Does sex sell?

In the world of advertising the expression “sex sells” has become almost a cliché. But does it really work? We have performed a survey of Eye Tracking for testing this formula. Both on women and men.

Sex in advertising

We, people, have a part of our brain which is responsible for the primary needs, it is named reptilian brain. Among these needs there are food and the desire to reproduce. The way to this impulsive part of the brain does not pass via rationality and awareness; it is situated far in the neocortex. Advertisers know about this particularity and use sex to attract consumer attention. That of the men, first of all, via cheesy pictures of women. But also that of the women, whom they try to seduce via details with virile men.

This practice dates from more than 100 years ago. In 1885, for example, W. Duke and Sons, a producer of face soap, included in packages erotic images with the most famous stars. The connection between face soap and sex is not the most obvious, but it worked. And sex has become traditional also in advertising for alcohol, fashion, cars.

For our experiment we have chosen advertising from this range – the beer Skol.

How do women see sex in advertising?

The slogan says: “If the one who invented the taster would have drunk Skol, it wouldn’t have looked like this, but like this.” The image with sex appeal is present. So is the brand name. But what do women see and what do men see in this advertising? With the assistance of Eye Tracking we first followed the ladies: 

  • women like the histories from behind a product, so they read the slogan;
  • women compare, so they looked at the model’s face and analyzed her silhouette;
  • they probably thought how comfortable would it be to drink at the level from the second picture;
  • they noticed the brand of the alcoholic drink;
  • they also noticed the sofa in the background – they are so careful to details!

How do men react to sex in advertising?

Men have reacted directly with the reptilian brain:

  • they looked at the buttocks, ignored the slogan;
  • they looked again at the buttocks and at the sensuality with which the model drinks;
  • they noticed the most important element – the name of the beer Skol;
  • the sofa from the background – nobody noticed it.

Conclusion? Sex attracts attention, we all have understood that. Especially the attention of men. But that does not mean that it sells independently from other components. Such as the quality of the product, for example.