Violence and Sex in Advertising

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Violence and Sex in advertising is a controversial issue in American society. Some think that this type of advertising is not an issue while others believe it can be a major issue. While most people know what violence and sex in advertising contain, I believe it’s important to define what it really is. Violence and Sex in advertising can be defined as any advertisement that depicts some type of nudity whether is be partial or complete while also insinuating some type of violence. Although sex in advertising has been around for decades, have the advertisers gone to far by incorporating violence into the ads? As we know sex is portrayed in almost all advertisements, whether it be from toilet paper to cologne. While many people do not realize sex is even in an advertisement, others have strong feelings against it. Although violence and sex gains the consumers attention it doesn’t actually sell products. Many ads that depict violence and sex usually portray both men and women in a demeaning way. Fashion ads are notorious for using violence and sex in advertising and they do it in a way that that it becomes more of a luxury element and glamorizes sexual violence. However when people see these ads they don’t actually remember the product being advertised because they are concentrating more on the violence and sex than they are on the product itself. In Brad Bushman’s article, “Violence and Sex in Television Programs Do Not Sell Products in Advertisements”, he explores the issue of sex and violence in television programs and their effect on the consumer’s memory for products in commercials. In this study, people in the age range between 18 and 54 watched television programs that contained violence, sex, both, or neither. Within each program there was 12 of the same ads that were shown with unfamiliar brands since consumers have brand loyalty. The results showed that by inserting an ad in a program with violence or sex it actually reduced the consumers likelihood of remembering the product, their interest in purchasing that brand, and their likelihood of selecting that coupon. The results of this study did not vary because of age or sex or the fact they the participant liked the program. Bushman’s study concluded that violence and sex in television might have the opposite affect of what most people think and that’s sex and violence do not sell a product. In Juliet Dee’s Article, "Myths and Mirrors: A Qualitative Analysis of Images of Violence against Women in Mainstream Advertising", she discusses the concern over the portrayal of women in advertisements as willing victims of violence. Her study attempts to show whether or not advertisers were aware of the implied violence against women in the ads they sponsored and if advertisers were aware, what their motivations were for running the ad. In order for Dee to find answers to these questions she conducted telephone interviews with 13 company spokespersons that were responsible for advertisements portraying violence against women during the late seventies and early eighties. The study focused on 12 print ads and 1 television commercial in which the spokesperson was asked questions on the target market, expected response to the ad, whether or not there was implied violence against women, impact of the advertisement on sales, and the use of market research. The results indicated that ads targeted women more so than they targeted men. They also showed that the impact on sales could not be measured by one ad and that the choice of advertisements showing violence toward women was supported by market research was denied by all spokespersons. Lastly, 8 out of the 12 spokespersons said they were aware of the suggested violence against women but also said it was “humorous” or “artistic” whereas the other 5 said they were unaware of the suggested violence until the public raised issues. Which lead to Dee’s conclusion that it has become...
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