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Selling Sexy: A quanitative study on consumer attitude and purchase intention in response to sexual images in ads by luxury and non-luxury brands
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of the study is to analyze the possible difference in attitude toward sex in advertisements when used by familiar luxury or non-luxury brands. In addition to this, the aim is to further analyze whether genders form a different attitude and purchase intention towards sexually loaded ads and the impact of varying degrees of sexual imagery shown in the ad on the factors like purchase intention. Previous research was found regarding consumer attitude toward the ad and purchase intention in relation to sex in advertisements. However no previous research examined whether consumers form a different attitude and purchase intention depending on the brand type of either luxury or non-luxury utilizing it. Few studies were found to use familiar brands advertisements and instead focused on unfamiliar brand names. Therefore, our aim is to fill these above-mentioned gaps and make a contribution to the field of research regarding sexual content in advertising. To fill the gaps presented, the following research questions were formulated: Is there a difference in attitude and purchase intention between males and females in response to sexual images in ads? What is the impact on purchase intention from varying degrees of sexual imagery in ads? And is there a difference in consumer attitude towards ads with sexual content when used by luxury and non-luxury brands?

The study uses a quantitative research approach and cross-sectional research design, collecting primary data through a self-completion online survey. The research philosophies adopted are a positivistic epistemological orientation and objectivistic ontological orientation. The sample was drawn via a systematic sampling method from the target population of students enrolled in programs at Umeå School of Business and Economics. 130 respondents participated and were divided into 4 groups that completed the same questionnaire however, each group responded to a different sexually charged ad, used by either luxury or non-luxury brands with varying degrees of sexual imagery. The question sets measured variables like perceived morality and ethicality in the ad, attitude toward the ad and purchase intention. Following the data collection, the data was analyzed with tools in Excel to calculate internal reliability with Cronbach’s alpha, correlation with Pearson’s correlation test and hypotheses testing with t-Tests.

Findings indicate a significant difference in attitude and purchase intention between genders in response to sexual imagery in ads. Males show a more positive attitude and stronger purchase intention compared to females. The findings further suggest the varying degrees of sexual imagery in ads influence purchase intention among respondents, where a higher degree of sexual imagery decreases the purchase intention. However this is only statistically significant in relation to its use by luxury brands. The results show a significant difference in attitude toward the ads between luxury and non-luxury brands. The difference however is only significant in response to high degrees of sexual imagery in ads. Finally, the results suggest that ads using high degrees of sexual imagery by non-luxury brands are perceived as more acceptable compared to its use by luxury brands.

The findings were used to contribute to implications on theory from previous research and contribute to business administration, specifically advertising strategy with sexual imagery. Findings imply that luxury brands should cautiously use ads with high degrees of sexual imagery due to the more extreme negative responses observed. Non-luxury brands contrarily could use more highly sexual ads with less negative reactions among consumers. This technique can be used to create attention and gain publicity. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 67 p.
Keyword [en]
consumer attitude, purchase intention, advertising
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118581OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-118581DiVA: diva2:914111
Educational program
Study Programme in Business Administration and Economics
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2016-03-24 Created: 2016-03-23 Last updated: 2016-03-24Bibliographically approved

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