IMPACT OF SEX APPEAL IN ADVERTISING MESSAGE

ABSTRACT: The research examined the impact of sex appeal in advertising messages, particularly how ladies are portrayed in advertisements especially in this era when they have become instruments of attraction in advertising. The research was anchored on Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA) Theory. The survey research method was used to select respondents among students of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.  Non-probability sampling technique was used to select respondents from seven faculties using purposive sampling. The data collection instrument for this research was a questionnaire as 250 copies were administered. Findings show that many students like exposure to sex appeal in the advert (63.4%) while (73.2%) submitted that sex appeal influences their buying habits. The study recommended among others that the body saddled with the responsibility to control and see to the advertising profession (APCON) should be thorough in the discharge of their duties so that all forms of advertisements will be adequately regulated. 

       CHAPTER ONE

        INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Advertising is a persuasive non-personal communication about products, services, or ideas usually paid for by identified sponsors through the various mass media. Today, we are exposed to advertisements everywhere, whether on the bus, walking around the street, on the high ways, while travelling, in the newspapers and on radio and television, SMS advert receive on our mobile phones, email advert/marketing we get in our inbox and particularly when surfing the internet. 

Writing a persuasive, attractive and audience-driven advertising copy requires creativity and innovation. In doing that, the copywriter employs varieties of tools and techniques that will help in achieving the desired goals through careful selection and positioning of copy elements such as the pictures, colours, fonts among other elements.

However, one of the trending visual elements used in today’s advertising copy is the use of gender approaches like feminine pictures otherwise called sex appeals especially in promoting fashions and cosmetics products and services. Advertising critics have berated excessive use of women or ladies as a persuasive tool because sometimes it amounts to deception, lies and just mere propaganda.    

It is rare these days to see adverts on either print or broadcast media, even online without women especially in the beauty manufacturing products and services particularly in most soaps, body cream, hair cream and other products that are gender-based.

Most of the advertisements that showcase women have them as the user of the product, such as in the Harpic toilet washer, Sunlight detergent soap, Always pad, body creams and toilet soaps (Delta soap, Lux soap, Tura, Joy,  e.t.c  Although, this trend is changing as more women are used in advertising luxuries such as hotels, cars, motorbikes, etc

In order to make some products and services more appealing to men by reinforcing sexist notions, adverts exploit sexuality. Many products are pitched with explicit sexual imagery that borders on pornography. Not only do these ubiquitous images encourage us to think of sex as a commodity, but also they often reinforce stereotypes of women as sex objects and may contribute to violence against women (Mamah, 2009).

It may be argued that there is nothing wrong with using women in advertising products. But we do worry when that advertisement involves demonstrating her sexuality and using it in such a way as to untangle men, to keep their attention but(Mamah, 2009) opines that ‘people might end up buying sex, instead of the commodity being advertised’.

Nowadays, the impact of women in advertisements has generated a lot of controversy in many parts of the world. Some argue that women are used as followers in advertisements. They see women as ornaments that are used to beautify the advertisement. They further went on to say that women garnish the advertisements and make the adverts appealing to the eyes.

Perhaps, this accounts for why must advert agencies see or feel the impact of women in advertisements as a powerful polarized force of feminine attraction over masculine, a phenomenon well cherished for quick awareness of advert and sale of products. Also, product adverts like Delta soap, Joy soap etc call to mind what effects womanish roles on advertisements can play on the audience.

To Africa and Nigerian especially the northern society, women should remain in their traditional role and remain in their background, unseen and unheard. The African society perceives exposure of women as a most unwelcome thing. In certain parts of African traditional society exposing a female’s body is termed a taboo, just like the Muslim community forbid women from exposing themselves to certain practices which they term evil and ungodly.

Beauty industries create negative effects on teen body image as people especially youths and teenagers love to imitate and be like the women image used in the media beauty advert. Beauty factories create higher self-esteem and make teenagers become unsatisfied with their physical appearance after being exposed to beauty industries advert.  

There are some elements of deception and untruth facts in the manner in which beauty is portrayed in the media which cause dissatisfaction and negative thought to teenagers when those results are not achieved. It is against this background that this research investigated the impact of sex appeal in advertising messages with a particular focus on the University of Lagos, Akoka in order to know students perceptions and buying habits of such products.   

1.2       Statement of the Problem

There are enormous varieties of images, or representations of females in newspapers, magazines, television, posters, billboard, product libel advertising, ranging from pictures of women in with wrenches, sexy attire and pornography, e.t.c

Using women or females in public particularly in advertisements is against some cultures and religions especially among Muslims and such advertisements will not be accepted. Young people also learn a great deal about sexual attitudes from the media and from advertising in particular. Advertising’s approach to sex is pornographic; it reduces people to objects and deemphasizes human contact and individuality.

Beauty industries create negative effects on women body image as people especially youths and teenagers love to imitate and be like the women image used in the media beauty advert. Beauty factories create higher self-esteem and make teenagers become unsatisfied with their physical appearance after being exposed to beauty industries advert.  

It is against this background the research investigates the impact of sex appeals in advertising with the view to know people’s perceptions and buying habits of such products especially among the University of Lagos, Akoka.   

1.3       Objectives of the Study

  1. To know the extent to which students of UNILAG are exposed to advertising messages.
  2. To know the perception of UNILAG students towards sex appeals in advertising.
  3. To ascertain whether sex appeal advertisement has influenced students of UNILAG in their choice of buying.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. To what extent are students of UNILAG exposed to Advertising messages?
  2. What is the perception of UNILAG students towards sex appeal in advertising?
  3. To what extent has sex appeals advertisement influenced students of UNILAG in their choice of buying?

1.5       Significance of the Study

This research aims at revealing to the general public the impact of using sex appeals in advertisements. However, Advertising consultants, Advertisers (prospective and existing), media practitioners, government, educational institutions, international agencies and the public at large, will also benefit from the study. It will also help students of mass communication, advertising firms and future researchers who want to carry out similar research work.

1.6       Scope of the Study

This research was narrowed to the impact of sex appeal in advertising messages using students of the University of Lagos as a case study. Yet the study discusses extensively the concept of advertising, appeals in advertising, advertising strategies using the opposite sex (female) and other advertising areas.

            However, to effectively discuss the subject matter of this research, effort ‘shall be made on the demographic factors of students of University of Lagos such as age, level, gender e.t.c will be studied before the restructuring and administration of the questionnaire.

1.7       Limitations to the Study

It is not an overstatement that a work of this nature cannot be carried out without some hard experience. However below are some of the constraints to this study:

  1. Stress from other academic activities.
  2. Financial constraint to prosecute the work.
  3. Duration for the research work is relatively short
  4. Materials that are available on this topic are scarce and were not written from that angle.

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

Impact: A significant or strong influence that something has on the other.

Sex: The mode of distinguishing and classifying someone as either a male or female.

Appeals: The method or mode of relating with someone.

Advert: A mode of communication with the sole purpose of influencing and persuading people to buy particular goods or services.

Messages: Any concept or information that is being conveyed or passed across.

 

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