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Consumers Spend Lot on Sexual Imagery Products

Update Date: Jul 28, 2012 03:33 PM EDT

There is a notion that exposure to sexual imagery in advertisements helps gain consumer attention and also the advertisement stays longer in the consumer's memory. Researchers from USC Marshall School of Business tried studying how sexual cues affect consumer behavior.

 Assistant Professor of Marketing Kyu Kim and Gal Zauberman, associate professor of marketing at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, in their study, reveal how sexual cues can consumers to be impatient and how they can affect their monetary decisions.  

Their study titled, "Can Victoria's Secret Change the Future: A Subjective Time Perception Account of Sexual Cue Effects on Impatience," is a different take on the subject when compared to earlier theories which indicated that consumer impatience in response to sexual cues is solely due to the escalated desire for immediate gratification, a press release said.  

According to the authors, a consumer's reaction to sexual cues is more complicated than just a desire for immediate gratification. In their study, they hold that the outcome of exposure to sexual cues affects the consumer's perception of time. 

In one of the five studies conducted, the researchers exposed male participants to sexually charged imagery. Later, those participants were asked whether according to them a time frame of three and six-months was a "very short" or a "very long" time from the present time. It was noted that participants who were exposed to individuals they were attracted, found the time frames to be further into the future when compared to others in the control group.

In a another study, 116 male participants were shown images from an online Victoria's Secret catalog and the response of the participants to receiving one of two fictitious Amazon.com promotions: a gift certificate available that day or one available three months later was gauged by the researchers.

It was found that participants who were exposed to sexually charged imagery were more impatient and thought that the discounts need to be steeper in order to compensate for the waiting period. However, the other group which was exposed to the nature images was found to be more patient. 

The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, is helpful for marketers. The findings of the research implicate that when consumers are exposed to sexual imagery, look for an immediate reward. Consumers with sex on the brain might be more inclined to spend money more quickly.

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