« The Importance of Content | Main | Psychology of "Sexy Selling" -- Pt 2 of 3 »

Psychology of “Sexy Selling” – Pt. 1 of 3

Let’s face it, sexiness sells. Sexy marketing is everywhere today.

In this 3-part series, I’m going to talk about the Psychology of “Sexy Selling” in three different segments. This segment will focus on why I feel that sex appeal sells; the next segment (which will be published tomorrow) will focus on some interesting facts that I discovered about sexy marketing; and the final segment will focus on how you can use sexy marketing to your advantage.

Many of you are aware that X10 likes to use images of beautiful women to help market our products. I’ve spoken to people who have clicked on our banners because of the sexual appeal of the image; and I’ve also spoken to people who feel that this form of advertisement amounts to pornography and refuse to visit our websites because of how we advertise.

But the fact of the matter is that “sexy” does sell. I’ve witnessed the power of this in several ways and I’ve also spoken to many who have witnesses this themselves.

I had an interesting conversation with someone awhile back. I can tell you that this person is very knowledgeable and successful when it comes to business and knowing how to sell. An interesting story was that he had mentioned to me that during the late 70’s to early 80’s he was very much involved in the technology surrounding the VCR and the Betamax, two different formats, who were competing against each other. He had mentioned to me that at this time, he was shifting on focusing their resources towards VHS technology and leaning away from the Betamax format for one reason: that reason being that the porn industry had invested in their technology that they were working on and was pushing it towards VHS format.

So what’s s the significance of this story you may be wondering? Well, as you know, the VHS format won out over the Beta format, and the rest is history. The reason VHS had captured the market was simple. They were the choice of the porn industry. The porn industry can wield enough power to sway consumers from one end to the other.

A few years back while I was in college, I decided to minor in Psychology. I remember reading about a study that was conducted to test how men would react around a beautiful woman. Here’s how it was performed: For the first part of the survey, the beautiful model acting as a surveyor would stand at the front of a rickety walking bridge with a clipboard asking the men some basic questions. The second part of the survey was the same. However, this time the beautiful model was then stationed at the end of the bridge stopping the men as they had just crossed the rickety bridge to ask them the same questions. The results proved to be amazing. What they found was that the men who were surveyed prior to crossing the rickety bridge would answer the questions then continue their way across the bridge then on their way to wherever they were going. As for the other men who were interviewed after they had already crossed the bridge, they would strike up conversation with the model and many had even propositioned her for a date. Why was this? Researchers proposed that by crossing the rickety bridge, the men had increased their heart rate that it gave them the additional courage to ask the beautiful model out, while those who had not yet crossed the bridge were more focused on doing that.

Just recently I decided to see how much of a difference that sexy marketing could make and I was floored by the results. I even tried to bias my research by stacking things to one way only to find that the results were still leaning in the other direction. Part of my job as the Community Director is to create video commercials relating to our products. What I did was create three different types of commercials: one type was of basic humor with no sexiness appeal, another type with some humor and some sexiness factor, and the third type with a huge sexiness appeal but made no sense at all. I posted the three commercials at different times and pulled them all on the same day with each having at least three months of exposure. Here’s how I conducted this study: The first commercial with humor but no sexiness factor was placed online first. A month later, the second commercial with some humor and some sexiness factor was then put online with the first commercial. Another month after that I placed the third commercial with no humor but with plenty of sexy factor online next to the other two. By the time I had pulled the commercials, the first commercial with 5 months of airtime had garnered 500 views, this was the commercial of all humor and no sexiness factor. The second commercials with 4 months of airtime had garnered over 1,200 views, this was the commercial with some humor and some sexiness appeal. The third commercial had generated over 14,000 views, nearly 12 times the amount of views as the second commercial, and over 28 times the amount of views as the first commercial!

But here’s the most interesting thing about this, the first commercial was rated high by the viewers as a “must watch commercial”, the second commercial rated average, and the third commercial just bombed in the ratings. However, although the ratings were bad since the first day the video was posted, many new viewers were attracted to it, even though they would rate it horribly.

So after knowing all of this, how does this affect how I choose to market? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog posting to learn more…


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)