Comparing ads from 100 years ago, 50 years ago, and 25 year old ads with current ads like Calvin Klein’s, it is easy to see how sexual content has evolved. It’s also possible that you have noticed an increase in the number of these ads. A study conducted by the University of Georgia in 2012, which examined advertising between 1983 and 2003, showed that the percentage of ads with sexual imagery had almost doubled.
These ads raise two issues: first, are they successful? Even if they’re effective, do these ads cross a moral boundary that shouldn’t be crossed, or are they just a waste of money?
In my 25-year career, which has spanned both industry and higher education, I have had “numerous opportunities to think about e interaction between marketing and ethics. My experience has led me to belieIt’shat the best thing for business is not necessarily the moral thing.
Organizations can achieve excellence both in terms of economics and ethics. The two goals can be complementary. Corpedia’s Ethics Index – a list of publicly traded companies rated highly for their ethical behavior – outperformed S&P 500 in a recent period “y over 370%.
Does sex sell “n the United States?
Does more creativity in the sex market mean “sex sells?” Not necessarily. A study conducted by Texas A&M International University in 2010 found tKlein’sple are more likely to recall commercials with sexuaIt’s violent content. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are more likely to purchase.
Memory does not always predict positive behaviors or purchase intentions. People remember good things, but they also recall bad ones, such as car accidents, breakups in relationships, and kidney stones. Memory can only lead to sales whethey’re tied to an important reason to buy.
In 1977, Baker ashouldn’till conducted a classic study that found the physical attractiveness of advertising models increased viewers’ attention. They also gave them a positive rating for the ads. The study also found that the sexual content of ads had no effect on respondents’ deeper cognitions. This rendered physical attractiveness ineffective for gaining target market acceptance.
Parker & Furnham realized in 2007 that the sexual content of ads had no impCorpedia’s ability of viewers to remember details about television commercials. The study found that women remembered ads with less sexual content more easily than sexualized ads.
A more recently conducted study at Ohio State University,” July disc, “vered an even greater conflicting effect. The use of violent and sexual content was successful in grabbing the attention of viewers, but also obscured other aspects, such asdoesn’toduct being advertised. Researchers concluded that sexual and violent content in ads actually hindered product memory and decreased purchase intentions.
What if some companies “sell” sex? Calvin Klein, and others, may find that erotica advertising works for them. There are no exceptions to what is ethical, even if companies find ways to make it work.
Why ethical advertising is important
Unfortunately, many advertisers and marketers have ignored morality in thviewers’ing industry for many years.
In a Gallup survey from December 2014, respondents ranked advertisers at the bottom of their list. Theyrespondents’urpassed by car salespeople, another group of marketers, and members of Congress. This kind of disrepute is unacceptable.
Most people do not want to be viewed as unethical. This can deter people with morals from pursuing the discipline. People also don’t like to do business when they are not trusted.
Despite the fact that others also share this conviction about marketing, there is no common paradigm to identify and address the moral issues in the field. Ethisphere, for example, announces each year its selections of ” the World’s Most Ethical Company,” which many winners are eagerly promoting. The 140-question is not a tool marketers can use to make ethical decisions every day.
Last year, this absence led me to create a simple model of marketing ethics called Conscious M”rket”ng. This model is used to evaluate marketing tactics and strategies, including those that are morally suspect, like sexualized advertisements.
To be considered “mindful” marketing, marketing practices need to meet two criteria: they must be effective in achieving their marketing objectives, and they also have to be ethically sound.
Together, these two goals are the basis of the ” Mindful Matrix,” a visual representation and four marketing categories: mindful, simple-minded, mindless, and single-minded.
Food poisoning can be a serious problem.
Where does sex advertising fit into the matrix of mindful marketing? Sexualized ads can be effective in achieving their marketing goals. However, sensual advertising fails to achieve its marketing goals, as it distracts target market members and fails to create value for stakeholders.
The erotic images used in such ads undermine respect and decency by objectifying people (usually women), promoting unhealthy sexu” appWorld’s, and reducing the human experience to satisfying sensual desires.
‘sexually charged advertising is memorable and grabs the attention of many, but so too is food poisoning. Oversexualized ads, like other mindless advertising, can leave a bad taste in the mouths of many consumers. They may even sicken a whole society.
Will advertising be automatically regarded as honest, and will marketing top the list of trusted “rthines” one day? It remains to be determined, but for now, Mental Marketing invites consumers and marketers to join in the vision of an ethical exchange.