Use Of Sexual Appeals On Advertising : Ethical Or Not?

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Final Research Project: Use of Sexual Appeals in Advertising: Ethical or Not? In recent years, there has been a rise in the use of sex appeal and erotic stimuli in advertising and the reason for it? - It works. Use of sexual imagery is considered as an effective strategy to attract attention to brands. Numerous goods ranging from automobiles to fast-food companies employ at least some form of sexual content in their ads to promote their products. The success of most advertisements resorting to this approach indicates that this strategy is here to stay but the question is should it? Despite its popularity, this marketing strategy has caused considerable controversy and raised questions regarding whether or not it is justifiable to use…show more content…
It is pervasive, highly potent and raises concerns about the ethics of advertising (Treise & Weigold, 1994). Among various other concerns, one advertising tactic that comes often under public scrutiny is the use of sex appeal. Gould (1994) defines sex appeal in advertisement as the messages and brand information exposing sexuality and portraying varying degrees of nudity. He states that they can be explored through verbal and visual elements or/and sounds. According to Amyx, D. and Amyx, K. (2011) sex in advertising has been a matter of controversy for many years. Uses of sexual imageries have been a part of advertisements as far back as the late 1800s (Reichert, 2003). It started becoming prevalent during the 19th century when advertisers used sex appeal to sell soaps, lotions and fragrances (Reichert, 2003). Sex advertising started becoming a common tactic for businesses in the 40s and 50s, but not without controversy (Reichert, 2003). Women actively protested in the 1970’s and 80 against advertisers for portraying women as sexual objects and in the early 90’s, the men’s movement was a response to similar objectification of men (Amyx & Amyx, 2011). Today, the use of sexual appeal in advertising continues to be a very debatable topic. Many critics believe use of blatant sexual content has led to moral decay in the society. Advertisers use female sexual imagery 3.7 times more often than male sexual imagery to promote their products
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