This Just In: Sex Sells

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Risky Business Kiss © Konstantin Tavrov, Dreamstime.com

You’ve seen the scantily clad cocktail waitresses in the casinos.  The sexy woman posed on the hood of a car.  We know that sex gets men’s attention.

But does sex actually sell?

A new research study by Brian Knutson of Stanford suggests the answer is yes; at least, that heterosexual men are more likely to take financial risks after being subjected to positive emotional stimuli—in the case of the study, erotic photos of a man and woman.

Why should digital marketers and publishers care?

As digital content and advertising become increasingly intertwined (here’s one of many posts on that topic), and marketers and publishers get better about measuring the effectiveness of their efforts (read more in our mini-eBook on social media performance management), we can expect the trend toward sex in advertising to be further invigorated (pun intended), at least in advertising that targets men.

And as social media becomes an increasingly effective marketing tool, we can also expect more of the digital equivalent of those cocktail waitresses.  The Stanford study alluded to the particular relevance in online gaming (gambling) businesses, and I noticed the effect firsthand when checking out XuQa.com, an online casual gaming community co-founded by Murtaza Hussain, co-founder and CEO of PeanutLabs and the subject of a recent DigitalPodcast interview.  Many of the most popular gaming rooms in XuQa are hosted by very attractive women (or at least hosts with photos of very attractive women), and the formula seems to be quite successful there.

By the way, for our female readers (my wife included) who by now are gloating over the superiority of your half of the species, beware:  Mr. Knutson is planning to test women’s responses in the future.

[tags]Brian Knutson, Erotic Content, Stanford University, Sex[/tags]

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