Sex doesn’t sell after all

Janet Babin Feb 22, 2007
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Sex doesn’t sell after all

Janet Babin Feb 22, 2007
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SCOTT JAGOW: Sexy TV shows might draw a lot of viewers, but a new study says that doesn’t mean those people are paying attention to the commercials. Janet Babin reports from our Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.


JANET BABIN: The study placed 18 to 31-year-old college students in front of two shows: Sex and the City and the comedy Malcolm in the Middle.

Both screenings included commercial breaks. The researchers found those watching Malcolm in the Middle had better product recall.

The study concluded that sex doesn’t sell. On TV, it can keep people from remembering commercials.

Todd Chanko with Jupiter Research says the study findings create a catch 22 for advertisers.

TODD CHANKO: Ratings for shows with some kind of sexual or romantic content tend to be on the high side. And of course, advertisers are interested in reach.

But the content may be more riveting than the ads. And Chanko says shows like Sex and the City never really had advertisers in mind, because the program was made for a pay-TV network, HBO.

The journal Applied Cognitive Psychology published the findings.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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