Taking sexually oriented appeals seriously: Can they really be persuasive in social marketing situations?
AdvisorJackson, Sally A.
Heckler, Susan E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMessage-effects research has explored in some depth the effects of emotion-evoking persuasive message elements such as fear and humor. Interestingly, persuasion research has for the most part neglected the impact of sexually-oriented appeals in persuasive contexts. To address this inadequacy, this study was designed to realize two overarching goals: (1) To contribute to what little is known about the effects of sexually-oriented appeals within persuasive contexts, and (2) to determine if this type of appeal can be effective beyond the consumer product domain to more socially-relevant contexts (e.g., disease prevention, parental responsibility, art museum visitation). For the purposes of this study, sexually-oriented appeals are defined as any appeal which is perceived by the audience as sexual and subsequently evokes a sexual response. In addition, appeals of this nature are also perceived by the audience as credible, appealing, and relevant. Regarding method, this study utilized a replicated message treatment design. Thirteen pairs of matched messages were used to test the effects on the dependent variables. Important advantages gained by utilizing this method and the appropriate statistical analyses included: increased generalizability and internal validity, and the ability to inspect treatment effect magnitude and variability. Overall, the findings of this study contribute to the above-mentioned goals. First, sexually-oriented appeals were found to be more persuasive than matched nonsexual appeals for social marketing topics. Second, sexually-oriented appeals stimulated more ad execution-related thoughts, fewer message-related thoughts, and fewer counterarguments. In addition, subjects were able to recall more visual aspects of sexually-oriented appeals than nonsexually-oriented appeals but there was no difference in copypoint recall between the two appeals. These results are congruent with past emotion research and affective models of persuasion. This research provides evidence that sexually-oriented appeals can be persuasive, at least in a social marketing context, and provides insight into the impact of sexual appeals on the persuasive process.
Degree ProgramGraduate College