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Sex Appeal and Gender Matter in Social Media Marketing

Would it surprise you that 30% of sex addicts seeking treatment in the United States are female, according to this British Times article?

How about one-fifth of Swedish women, ages 18-35, who admit to favoring cybersex over online romance?

Maybe you prefer this other marketing survey from last month that 67% of men ages 18-34 are obsessed by the internet but 74% would rather have sex?

Or what about the Pew Internet & American Life Project's definitive 2005 gender report that more women send email than men, but more men play online games than women?

Sex appeal and gender matter in social media marketing

Take a look at these two videos, each produced by Unilever Corporation. You've probably already seen the first, but you may not have seen the second.

Watch for your own sex appeal -- and think whether you would be more prone to purchase the product...



'Fess up, guys: Your imagination kicked into overdrive with the first commercial, and checked out her hair and lips in the second.
This was cross-posted from my blog at AriWriter

And ladies? I'll guess you identified more with the Doritos brand than the verbal cues of the first, and already knew the second before it was 30 seconds in.

Am I close?

There's no denying sex sells in advertising. Moreso online where visual cues are stronger. But gender is the key determinant in product purchase.

A market research study three years ago, and one that remains relevant today, asked 400 Americans, evenly split by gender, to use web-based eye tracking software to determine the effectiveness of sexual advertisements in consumer magazines.

The MediaAnalyzer report indicated men focus on sexual imagery (breasts, legs, and skin) more than branding elements such as the logo. Women, however, notice logos and avoid eye exposure to body parts and skin.
"You can increase purchase intent using sex when advertising to men. But you pay a price; brand recall suffers. That means using sex in ads only makes sense for companies with a well-established brand, or those where branding plays no role." said Karsten Weide, President and CEO, MediaAnalyzer Inc.
I don't know if men or women are more prone to buy products, but I do know -- evident by the above statistics and videos -- that sex sells and gender matters.

Thoughts?

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Comment by Myles Bristowe on November 22, 2008 at 9:44am
It may depend on how "sex" is being applied in the campaign and the product that is being promoted. In the case of GoDaddy, their distasteful use of sexy women during the superbowl to sell Web hosting and domains names definitely put them on the map. I thought they used the women because they assumed that most domain name buyers are stereo-typical men who are responsible for IT.

However, being in the Web site design and development business myself, I am often surprised by the number of female marketing professionals who have purchased their new domain names from GoDaddy. So, I guess the objectification of women in the GoDaddy commercials had a little adverse affect on them.

Go figure.

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