Wrong theme

Techniques used in selling have changed, and consequently, have become increasingly ineffective. Advertisements now seem to emphasize themes that do not resonate with the public.
Apparently, by and large the community has decided that some things should not be used as sales promotions in advertisements. Yet, many continue to believe that sexual allure should be used as the prize for buying a certain product. New research currently suggests that advertising, regardless of its content, can be counterproductive in some programs, as viewers are likely to concentrate only on what they have just seen in the regular program. Even if the commercial has sexual overtones, too often people fail to remember it as they focus on the actual program.
Two people of University College, London, England, Ellie Parker and Adrian Farnham, experimented with ideas on viewer interest in commercials. First it was to see if people are able to recall the brand of a product that was advertised during a break in the program, if the ad contained some form of sex. Then an effort was made to discover if a commercial were more successful if it had an erotic element compared to one without that. Finally, the experimenters attempted to discover if an advertisement were better able to be remembered, depending on the program into which it was placed, say a comedy, a drama, or a documentary.
After a lengthy trial period, it had become obvious that sexually titillating advertisements failed commercially. The viewing group was unable to call to mind the type of product or the brand name in those ads. The ordinary scenes were recalled as often as those with more off-colour ones.
Next, this study tried to determine if men and women reacted differently to advertisements that used the promise of sexual allure. As to be expected, men were more able to remember sexual advertisements, although not necessarily the brand names, whereas women looked back on other types of commercials.
According to an earlier study cited in The Economist, sex and violence do not “work” well as advertisements. They so obviously lack any real substance that they fail to be moneymaking promotions.
In Britain, awards are given for the most successful commercials. Almost without fail they are clever and humorous. It is about time then that advertisers switch themes and use alternative subject matter in commercials, both for the sake of good taste and for commercial reasons too.

Bruce Whitestone