Friday, June 30, 2006

Sex and violence? Not all that useful a tool after all.

Cognitive Daily is one of life's sweet pleasures. It's like a themepark for the eclectic mind.

The brain is an interesting place to explore, one full of surprising revelations. Turns out, ads appearing in programming heavy on heaving bosoms and murder and mayhem don't perform as well as when appearing in more wholesome fare.

This ought to have huge implications for agencies, their clients and media buying decisions. We all love our sex and, well, sex. Some like violence--whatever--between consenting adults in the privacy of their own planet--just don't let me see it. I have tender sensibilities.

One thing is for sure, if anyone's agency is buying ads on those prurient dating shows, or during gore and guts shoot-em-ups, or the likes of Jerry Springer, it might be a good time to look for a new agency.

Here's the story:

[Published in the prestigious journal Psychological Science] . . . Bushman studied 336 adults in central Iowa by showing them violent, sexy, or neutral TV programming (some of the programs included 24 and Cops [violent], Sex in the City and Will and Grace [sexy], and America's Funniest Animals and Trading Spaces [neutral]). Each program contained the same 12 commercials. The commercials were chosen from a selection of products that were relatively unfamiliar to the study group: "Senokot Natural Vegetable Laxative," "Nutra Nails," and so on.


Is that the sound of the world becoming less seduced by titilation? Naw. That was my stomach. Time for lunch.

Bushman sees some refreshing consequences if advertisers catch on to the failure of titilation and savagery:

. . . if advertisers would refuse to buy advertising on shows with sexual/violent content, they could help their own bottom lines because the ads on these shows don't sell as well. Society would be helped because violent/sexy shows would soon be removed from the air due to financial insolvency -- and violent programming is associated with aggressive behavior while sexually explicit shows can lead to anti-social sexual attitudes.
If this kind of programming is neutralized as a viable commercial vehicles, sex and violence might just return to their natural place in the human experience.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you said TITilation--teetittyheehee!