- l am not sixty yet
- Color of my iris:
- I’ve got large hazel eyes but I use colored contact lenses
- My sex:
- I am woman
- I speak:
- Favourite drink:
- My tattoo:
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Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27s The sexually oriented appeal is a prevalent, yet poorly defined concept in the study of advertising and message effects. The goal of this exploratory research was to contribute to a more precise understanding of this concept by adopting a grounded theory approach.
Respondents were asked to identify an ad they considered " sexy," and to describe characteristics of the ad that made them perceive it as such. References to physical features was the most frequently mentioned category by both women and men, while women were more likely to mention contextual features and intimacy.
Other differences emerged as well. On the basis of these findings a receiver-based definition of sexually oriented appeals is offered, as are suggestions for future research. Sexual appeals are fairly common in maistream consumer advertising Reichert et al. Despite their prevalence and research into their effects, there has been little conceptual discussion regarding what actually constitutes a sexually oriented appeal.
Most conclusions advanced in this area are based on operationalizations of female nudity. As researchers, we should be concerned not just with nudity, but with the full range of appeals in which overt sexual imagery is used to evoke sexual responses.
From a research perspective, ambiguously defined concepts are problematic in that they thwart attempts aimed at comparing findings across studies Teas and Palan Furthermore, definitional ambiguity can result in a limitation of the claims that can be made regarding the potential effects of sexually oriented appeals. For these reasons, it is important to look beyond certain researcher-supplied definitions to obtain a more precise understanding of this concept.
To address this issue, a grounded theory investigation was employed because it is particularly suited to exploring what consumers perceive as sexy in advertising see Hirschman and Thompson ; Strauss and Corbin This is important because Tim in psychology and sexology suggests that information must be labeled as sexual before it can evoke a sexual response Fisher This report begins with a review of definitions of sexually oriented appeals in advertising, followed by an of the hartman of our investigation, and a discussion of relevant findings.
What is important is that the definition is clear. In the advertising literature, sexual appeals have typically been defined according to overt message features e. Possibly as a result, more emphasis has been placed on examining the effects of operationalizations than on discussions devoted to the conceptualization of sexual appeals. For the purposes of review, most definitions can be organized within two general : nudity and suggestiveness. The most common application of research in this area has explored the effects of female nudity on advertising processing and outcomes Belch et al.
In this case, nudity is typically referred to as the amount and style of clothing worn by models inand nudity is operationalized as models in progressive stages of undress e. Effects studies typically compare with models clothed at one of the three levels of nudity to with either demurely dressed models or no model at all. As mentioned, sex is usually operationalized as nudity with little discussion regarding the conceptualization of sex or of sexually oriented appeals.
An implied assumption in these studies is that clothing, or lack thereof, is a primary determinant of nude response. A related assumption is that there is a linear relationship between the levels of undress and sexual arousal.
It could be argued, however, that nudity is neither necessary nor sufficient for a stimulus to be perceived as sexual. How, for instance, does one take into models that are unclothed but clearly not sexual or fully-clothed models that are sexually inviting? Morrison and Sherman reported that a large percentage of their sample was not aware of nudity when exposed to it, nd of those that were aware of it, a large portion reported not being sexually aroused by it.
Nudity, as an operationalization of sex, may or may not evoke a sexual response in receivers. Revealing displays of the body are clearly an important component of sexual arousal and sexual attraction, but limiting this domain to nudity neglects other, potentially more important, determinants of sexual attraction such as behavior and physical interaction.
Defining sexually oriented appeals in advertising: a grounded theory investigation
Consequently, most of what is known about the effects produced in this research is limited to the effects of nudity. Although to a lesser degree, researchers have assessed other types of sexual appeals. loosely defined as "suggestive" are also generally considered examples of sexually oriented appeals in advertising. This category is less concrete compared to nudity, and subsequently, includes a menagerie of stimuli. This class of sexual stimuli has also been referred to as "implicit" Bello et al. However, this class of stimuli is typically characterized by overt content characteristics within the ad.
Suggestiveness has been operationalized several ways in the literature. Belch et al. In other studies, judges or subjects have determined the erotic level of treatments using overall impression rules see Weller et al.
One issue with the suggestive categorization of sexually oriented appeals is its breadth. A wide range of sexual stimuli have generally been considered suggestive i. It is certainly nude that each of these executional cues may impact processing and outcome variables in various ways, subsequently limiting generalization.
Second, studies in this area may have confounded suggestiveness with the style or amount of clothing worn by the model s in the ad. Hence, this catch all hartman of sex in advertising may represent stimuli which are related but represent divergent effects, and may often be confounded with nudity.
To summarize past research, there is a wide array of content-based definitions that have been used to define sexually oriented appeals in advertising. Although most of the literature has examined the effects of nudity, there are clearly several other types of sexual stimuli that have also been Tim. In addition, studies have placed more emphasis on the operationalization of sexually oriented appeals rather than conceptual meaning. Teas and Palan described a similar dilemma in their review of consumer expectations research, "The abundance of consumer expectations definitions and theories.
It could be argued Tim a similar situation exists in the sexually oriented appeal literature hartman in unnecessary obstacles for understanding and attempts to make generalizations about the effects of sexually oriented appeals in advertising. Because researcher imposed conceptions may or may not be valid, our first question sought to discover what receivers find sexual in advertising RQ1. The method employed in this study was a grounded theory investigation of participant responses to what they consider sexual in advertising.
This method is uniquely positioned to inform this literature because of the nature of the phenomenon. The SBS is a theory nude in social psychology to explain and predict the sequence and variety of sexual responses to sexual stimuli Byrne A central tenet of this theory as it pertains to the present research is that a stimulus must be recognized and interpreted as sexual to evoke a sexual response.
A hartman definitional approach is not without precedence in advertising effects research as humor and fear appeals have been defined as messages that Tim perceived as humorous or threatening Keller and Block ; Zinkhan and Gelb In addition, Gould advanced a consumer model of scripting based on lovemaps and the SBS.
Second, this study nude sought to determine if and to what extent gender differences influenced participant meanings RQ2. Gender is an important determinant of evaluations and interpretations of with sexual content both within and between genders LaTour and Henthorne ; Morrison and Sherman ; Stern and Holbrook Although the pattern of findings suggest that males and females differ in their reactions to some types of sexual stimuli and are similar in other respects, it is not entirely clear how gender operates in this context.
From an advertising perspective, it is important to add insight to these relationships because of a lack of gender-focused studies in consumer behavior Costa Participants were business and communication undergraduate students at a large southwestern university. Participation in this study was voluntary.
Data were collected with an in-class questionnaire which took participants approximately 10 minutes to complete. Respondents were told that this was an advertising study and that researchers were interested in how people define certain aspects of advertising. Respondents were instructed to think of an ad that they thought was "sexy," and to describe the ad. Meanings for "sexy" were gathered with the following open-ended question: "What about the ad makes you describe it as sexy?
Because it was thought that meanings for " sexy" what respondents perceived as sexual might differ in qualitative and quantitative ways from research, we adopted a grounded theory perspective and developed a new coding scheme. A grounded theory approach was used because, as Hirschman and Thompson point out, it is "particularly appropriate when the purpose of the research is to discover consumer-based constructs and theories" p.
The coding scheme as developed by a coder who was blind to the specific research questions of this study. A review of the responses to the questionnaires generated a topology of 15 different meanings for what respondents found sexual in advertising. These were grouped within five overarching. Intercoder reliability across the 15 was.
The are listed and briefly described in Table 1. The gender of the model s and product category described by participants were also coded. The subject of the description was coded as being either female smale sor a heterosexual couple. In addition, responses to the second open-ended question were coded according to product .
Table 1 presents a topology of what participants considered sexual as well as the proportion of the total sample, males, and females citing each characteristic. ificant comparisons are noted below.
Physical Characteristics. The predominant definition of what was considered sexy in advertising is physical characteristics. This definition included three of responses; references to clothing, general attractiveness, and physique. This category included generalized statements about behavior and verbal and nonverbal communication of models. For example, statements coded into this category included "[models that are] winking, stroking themselves," and, " flirting" or "dancing around.
Contextual Features. These descriptions included camera effects, music, lighting, and setting. No gender differences emerged in respect to photographic effects, music, lighting, and setting. While black-and-white may not be sexy in isolation, they were identified as a contributing factor by women and not men.
A gender difference emerged in the proxemics category as well. Voyeurism, Fantasy, and Projection.