Content Marketing Blog

Sexually explicit ads make men less charitable

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Since content marketing is all about capturing the attention of online consumers, picking out the perfect picture for your content is a big deal.

Not only are images a great way to engage consumers, but they also make your content share-worthy. According to recent statistics by eMarketer, 87 percent of all shares on Facebook are photos.

However, as with the content, the imagery you use needs to be designed to attract your target audience.

The age-old advertising principal “Sex Sells” is something we all know a little too well, with practically every second website you click on featuring advertisements of skin-clad models selling anything from beauty products to car parts.

But this can be just as dangerous as it is effective.

While ads featuring attractive women are definitely capable of capturing the attention of the heterosexual male population, it also causes them to feel disconnected from others, according to a new study that appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Researchers Xiuping Li of the National University of Singapore and Meng Zhang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong tested out the theory by analysing males aged between 18 and 24. They exposed some subjects to pictures of sexually attractive women, while others were shown images of landscapes, or no pictures at all.

Participants exposed to the sexualised images of attractive women experienced a heightened awareness of their own physical feelings, such as tiredness, boredom, drowsiness or excitement. They also became less aware of their own social characteristics, such as intelligence and their willingness to be outgoing or a team player.

As a result, participants shown the images of attractive women were far less likely to go through with any purchases that were beneficial for others, or make any sort of charitable contributions.

If you’re a non-profit organisation, it would be a smart move not to have advertisements that feature sexually explicit imagery, the researchers advised.

The same goes for all types of content. Consider who you are trying to attract and what you are wanting them to do, and design your content strategy around these principles.

Posted by Dylan Brown