faux example I gave, it'd probably have the first sentence (the question) along with a picture of someone from the show on the first box and then it'll flip and give the details of when the show is on.

I guess I've also seen a small bar across the bottom of the screen as well but that's less often.

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simplybiological
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I think netflix, Tivo, and the like are quickly going to make this a moot question. I think questions of internet adspace and tactics are going to be much more relevant in the coming years.
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KnightEnder
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SB, on the Tivo thing, I think advertisers should just make 30 second commercials of nothing but their name. At least then we would see them. Or make them so entertaining that we would actually want to watch them. There are a few like that.

KE

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LoverOfJoy
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I know quite a few people who are only interested in the superbowl for the commercials.
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The Drake
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Even if the 30-second spot only occurs during live broadcast, it will still be relevant. New technologies rarely displace old ones entirely.

Every sports program will likely be watched live more often than not.

In addition, only 37% of DVR owners skip all commercials.

The Rise of DVRs

And, the study is still relevant if the ad is an interstitial on the internet.

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MattP
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quote:
Maybe the 'sex' in the show so occupies the brain that it doesn't take in the advertisements as well as when watching a show that doesn't so involve the brain?
This is what I thought too. Sex in ads may sell because it draws attention to the ads while sex in shows may have the opposite effect because the ads no longer stand out.
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Rhoetus
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I'll ask, though, what are the ratings for the two shows? If your audience only remembers 50% of your commercial, but you have 10x the number of people seeing it, it could still pay off.
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seekingprometheus
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I haven't read all of the other responses, so forgive me if I'm repeating, but trying to apply this study to this question is silly. It's studying the wrong thing.

There is no need for "sex" to increase recall in order be an effective marketing tactic. The question is whether sex can produce greater exposure to your product.

Sex sells because it's a gimmick to sucker potential customers into a sales presentation. If sex isn't shown to actually diminish recall (or receptiveness) of the sales presentation, then this effect is completely null, and the statement "sex sells" stands completely unaffected by this study.

[ March 07, 2007, 06:56 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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The Drake
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Without recall, the ad might as well never have transpired. It is possible that those who did recall the brand name might feel more intensely favorable toward it, and you could study that as well.

Ultimately, the best metric is the amount of increased sales attributable to your ads. That's not as easy to measure.

As the researchers themselves indicate, there are many more questions to ask in this area.

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seekingprometheus
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Oops.

I misread the study.

"The team found that the study subjects were less able to recall the content of advertising embedded the sexual program than in the more chaste offering."

Somehow I read something to the effect of: "...subjects were not able to recall the sexual program ad content more than the chaste program ad content."

Just skimming too fast, I guess.

I rescind my previous comments.

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Rallan
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I think they might be drawing too long a bow from their study. "The team found that the study subjects were less able to recall the content of advertising embedded in unwatchably pretentious self-indulgent ****e that limply tries to pass itself off as daring than in a show that doesn't star Sarah Jessica Parker" seems like a more reasonable conclusion to me [Smile]
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KnightEnder
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Welcome to Ornery, Rhoetus. You are wrong. Good question.

Rallan, M in the M used to be a good show. I don't know what happened.

But Rallan if you are right we are in trouble. As I said earlier:

quote:
God forbid I'm right and they find that shows that really involve the viewer lessen the impact on commercial retention. They'll go back to making crappy shows.
KE

[ March 08, 2007, 10:08 AM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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