Study: Turns Out Sex and Violence Don’t Sell After All

Contrary to popular belief, sex and violence don’t actually sell.

According to a study by the academic journal Psychological Bulletin, “Brands advertised using sexual ads were evaluated less favourably than brands advertised using nonviolent, nonsexual ads. There were no significant effects of sexual media on memory or buying intentions.”

So all those girls on Instagram posing in bikinis to promote teatox brands could probably do so in a potato sack and still rake in that #detoxcleanse money.

The reason sex and violence aren’t as effective as more family-friendly advertising is because these themes impair one’s memory from absorbing the actual message of the ad. Makes sense – if I watched a 30-second clip of underwear-clad models running around with AR-15s, the last thing I’d notice is the New Balance shoes on their feet.

“It never helps to have violence and sex in commercials,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University and co-author of the study. “It either hurts, or has no effect at all.”

When Axe shifts to empowering ads and Abercrombie no longer sprinkles their stores with shirtless dudes, you know the industry is starting to take note.