A Literature Review on the Impact in Usurping Sex Appeal Advertising on the Consumers Cognitive, Emotional and Attitudinal Response

Rakesh Sarpal, Lee Hui Ru, Tan Seng Teck, Gilbert Raj Sundram, Hew Fui Mun


This article examines the literatures concerning consumers perception towards sex appeal advertising and measures the effects of sex appeal advertising in terms of cognitive, emotions and attitudes. Sex appeal advertising could affect a societys cultural values, lifestyles and behaviors. It validates the positive impact of sex appeal advertising when model and respondent are sex opposite. When comparing the responses of male and female respondents, same-sex-nude model advertisements were viewed more negatively while opposite-sex-nude model advertisements were viewed more positively. Male tends to evaluate male nudity negatively whereas female evaluated positively to male nudity. Further analyses on the acceptance of nudity in advertisement by Malaysian Chinese had significantly different compared with Chinese in China. However, no significant differences were found between Muslim and Indian respondents when viewing sex appeal advertisement. The findings indicate that female respondents are ambivalent towards sex appeal advertisement from the perspective of emotions. Sex appeal can evoke emotional responses.

Female respondents feel more cheerful, more interested and less irritating on high emotional advertisements than non-emotional advertisements. The emotional messages also affect memory significantly. Female generate greater memory than male on those images rated as most emotionally. In general, females were found to exhibit higher memory levels than males. However, even if female view high emotional advertisements are better than non-emotional advertisements, they may still generate negative feelings towards sex appeal advertising. The general attitude towards sex appeal advertising also appears to have a strong impact on attitudes. Female reported disproportionately negative attitudes toward sex appeal advertising, but male did not show a parallel response to sex appeal advertising. However, regardless of the respondents gender, the use of strong overt sexual appeal in advertising was not well received. The findings concluded that there are significant differences in interpretation between male and female. The study identified opportunities for further research in cognitive, emotional and attitude.


sex appeal advertising; cognitive; emotion; attitude

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