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					Impact of sex appeals in TV advertisement

                    Muhammad Imran Wazir, PhD

                 Assistant Professor &Coordinator QEC,

             Institute of Management Sciences (IM|Sciences),

        1-A, Sector E-5, phase-VII, Hayatabad, Peshawar Pakistan.


                    Ezaz Ullah Ezaz (Co Author)

           Assistant to Director Research & Development

        CECOS University F-5, Phase VI-Hayatabad Peshawar.

                     Contact No: +923025957110

          Impact of sex appeals in TV advertisement


The purpose of this study is to know about the attitudes of the viewers towards

the sex appeals in advertisement and to know whether these appeals are

acceptable in Pakistani society or not, and to know whether attitudes developed

by the sexual advertisements leads the same attitude toward the brand and

purchase intention or not. The study found that the viewers do not like the sexual

appeals in TV advertisements. The data has been collected from 150

respondents of Peshawar, in which 54 were females and 96 were male

respondents. After showing different sex appeal advertisements, respondents

were given a questionnaire to fill. By using collected data the study found that

there is significant inverse relationship between sex appeal advertisements and

attitude towards the showed advertisement (Aad), and the found results lead to

the attitude towards the brand and purchase intention. The findings will help the

national and international companies to modify and make their advertisements

according to the consumer preferences.

Key words: TV advertisement, sex appeals, consumer preferences, brand
purchase intention.

Advertisement is an effective communicational tool used by the marketers to

attract the potential customers. The television viewers are bombarded with

different sort of advertisements and continuously faced with mass media

messages and advertisements from the television, radio and internet. The

exposure of customers and viewers to such sort of mass media has great impact

upon thinking, values, purchases and actions (Jan, 2005). To attract the potential

customers, marketers use sex appeals practices in advertisement.

 In broad sense sex appeals are defined as the messages, and brand

information in advertisement which exposed sexuality (Tomet al., 2001). Sex

appeals in advertisement may be found in verbal elements, visual, sound, and

portray varying degrees of nudity (Gould, 1994).

 The advertisement with sex appeals are attract more attention with lasting

memorability and interest, as compared to the non-sex appeals in advertisement.

As compared to the non sexual advertisements (Ads), sexual advertisement are

more likeable and more apt to increase the interest in related topic.Therefore,

most of the non profit organizations use these appeals for different awareness

purposes. Because of the saturation in the media environmnet, getting proper

attention in the message is more important (Reichert et al., 2001).

 Both men and women have some possible moral concerns about the use of

overt sex appeals in advertisement, and they react differently to diverse form of

advertisement (LaTour et al., 1990). Research confirms that response to sex
appeal advertisement are specific to the target audience rather than universal

(Mittal and Lassar, 2000). Asian countries specifically with muslim cultures, are

most conservative regarding sensual gratification. So the advertisement,

packaging and products must be of muslim standards.

Most Companies are using sex appeals in advertisements in different countries

knowing very little about the responses of consumers to those appeals in that

specific culture (Liu et al., 2009). Due to the increasing usage of sex appeals in

advertisement in recent years there is extensive literature in Western countries

on the evaluation of sex appeals advertisement. However, very little research has

been conducted on sex appeals advertising in Asian countries like China (Liu et

al., 2006). Although, different international brands are flooding in to Pakistan, so

the research on the Pakistani consumers is inadequate.

 Most of the ads contains young age models which shows that they are targeting

young age college male/ females. When young female adults compare their

level of attractivness with those showed models in the ads, in most cases they

will percieve negative discripency between their own and of models

attractiveness (Richins, 1991).

 As Pakistan is becoming more attractive market for the international brands,

and because of extensive competition among the brands, the usage of effective

advertisement is needed to attract the potential customers. But the question is

that   either they should     adopt   local   advertisement   strategy or    global

advertisement strategy ? To answer such a managerial question the companies
must should know that how the Pakistani consumers respond to different


 Kalliny and Gentry (2007) reported some similarities and differences between

the Arab and U.S cultures. Despite all the similarities between the two cultures,

the advertising agencies should pay attention to the differences. The

advertisement    produced in one country should not be placed in any othere

country in the same manner because of the culture differenes. The advertiser

should pay attention to the cultural values, because these values are directly

related to the social and religious values and going againt those values will be

very offensive, which may leads to create a negative perception toward the brand

as well.

 Attitude toward the advertisement has been founded as an intervenient in the

process through which advertising influence attitude toward the brand and

purchase intention (MacKenzie et al., 1986).

 Nudity    is one of the most controversial aspect that differ the European

advertisement from the advertisement in the muslim countries. In western

culture, nudity is being used unlimited, for example underwear ads,but nudity is

totally forbidden in Muslim cultures. In this aspect islamic culture is very

conservative. However there are even some muslim countries, like UAE where

the sexual advertisements are acceptable, but the country like Pakistan having

strong commitment with the religion and social values.
 The study of Henthorne and LaTour (1995) reported that the use of high nude

appeals in print advertisement may not be percieved as morally right or culturally

acceptable to viewers. The lack of moral equity in advertisement, results in

directly negative feelings of the viewers towards the advertisement and indirectly

towards the brand.

 The globalization trend are adversely affecting the traditions and culture of the

Pakistan. If the advertisers do not change the advertisement style then it can

worsen the ethical and moral values of Pakistani society (Usman et al., 2010).

ISLAMIC followers found the advertisement of gender/sex related products,

social/political groups and health and care products most offensive relative to

other three religions (Buddhism,Christianity,Non religious believers). The religion

was founded as an element of the culture that have an impact on the every

aspect of the society. Therefore, the marketer should never underestimate its

importance (Fam et al., 2004).

 The ongoing telivision advertisement is unethical because of the emphasis on

sex appeals Khattak and Khan(2009). It was found that most of the respondents

showed very significiant negative feelings about the social consequences of the

current telivision advertisement and they demand the changes by the regulatory


 To understand the positive and negative reactions of the consumer and ethical

dilemma arosed from the sex appeal advertising, we must consider the basic

concepts in the normative ethical theories of moral philosophy (Gould, 1994).
Normative ethical theory (NET)

This is thebranch of philosophy concerned with the formulating and evaluating

the theories of moral rightness and moral wrongness. In simple words it refers to

the rightness or wrongness (Hubin, 2000). Before using any overt sexual appeals

in advertisement, advertisers should have to recognise the ethical comlexity

involved in it (LaTour and Henthorne, 1994). Mildly sexual ads are considered

less objectionable on ethical dimensions than those with strong sex appeals ads

(Mittal et al., 2000).

 Blair et al. (2006) reported that sex appeals in advertisement does not always

concludes to brand memory. There is a specific difference between what a lay

man understand to accept an ad or not. The main considerable thing regarding

sex appeals in advertisement is that, which product or service is on offer. For

instance it is against the morality to put vulgar elements in commercials on any

electronics or any unrelated products because these kinds of advertisements

may    affect   the      brand   negatively.   Because   the   attitude   towards   the

advertisesment has been found intervenient in the process through which

advertising may influence the attitude towards the brand and purchase intention

(MacKenzie et al., 1986).

 The major objectives of this study are to know about the attitude of the viewer

towards the sexual advertisements and to know whether the attitude developed

by the sexual ads create the same attitude towards the brand and purchase

intention or not.
 On the bases of previous studies, we are able to develop the hypotheses which

will help us to achieve the objectives of the study.


H1: There is significant inverse relationship between sexual appeals in

advertisement and attitude toward the advertisement.

H2: There is a significant positive relation ship between attitude toward the

advertisement and attitude toward the brand.

H3: There is significant positive relation ship between attitude toward the brand

and purchase intention.

Data collection and Procedure

The population of the study was the diverse area’s students of MBA from Institute

of Management Sciences, Peshawar KPK and the random sampling technique

has been used on the sample of 150 respondents between the age group 20-30.

Among the 150 sample, 96 were male and 54 were female students. Structured

questionnaire was used for data collection which was taken from LaTour and
Henthorne (1994) study and was modified according to Pakistani environment

and cultural.

 The questionnaire was of three parts “attitude toward the ad, attitude toward the

brand and purchase intention”. The questionnaire was designed to measure,

attitude of consumers towards the sex appeal advertisements, attitude towards

the brand and purchase intention. Likert scale was used for each variable

ranging from 1 to 5 where 1 coded as “strongly disagree” and 5 coded as

“strongly agree”.

 Before filling the questionnaire, one sex appeal advertisement was shown to

the each and every respondent through laptop, in order to allow them sufficient

time to make their mind according to the given questions in questionnaire. The

advertisements were having different sort of sex appeals that is, sex arousal

sounds, poses and the show off of the specific parts of the body which were half

naked (Figures 1, 2...8). On the bases of eight advertisements the data has been


Analysis tools

SPSS 16 has been used for data analysis. The descriptive statistics were used

for analyzing the consequences of the sex appeal advertisements. The t-test was

performed to know the significance of the descriptive statistics with the reference

value of 3, to know the relationship among the sex appeals in the advertisement

and attitude of the respondents towards those advertisements.
 Linear regression model was used while determining the relationship between

attitude towards the advertisement, attitude towards the brand and purchase

intention. All tests were conducted at 5% level of significance.

Figure “1” (LUX)

Figure “2” (L.G Electronics)
 Figure “3” (Kashmir Premier Oil)   Figure “4” (Excite condom)

Figure “5” (Veet Cream)
Figure 6” (Close up)                    Figure “7” (Slice)

                  Figure “8” (Dettol)
Analysis of Results

The respondents completed six 5-point items that were added to measure the

attitude towards the ad (Aad) and three 5-point items used to measure the

attitude toward the brand (Abr). Purchase intention was measured by 5-point

items. The scale was anchored by “definitely will not” to “definitely will”. The

Cronbach's Alpha value was .790, which shows its reliability.

 With regard H1 which states that there is a significant inverse relationship

between sex appeals Ad and attitude towards the (Aad). The results show that

more respondents dislike sex appeals in advertisement (Table 1.1). Because the

mean is 2.5522 which is smaller than neutral value equal to 3. Values rights to

the neutral were tends to likeness and to the left were tend to the dislikeness.

The results showed significant effects (that is, p<.05) which confirm to indications

of significant overall model results. The observed t value for this test is -11.507,

with an associated (two tailed) significant of 0.0000<0.05, which shows the

inverse relation ship between sex appeals ad and attitude towards the ad (Aad).
Table 1

Table 1.1                            One-Sample Statistics

Var         N             Mean             Std. Deviation        Std. Error Mean

Aad         150           2.5522           .47657                .03891

Table 1.2                            One-Sample Test

      Test Value = 3

                                                            95% Confidence Interval of

                       Sig.P       (2-                      the Difference

Var t             Df   tailed)           Mean Difference Lower               Upper

Aad -11.507       149 .000               -.44778            -.5247           -.3709

To test the H2, regression analysis has been used. The analysis enabled us to

examine the positive relationship between independent variable (Aad) and

dependant variable attitude towards the brand (Abr). Table 2.3 shows that the

independent variable (Aad) has Beta =.509 with high significance(P<.05 and F-

51.69) , which means that each unit change in the independent variable (Aad)

change the dependent variable (Abr) 0.50 times positively. In simple words

positive Beta value shows that “if attitude toward the sex appeals would

favorable, then the attitude toward the brand would be favorable as well. But if

the Aad would be unfavorable, then Abr would unfavorable as well”. The R

Table 2

Table 2.1                        Model Summary

                      R          Adjusted   R Std. Error of
Model R               Square     Square       the Estimate

1         .509a       .259       .254            .88619

a. Predictors: (Constant), Aad

Table 2.2                                             ANOVAb

Model                  Sum of Squares            Df    Mean Square        F        Sig.

1 Regression           40.601                    1     40.601             51.699   .000a

    Residual           116.230                   148 .785

    Total              156.830                   149

a. Predictors: (Constant), Aad

b. Dependent Variable: Abr

Table 2.3                                               Coefficientsa

                  Unstandardized         Standardized
                  Coefficients           Coefficients

Model             B            Std. Error Beta              t      Sig.

1 (Constant) .153              .395                         .388   .699

    Aad           1.095        .152      .509               7.190 .000

a. Dependent Variable: (Abr)
Value is 0.259 (25.9%), which means that the change in dependent variable

(Abr) because of independent variable (Aad) is 25.9 %.

Table 3
Table 3.1                          Model Summary

                                                                   Std.   Error      of   the
Model       R               R Square        Adjusted R Square      Estimate

1           .726a           .527            .524                   .70774

    a. Predictors: (Constant), Purchase intention

To test H3, regression analysis used again. The analysis enabled us to examine

the positive relationship between independent variable, attitude towards the

brand (Abr) and dependant variable Purchase intention. Table 3.3 shows that the

independent variable

(Abr) has Beta =.726 with high significant (P<.05 and F=169) which means that

each unit change in the independent variable (Abr) change the Purchase

intention positively .726 times.

In simple words positive Beta value shows that “if attitude toward the brand (Abr)

would favorable, then the purchase intention would be favorable as well. But if

the Abr would be unfavorable, then the purchase intention would unfavorable as

well”. The value of R square is 0.527(52%), which means that because of

independent variable (Abr) 52.7% change occurs in dependent variable (PI).
Table 3.2                                   ANOVAb

                     Sum           of               Mean
Model                Squares            df          Square          F         Sig.P

1       Regression 82.698               1           82.698          165.099 .000a

        Residual     74.133             148         .501

        Total        156.830            149

a.   Predictors:     (Constant),        Purchase
b. Dependent Variable: Attitude towards brand (Abr)

Table 3.3                                   Coefficientsa

                         Unstandardized                    d
                         Coefficients                      Coefficients

Model                    B                   Std. Error    Beta           t        Sig.P

1       (Constant)       .874                .172                         5.094    .000

                         .716                .056          .726           12.849   .000

a. Dependent Variable: (Abr)

Further more the study found that as compare to the male respondents, females

have more negative attitude towards sex appeals advertisements (Table 4.1).
Table 4

Table 4.1               Attitude toward Ad

ale/female     Mean                 N                  Std. Deviation

female         2.3889               54                 .38171

male           2.6441               96                 .50124

Total          2.5522               150                .47657

                           Attitude toward the brand (Abr)
Table 4.2

Male/female       Mean                    N                  Std. Deviation
female            2.9074                  54                 .83532
male              2.9722                  96                 1.12251
Total             2.9489                  150                1.02594

 Table 4.3       Purchase intention           (PI)

 Male/female   Mean                       N            Std. Deviation

 Female        2.9630                     54           .67189

 Male          2.8646                     96           1.20193

 Total         2.9000                     150          1.04110
The attitude towards the brand was mostly equal for both the genders (Table

4.2). But regarding purchase intention, females are having more favorable

intention than male respondents (Table 4.3).

Direction for future research

      The additional research may be done to find “the impact of sex appeals in

       print advertisement”.

      The impact of using sexual appeals in public awareness advertisements

       by non profit organizations.


One of the major limitations of this study is the respondents because they were

not fully participative due to their privacy issues. The limits of the study prevent it

from generalization of the obtained results.

The main concern of this research was only the television advertisements, which

is another limitation of this study. The outcomes and the behavior of the

respondents may be different for print advertisements.

Keeping in mind the above mentioned limitations, the outcomes of this research

have pointed out some important effects of the sexual appeal in TV

advertisement. The results obtained from the study also contributed important

information about the effects of using TV ads which has sex appeal.

Generally, our society is considered as a Muslim society, and its people are

bounded in some sort of religion and cultural boundaries. In spite of modernism

and globalization, people of Pakistan have some ethical concerns about the

advertisements. Our research shows that most of the people don’t like sexual

appeals in advertisement, and such sort of dislikeness leads to negative attitude

towards the brand and purchase intention. The outcomes of this research

showed significantly negative feelings of the respondent about the social cost of

the sex appeal in TV ads.

 The results of the study may help the regulatory authority to ban such sort of

advertisement, because the study found that both male and female have nearly

same negative attitude towards the sexual advertisements and brands shown in

those advertisements. But as compare to the male, female were having high

favorable purchase intention than male to the brand. It may, because of the

unavailability of close substitute of those products. The findings of the study

reveal that sexual appeals in advertisement are unacceptable in our society, and

people don’t like sex appeals in advertisements. If any unethical appeals will find

in advertisement, it will lead to build a negative attitude towards the ad, which will

further leads to build a negative attitude toward brand and purchase intention.

The marketer should keep in mind that the globalization strategy is unacceptable

every where, because of the differences in cultural values and norms. So to

make a marketing campaign, the perception and cultural values of the target

market should never ignore.

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