A British cosmetics and pharmacy company is out to prove the adage ‘sex sells’ doesn’t always ring true. The chain Superdrug has released a study, created by its content agency Fractl, that claims 60 per cent of people prefer modest ads to ones with excessive exposed skin and ‘come hither’ gazes.
And more than half of consumers reckon they’d be more likely to buy the product devoid of sexualised images. Still, that does leave 40 per cent saying they don’t mind the nakedness, with two thirds of those surveyed saying they weren’t offended by raunchy ads.
Surveying 2000 people in the States who were said to have no knowledge of the British pharmacy brand, the study investigated seven industries to see which ones carried the most sexualised ads. Ten ads were shown from each industry – auto, beauty, beverage, fashion, food, technology and travel – with logos and brands removed.
And it probably comes as no surprise fashion ads were the most sexualised. Fashion ads were the only ones that contained simulated intercourse during the ten ads shown. Auto and technology mainly just showed the product and tech was the only category to not include sexualised imagery.
On the whole, the majority of the 70 ads shown to consumers didn’t include sexual imagery. However, nudity, lingerie and innuendo were the sexual aspects that featured the widest.
The study comes at the same time Unilever said it was going to get rid of its ‘sexist ads’ after its own study showed majority of women didn’t like their body, and 40 per cent didn’t identify with the women in ads.
Other findings from the Unilever study, according to the BBC, was 90 per cent of women felt they were portrayed as sex symbols in ads – not just Unilever ads – and that a third of the ads showed women as perceived by men.
“If we looked at role, personality and appearance, then they weren’t representing women as they are today. Some of the imagery might have been current years ago, but it certainly wasn’t today,” Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed told the BBC.