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The researchers would like to thank Ms. Gay Paroisa Isabida for guiding us throughout our research paper. She devoted time and effort in teaching us the step-by-step process in finishing our paper. In addition to that, she also gave us sufficient time in finishing our well-written research paper. We would also like to thank the 40 respondents of our survey. For participating and helping the researchers conclude their paper.


This paper was made to find the factors of the consumer behavior exposed to advertisements containing sex appeal. The researchers held a survey to provide a basis for a conclusion. The researchers provided a set of sexually related advertisement and a non- sexually related advertisement to the respondents, and the respondents would have to choose between which advertisement they would remember more. The behavior, sex appeal used and the gender of the consumer are all major factors in the researchers' study.

Table of Contents

I. Chapter I 2

A. Background of the study 2

B. Statement of the Problem 3

C. Purpose of the Study 3

D. Objectives of the Study 3

E. Research question and Sub-Questions 3

F. Research Hypothesis 4

G. Scope and Delimitation 4

H. Definition of Terms 4

I. Significance of a study 5

Chapter II 6

A. Theoretical Framework 6

B. Review of Related Literature 7

Chapter III 9

Research Design 9

Locale and Participants of the Study 10

Procedure 10

Administration of the Survey 10

Analysis 11

IV Data Analysis 11

A. Overview of sex appeal 11

B. Advantages and Disadvantages of Using sex appeal 12

C. Reaction of people to sex themed advertisements 13

Interpretation of Graphs 14

V. Conclusion 26

I. Chapter I

A. Background of the study

In the present time, consumers are bombarded with many advertisements each day. As a result, promoters make their commercials one of a kind which makes them stand out from the rest and eventually get the attention of their target market.

The use of sex appeal on advertising is growing. Furthermore, the use of sex appeal in advertising has the ability to grab the attention of consumers (Ouwersloot and Duncan, 2008). This type pf advertising had been present since the 1900's yet is still used across the globe in today's time. From perfumes, bags, soap and even non-sexually related products such as automobiles and food, sex appeal is present. The use of sex appeal may affect one's culture or belief. It may cross the line for some parts of the globe yet, there had been a great debate until now whether it is effective in persuading customers in buying the said product. Also, other advertisements tend to generalize or stereotype men and women in the commercials.

Moreover, stereotyping is judging people from one's point of view and/or from one's personal encounters. Gender stereotyping were at its prime way back during the 1970s to 1990s. Advertisements found in predominantly male-oriented publications and more established magazines tend to stereotype more often than general publications (Leppard, Ogletree, and Wallen, 1993). Women were the most affected people during this era. People treat women as sex objects or representations of pleasure. Fortunately, over the years, gender stereotyping had decreased.  Stereotyping were at its all-time low during the late 90s when magazines used less image of women in advertising products. The use of sex appeal in advertising products would increase a brands recognition if it is used properly.

B. Statement of the Problem

A sex appeal advertisement is something that encourages and attracts both male and female audiences to buy the product. The sex appeal also needs to be relevant enough to connect with the product and not offend people. However, advertisements these days uses sex as a way to attract consumers by the gender, traits, status, and aspects of the model, and a lot of these advertisements ignore the cultures they could be offending. Furthermore, we should also keep in mind that "does sex really sell?'' or is it just something marketing teams do in order to get our attention. And how women feel about their gender being objectified and degraded, and what is their impact on influencing others to not buy the product. Hence, these problems should be solved in order for our society to erase the thoughts of females being an inferior gender.

C. Purpose of the Study

This paper will discuss the factors that affect the willingness of the audience to buy based on the sex appeal advertisements they have watched or read.

D. Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this research are the following: to look into the whether or not the sex appeal is relevant to the product; to look on how the audience would react to the advertisement; to know if there is a limit of appropriateness to certain kinds of product (food or clothes); to identify major factors of how sex appeal was used in the advertisement.

E. Research question and Sub-Questions

Research Question

What are the effects of using sex appeal in the advertisement of a food products?

Sub questions

1. What is sex appeal?

2. How does consumers respond to advertisements with the use of sex appeal?

3. Why do non-sexually related products use sex appeal as a form of marketing?

4. How does the use of sex appeal affect one's culture and perspective?

5. What are the disadvantages of using sex appeal in advertisements?

6. What are the advantages of using sex appeal in advertisements?

F. Research Hypothesis

The effects of using sex appeal in advertising food products are increased brand recognition and willingness of buyers to buy the product would increase

G. Scope and Delimitation

The study will only focus on the effects of the use of sex appeal in advertising sexually and non-sexually related products. This study will focus on the reactions of the respondents as to how will they react in seeing the advertisements. The advertisements we used are all from the Philippines and can be seen in the television. The advertisements we used are Century tuna, San Miguel lite, Fit N Right, Red horse and Skyflakes. This will be a locale study. The time frame allotted for the advertisements is 10 years.

H. Definition of Terms

1. Sex Appeal – Usually represented as images, verbal elements, or both, sexual information can be integrated with the message to greater or less degrees (Reicht. T, Heckler. S, Jackson. S, 2001)

2. Sexually related product - ads with explicit sexual appeals are likely to create a link between sexual content and the product, and such a link is accepted as congruent by the ad viewer. (Chang., 2014)

3. Non –sexually related product - are predicted to be more influential than explicit or implicit sexual appeals. (Chang., 2014)

4. Gender Stereotyping – this is how gender roles are depicted in media. (Cheng, 1997 & Sengupta 1995)

5. Sexual Objectification – It is the portrayal of a man or woman as an object of lust, reducing her to an instrument of sexual pleasure for another person. (Bartky., 1990 & Check. L, 1997)

I. Significance of a study

The importance of the study is to address the problem when it comes to sex appeal. There are some advertisements that are too inappropriate to be put up to the public. This study is important because this paper will be explaining the effects of suing sex appeal in advertising food products

Researchers will benefit from this study because researchers would acquire more knowledge about sex appeal in advertisements. The researchers would also know how maximize the potential of their product when using sex appeal. The researchers would learn about the proper application and amount of sex appeal that should be used in advertising. Also, businesses would benefit from this study. They will be more open in understanding that sex appeal should have its limit depending on the target market that they are aiming. Lastly, the customers would also benefit from this study. They would know how to be smart in reacting to certain advertisements. They would know whether they should really purchase the product or not.

Chapter II

A. Theoretical Framework

Message Learning theory and Self-Persuasion theory must be first understood in order to better understand the effects of sex appeal in advertisements.

Message Learning Theory was proposed by Hovland, Jenis and Kelley yet, it was greatly proposed by Hovland. The theory states that the more we remember and learn from the ad, the more persuasive it gets. It shows that it works in a “chain of persuasion” (Tan, 2012). The theory consists of 5 parts, exposure, attention, comprehension, yielding, retention, and action. Exposure is simply “what I know”. Attention is how do I notice it. Comprehension is how do I understand the message. Yielding is how does change my perception and retention is how does it stay in my mind. Moreover, when all of these works and are successful, then the theory is effective (Tan,2012). Furthermore, this will now lead to the Self-Persuasion theory.

Self-Persuasion theory was proposed by Hovland during the 1970s. Icek Ajzen, Martin Fishbein, Milton Rosenberg and Wilbur Schramm, are credited with creating the discipline of persuasion theory. This theory states that the degree of persuasion is linked to the way receivers become involved with and react to the message (Adage, 2003). Hovland also categorized 3 skills that the consumer should have in order to have the advertisement stick to their minds. The 3 skills are motivation, ability, and opportunity to process information. The consumer must first be hooked in order to process the information that is presented to him/her. Lacking that skill, the advertisement would not be efficient in sending their message across (Cacioppo, 1996). Correspondingly, the presence of sex appeal would help the ad be remembered


Sex appeal may lead to 2 behaviors: either approach or avoidance. The consumer would approach and eventually get hooked because the use of sex appeal has the ability to grab the attention of consumers (Ouwersloot & Duncan, 2008). According to Putrevu (2008), the cliché “sex cells” is apparently held in high esteem by advertisers who continue to rely on the use of sex appeal as a marketing strategy. However, consumers don't always take sex appeal in a positive approach. Some consumers see the use of sex appeal as something that raise ethical concerns (Latour & Henthorne 1994). A study made by Petruvu (2008) found that both men and women were unhappy with the overt sexuality of bread in advertisements.

The Message learning theory and Self-Persuasion theory are both necessary and crucial in the progress of this paper because these 2 theories affect a consumer's decision, mindset and attitude of consumers when it comes to products. Also, the use of sex appeal in advertisements is essential since this is where the paper revolves.

B. Review of Related Literature

The use of sex appeal is still present to this day and seeing that it really is a strategy to get the attention of the audience. Marketing teams have been using them lately even though there are no connections within the product and the sex appeal used. The mindsets of the consumers in today's societies are still stuck with the idea that “sex sells”. Therefore, advertisements today are aiming for a more acceptable use of sex appeal in advertisements, because of the opinion of the audience on it and how it could change the possibility of buying the product.

Scholarly articles on Consumer Behavior towards sex appeal in advertisements were read and studied to find common and uncommon observations towards the attitudes of the consumer. These studies provided the researchers a more unbiased and specific observation towards consumer behavior. It is hypothesized that using a sex appeal in advertisements, which have no connections between the appeal used and the product itself, would increase the willingness of a consumer to buy the product.

The following literature attempts to demonstrate and support the hypothesis.

The articles of Chang (2016) Moses & Charles (2014) Wazir (2014) have all studied the factors affecting the consumer's buying decision. Chang found the success rate of consumers buying a non-sexually - related product, that was given an advertisement with sex appeal in it, were still effective with the willingness of the consumers to buy the product. However, his findings were from an implicit sex appeal. There were factors affecting the consumer's willingness to buy the product. Including how well the advertisers made it implicit, and how well the advertisers slipped in a sex appeal in that advertisement. Moses, Charles and Wazir have similar findings in their studies, that women find most advertisements containing sex appeal offensive and to that response, they tend to not buy the product whether or not it is relevant or irrelevant. Men on the other hand, are okay with the sex appeal whether or not it is relevant, which makes them remember the product more and increase the willingness to buy the product.

This online news article Adage (2015) discusses the works of Hovland, Ajzen. I, Fishbein. M, Rosenberg. M, Schramm. W. Specifically the Persuasion theory and its branches under the theory. One of the branches that make up the Persuasion Theory is the Message Learning theory of Hoyland (1912 – 1961). Under this theory, Hoyland placed his repondents under series of processing to conclude that the more people learn from an ad, the more the ad will be persuasive to that person. Message Learning theory also covers the factors of the viewers, of an advertisement, that will affect their brand recall to a product. In addition to that, a more attentive viewer would get the message the advertisers are trying to convey, therefore, increasing the willingness of that viewer to buy the product. In the other hand, viewers with low attentiveness to commercials wouldn't be affected with the strategy used by the advertiser. Thus, making the advertisement less effective to less attentive viewers.

`The work of Moses and Charles (2014) discussed few theories that are associated with how we react to sex appeal in advertisements. They used the Feminist Media Theory, Cultivation theory, and the Queer Theory. The Cultivation theory states how we were shaped from our childhood to see some deviant acts, to be a norm in society. In the case of their framework, they associated how we are made to think that the female gender is an inferior gender to the male. Females were being portrayed as housekeepers and cooks. Men are exposed to women in advertisements, and why they are so good at remembering the advertisement for a product is because of the sex appeal used, and how they were shaped to see what women are supposed to be, and those were inferior gender to them.

Fung (2000) shown the popularity of using sex appeals in advertisements and how the Asian region reacted. It showed that Asians are more conservative when it comes to sex appeal in advertisements. And how their satisfaction on it went down the following years. Wolin (2002) conducted studies on the use of sex appeal over the years. When sex appeal was at its most popular in 1980. The following years were years of the popularity of it going down.

All the stated findings confirmed the hypothesis earlier. However, the articles aren't studying the use of sex appeal in today's time and if sex still sells within our society. The article “Research suggests sexual appeals in ads don't sell brands, products” by Chamberlain (2017) would have the answer to the attitude of consumers on sex appeal in advertisements today. The researchers discovered that the article shows how most of the products around the world are being bought by mostly women, and the advertisements containing sex appeals make the female viewers more negative about it. Additionally, this totally eliminates the intention of that individual to buy the product.

Chapter III

Research Design

This paper is a mixed methodology study because it uses qualitative interpretations but will be using a quantitative method in gathering the data. In terms of the study's approach, this paper will be correlational. The paper will be looking at the relationship that exists between the use of sex appeal and the willingness of buyers to buy a certain product. The researchers would use a survey type of research in order to find the correlation of the two factors.

Locale and Participants of the Study

The data that will be presented and discussed in chapter 4 will come from a survey. The researchers chose 30 random people to answer our survey. They are 10 men and 10 women. All participants are from the Senior High school department and all of them are studying in a private and catholic institution. We chose SHS students since students aged 13 to 19 because they are the ones who view and see advertisements the most (Nithya S, Virmani T ,2015)



For this study, the researchers will be using a survey on sex appeal in advertising. The survey will consist of 10 questions. The survey will be answered by 30 participants. The focus of the survey is whether the use of sex appeal in advertising non-sexually related products is effective or not. There will only be one survey that will be given to the participants.

Developing the Tool

The survey-questionnaire formulated by the researchers consists of 10 questions. 5 answerable closed ended and the other 5 are subjective in nature (open ended). Moreover, some of the questions would be multiple choice and some are not because they will need to back-up their response. The survey will be created in google forms. Afterwards, the receiver of the survey will be forwarding to 20 random people ages 14 to 18(1 per person) that researchers doesn't know nor have background.

Administration of the Survey

The online survey will be created using Google Forms. It will be sent to 15 male SHS students of La Salle Green Hills, and 15 female SHS students from Miriam College, Saint Pedro Poveda College and Assumption College San Lorenzo through the use of the social media messaging app Facebook Messenger. The respondents were given no time limit to answer the survey. The researchers made the survey available for only 96 hours.





U = Mean

Ex = sum of all respondents

N = number of participants

The gathered data will be analyzed using pie charts. The charts would help the researchers interpret the gathered data.

Percentage Distribution:

% = n/x * 100


n: Total number of responses

x: Frequency of the response

“%”: Percentage

IV Data Analysis

A. Overview of sex appeal

Sex appeal in advertising is defined as the use of a sexual image that is unnecessarily explicit to promote a product or service (Dahl, Sengupta & Vohs, 2008). Furthermore, scholarly articles have stated that using sex appeal is one of the most effective marketing strategies to use for attention. Ranging from explicit sex appeal that uses models in the advertisements, to the use of implicit sex appeal that uses subtle words and background images to portray sex appeal to attentive viewers. From famous clothing brands to soda advertisements, the use of sex appeal is very evident in mainstream media.

Sex appeal in advertisements have been present in ads since the 1900s. The earliest known of the use of sexual advertisement was way back in 1871. A tobacco company used a naked woman for their packaging cover (Porter, 1971). In addition to that, sex appeal is a branch of an emotional appeal. Where in this emotional appeal would help consumers improve the brand recall when they watch an advertisement containing sex appeal in it. And the use of sex appeal in advertising prompted numerous products and services to use sex appeal in their advertisements as well (Reichart & Alvaro, 2001). Therefore, the increase in sexual appeals in advertising is evidence that advertisers deem it effective. (Reichart & Carpenter, 2004)

B. Advantages and Disadvantages of Using sex appeal


Sex appeal in advertising is generally viewed as an effective strategy to attract attention to your brand (Neil Kokemuller, 2017). The first advantage of using sex appeal Is that is raises awareness for the product. Sex is one of the basic human emotions and a universally accepted marketing tool ever used in advertising (Tunji Alao, 2017).  Based on the gathered data from the survey, it also catches the attention of consumers. A number of researchers indicated that men report more positive attitudes to depictions of nudity than women (Alexander & Judd, 2001). This shows that men are more open and bias to women models that are physically fit. Another advantageous effect of using sex appeal is that the use of both explicit and implicit sex appeal is widely accepted by both genders. Which means to say that both sexual appeal is effective in advertising sexually inclined products and implicit use of sex appeal is more effective in advertising non-sexually inclines products such as food. In addition to that, the use of sex appeal can advertise any product even though there is no relationship between the product and sex appeal.


With all the benefits of sex appeal stated above, the researchers will now go to the disadvantages. The first disadvantage of the using sex appeal is that it should be appropriate and sufficient enough to meet the qualifications of the food product. Adding to much of sex appeal gives a bad impression to the product being promoted.  Too much sex appeal does not do any good to create a sensual or sexual message when all they can remember is the image and not the brand name (Amy Bax, 2018).

The next disadvantage of using sex appeal in advertising food products is that it could change the perspective of a person. The person seeing the advertisement would think that it would be okay to objectify the person since that is what he/she saw through the advertisement. Additionally, the use of sex appeal bears a negative effect on one's culture (Jackson, 2001). Another disadvantage is the reaction of consumers. Some advertisements are designed to increase the anxiety of one person in order for consumers to buy the product (Herman, 1996). Sexual information should be expected to have a negative influence on elaboration when couples with advocacy appeal (Macky, Asuncion, Rosseli 1992). Lastly, children might think that advertisement are standards which would be their basis for being part of the society. Children may perceive the advertisement as models that they should copy. Sex appeal has negative effects on the children's body image, self-esteem and mindset

C. Reaction of people to sex themed advertisements

A study made on Thai consumers that were exposed to sex appeal in the advertised product found that gender is a major factor on the behavior of a consumer (Visetbhakdi, 2010). In addition to that, using too much or strong sex appeal would generate tension within female consumers. This proves that one gender may be fine with the sex appeal used, but to another gender, it may be offensive. (Reichart, 2001). Another determinant of the behavior of the consumers would be the region where the consumers are in.  North Americans, and Asian-Americans would prefer more to have sex appeal in their advertisements. On the other hand, Asians would prefer less sex appeal in advertisements (Sukanlaya, 2010).

Male audiences towards sex appeal advertisements are more positive and open to the idea of it. And to add to that, men typically looks for the sexual attractiveness of the female models in the advertisements. Where in the female viewers are more negative to explicit sex appeals. They tend to be more attentive to the general idea and theme of the advertisement. One of the reasons of why women are more negative to sex appeal, is the use of women as objects in the advertisement. In result of that, this would reduce the effectiveness of the advertisement to consumers, due to the number of female consumers in every industry. To add to that, over use of sex appeal could affect the consumers' attitude to the product, company, and decision to whether or not he/she will buy it. Therefore, men and women have different approaches to sex appeal in advertising.

Interpretation and analysis of Graphs

The age of respondents is in the range from 15 to 17. According to the results of the survey, product is the most important factor in an advertisement. Most of the male respondents see the use of sex appeal positively (70%). Meanwhile, most of the female respondents see the use sex of appeal negatively because most of them are against gender stereotyping (64 percent)

Figure 1 below shows that 20 respondents said that they see sex appeal in advertisements negatively. 7 of them are male (35 %), 12 are females (60%) and 1 (5%) is not specified. The reason for their answers will be seen in succeeding figures. This is in line with our research that that men report more positive attitudes to depictions of nudity than women (Alexander & Judd, 2001). In addition to that, this also shows that men are more open to the use of sex appeal in advertising

Figure 2 below shows that 64% (7) of the female respondents are against objectifying women. 9% (1) said that it gives wrong impression to children. Also 9% (1) said that is discriminating people. Lastly, 18% (2) said that sex appeal shouldn't be used. This shows that there are many factors and disadvantages to consider when using sex appeal. Advertisements must clearly specify their target market in order for their ad to be effective.

Figure 3 above shows that 70% (14) of males and 30% (6) of the female see the use of sex appeal positively. The reason for choosing “Positively” will be seen in the succeeding figures.

Figure 4 above shows that females have answered positively because 48%(3) answered that they embrace Human Sexuality. 16%(1) said that it depends on how it is used.  16%(1) said that it is Educational and 16%(1) said that it is Irrelevant to use ex appeal in advertisements. This shows that most females like the advertisements when models show their assets. This goes to show that for women, the model gives a big impact to the advertisement because they appreciate the assets that models show

Figure 5 above shows that male answered positively because of several reasons. 21%(3) said that it is appealing. 14%(2) said that it made them happy. 21% (3) said that It depends. 14%(2) said that is irrelevant. 7%(1) said that it encourages him to eat and 21%(3) said that it embraces Human Sexuality. This shows that men find the use of sex appeal appealing to them. In addition to that, males also look at the model of the advertisement. This goes to show that advertisements should look at many factors before releasing their ads.

Figure 6 above shows that 83% (16) of females against objectifying people. At the other hand 17 percent (3) support objectifying people. This shows that females are against objectifying people.  This is the reason why females see the use of sex appeal negatively (figure 1). In addition to that, this also shows that advertisements shouldn't objectify people if they want their brand to leave a good impression.

Figure 7 above shows that most of the male respondents are against objectifying people (65%). Meanwhile, 35% (7) of males are okay with objectifying people. This goes to show that men also are against stereotyping. The use of sex appeal has many advantages and disadvantages. It could either leave a good image or a bad image for your brand.

Figure 8 above shows that the person who didn't put a gender chose that he/she is not against objectifying people/ This shows that not all people are against gender stereotyping

 Figure 9 above shows that Females look at product the more than any factor in an advertisement 50% (8). This shows that women look at the product the most than any factor in an advertisement. Furthermore, the next factor that they look at is the model. This concludes women mainly look at the product and the model of an advertisement. This goes to show that models should also be given priority since they play a big role in the advertisement.

Figure 10 above shows that males look at product the more than any factor in an advertisement 47% (10). This goes to shows that unlike women, males look at the product and popularity of the product the most. This goes means that males are “okay” with males that are skin revealing models because it doesn't affect much of their attention because their main focus is the product and its popularity. The next in the ranking is Form. Males also look at how the advertisements look like. The researchers can conclude that males look at the product popularity and form of the product

Unspecified gender

Figure 11 above shows that persons who didn't specify his/her gender prefer popularity than any other factor in an advertisement. This shows that not all people's focus in an advertisement is the product itself

The graph above shows that 52.5% of respondents would remember more of the advertisement that used sex appeal rather than the ordinary and plain advertisement. This shows that factors of the advertisement, like the model, would really affect the brand recall for the product.

The graph above shows the same results as the graph of question #7

The graph above shows that 57.5% of respondents would remember the advertisement that has no sex appeal in it. This would provide a basis that not all sex appeal would work.

The graph above shows that 65% of respondents would remember the advertisement with no sex appeal in it more than the ad with sex appeal. This shows that not all advertisements using sex appeal would be more remembered.

The graph above shows that 52.5% of the respondents would remember the advertisement with sex appeal more than the normal ad. This shows that there are mix responses with every sex appeal advertisement.

This graph shows that 65% of the respondents would remember an advertisement with sex appeal more than an ad without. Despite the mix responses on the questions prior to this question, majority of the respondents would still remember an advertisement with sex appeal in it.

V. Conclusion

This research attempts to explain the usefulness of adding sex appeal in advertising food products. To conclude, the researchers found out that the use of sex appeal in advertising non-sexually related products like food can boost brand recall and brand recognition. In addition to that, the brand recall and brand recognition for non-sexually inclined products could either have a positive or negative effect. It would bear a positive result if and only if the amount used is minimal or implicit. At the other hand, the use of sex appeal explicitly would still increase brand recall and recognition yet, the result would be negative if the advertisement uses sex appeal explicitly. To add to that, the researchers found out that male are more open and shows positive reaction to nudity and sex appeal than women. Most of the respondents who answered “yes” in the advertisements that depict sex appeal help in advertising products are mostly males. Furthermore, our findings would help advertising companies to whether use implicit (light) or explicit (heavy) sex appeal in promoting their product.

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