Wednesday, March 05, 2008

There is no sex in TV advertising

How much sex is there in commercials aired on network television? Not much according to a recent article published in 2007 by Amir Hetsroni in the journal Sex Roles.

Hetsroni conducted a content analysis of prime-time commercials aired on the major broadcast networks in both the US and Israel. He analyzed approximately 1,700 commercials from each country. He reported that sexual conduct existed in a mere 1.2% of US commercials, compared to 3.4% in Israeli commercials. As can be expected, complete nudity was practically nonexistent in both countries. When it comes to sexual acts, Hetsroni reported that both men and women initiated sex about the same amount.

One notable difference between ads in the US and Israel is that 60% of American ads portrayed sexual acts in the context of an established relationship. On the other hand, only 8% of the Israeli ads did the same. Does this mean that Israelis are more comfortable with sexual behavior when portrayed outside of a relationship? Perhaps, but a careful analysis of the types of products (male- vs. female-oriented) may have played a role as well.

Overall, it was surprising to see such a small level of sexual content in prime-time advertising. Almost all published studies report that sex is present in about 10% (+/-) of prime-time network commericals.

--Posted by Jackie Ayrault

No comments: