The vampire effect; sex in advertising

Research on sex in advertising yields some interesting conclusions. Sexual imagery definitely attracts the attention of men. But guess what? The sexual imagery draws the attention of the men away from the other elements of the ad, in a phenomenon that research firm MediaAnalyzer calls the “vampire effect.”

The vampire effect results in lower recall for sexual than nonsexual ads.

There’s nothing wrong with sexual imagery in advertising if it’s consistent with the brand. But used indiscriminately as an attention getter reflects the mistaken belief that ‘awareness’ is advertising’s only objective.


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