Consumer Responses to Sex Appeal Advertising: A Cross-Cultural Study

Fang Liu, H. Cheng, J. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Sex appeal has been widely used in most countries. However, little is known aboutconsumers’ responses to sex appeal advertising in different cultures. The purpose of this paper is toexamine the effect of sex appeal on ad and brand evaluation among Australian, Chinese and USconsumers.Design/methodology/approach – The paper adopted a three (Australia, China and the USA)£ two (male or female model) £ two (low or high level of sex appeal) between-group factorial design.Findings – Australian, Chinese and US consumers have significantly different attitudes whenexposed to the same ad. However, consumer buying intentions towards the advertised brand are notsignificantly different. Despite the general assumption that Chinese consumers might react leastfavourably to sex appeal ads, this paper finds that they hold similar attitudes towards sex appeal adsas US consumers and even more favourable attitudes than Australian consumers. Productinvolvement is found to be a significant covariate.Research limitations/implications – The sample includes young consumers, who may be moretolerant to sex appeal advertising than older generations in China. A similar situation may exist inAustralia and the USA.Practical implications – Understanding how consumers in different cultures respond to differentadvertising appeal strategies is important for international advertisers.Originality/value – This is the first reported empirical study that compares Chinese consumers’responses to sex appeal advertising with those in Western countries. Findings add to theunderstanding of the standardisation-localisation debate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-520
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Issue number4/5
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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