Sex Roles

, Volume 57, Issue 3–4, pp 201–210 | Cite as

Sexual Content on Mainstream TV Advertising: A Cross-cultural Comparison

Original Article

Abstract

A content analysis of 1,785 American ads and 1,467 Israeli ads maps the representation of sexual content on mainstream TV advertising in the two countries. This content appears in less than 5% of the advertisements. Most of it is mild and portrayed in the conservative context of an established relationship. Explicit material, socially discouraged practices, references to sexual responsibility and complete nudity are extremely rare. Israeli advertisements tend to present a higher share of sexual content than American ads, and male models are more likely to be partially nude than female models—but these differences are minor in extent.

Keywords

Advertising Sexual content Television Cross-cultural Israel USA 

References

  1. Alexander, W. M., & Judd, B. (1978). Do nudes in ads enhance brand recall? Journal of Advertising Research, 18, 47–51.Google Scholar
  2. Almog, O. (2004). Preida misrulik: Shinui arachim bachevra hayisraelit (Hebrew: Farewell Srulik: Value changes in Israeli society). Haifa: University of Haifa Press.Google Scholar
  3. Avraham, E., & First, A. (2003). “I buy American”: The American image as reflected in Israeli advertising. Journal of Communication, 53, 282–299.Google Scholar
  4. Bar-Lev, S. (2003). Seker emdot hatsibur benose pirsomot Televizia (Hebrew: A survey about public views concerning television advertising). Retrieved November 6, 2006, from http://www.rashut2.org.il/editor/UpLoadSeker/Icdp005.doc
  5. Bloch, L. R., & Lemish, D. (2003). The megaphone effect: The international diffusion of cultural media via the USA. Communication Yearbook, 27, 159–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boddewyn, J. J. (1991). Controlling sex and decency in advertising around the world. Journal of Advertising, 20(4), 25–35.Google Scholar
  7. Bretl, D., & Cantor, J. (1988). The portrayal of men and women in U.S. television commercials: A recent content analysis and trends over 15 years. Sex Roles, 18, 595–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, J. (2001). Defining identification: A theoretical look at the identification of audiences with media characters. Mass Communication and Society, 4, 245–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dolliver, M. (1999). Is there too much sexual imagery in advertising? Adweek, 21, 22.Google Scholar
  10. Farrar, K. M., Kunkel, D., Biely, E., Eyal, K., Fandrich, R., & Donnerstein, E. (2003). Sexual messages during prime-time programming. Sexuality and Culture, 7(3), 7–36.Google Scholar
  11. Fisher, W. A., Cook, I. J., & Shirkey, E. C. (1994). Correlates of support for censorship of sexual, sexually violent, and violent media. Journal of Sex Research, 31, 229–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fisher, D. A., Hill, D. L., Grube, J. W., & Gruber, E. L. (2004). Sex on American television: An analysis across program genres and network types. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 48, 529–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frith, K. T., Cheng, H., & Shaw, P. (2004). Race and beauty: A comparison of Asian and Western models in women magazines advertisements. Sex Roles, 50, 53–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frith, K. T., & Mueller, B. (2003). Advertising and societies. NY: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  15. Ganahl, D. J., Prinsen, T. J., & Baker-Netzley, S. (2003). A content analysis of prime-time commercials: A contextual framework of gender representation. Sex Roles, 49, 545–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goffman, E. (1979). Gender advertisements. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  17. Greenberg, B. S. (1988). Some uncommon television images and the drench hypothesis. In S. Oskamp (Ed.), Television as a social issue (pp. 88–102). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Gunter, B. (2002). Media sex: What are the issues? Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  19. Hetsroni, A. (2001). What do you really need to know to be a millionaire—The question of knowledge in quiz shows from America and Israel. Communication Research Reports, 18, 418–428.Google Scholar
  20. Hetsroni, A. (2007a). Israeli advertising: From oriental dilettantism to professional westernism. In E. C. Alozie (Ed.), Advertising and emerging economies: A contextual exploration. Spokane, WA: Marquette.Google Scholar
  21. Hetsroni, A. (2007b). Three decades of sexual content on prime-time network programming: A longitudinal meta-analytic review, Journal of Communication, 57, 318–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hofstede, G. (2001), Culture’s consequences; Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Kassaarjian, H. H. (1977). Content analysis in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 4, 8–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Keenan, K. L. (1994). Advertising. In E. K. Thomas & B. H. Carpenter (Eds.), Handbook on mass media in the United States (pp. 3–18). Westport, CT: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  25. Kunkel, D. (1999, May 18). Testimony of Professor Dale Kunkel before the United States Senate committee on commerce, science, and transportation: Hearing on television violence. Retrieved May 3, 2006, from http://www.apa.org/ppo/issues/pkunkel.html
  26. Lambe, J. L. (2004). Who wants to censor pornography and hate speech? Mass Communication & Society, 7, 279–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. LaTour, M. S., Pitts, R. E., & Snook-Luther, D. C. (1991). Female nudity, arousal, and ad response: An experimental investigation. Journal of Advertising, 19(4), 51–62.Google Scholar
  28. Lin, C. A. (1997). Beefcake versus cheesecake in the 1990s: Sexist portrayals of both genders in television commercials. Howard Journal of Communication, 8, 237–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lin, C. A. (1998). Uses of sex appeals in prime-time television commercials. Sex Roles, 38, 461–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maguire, B., Sandage, D., & Weatherby, G. A. (2000). Violence, morality and television commercials. Sociological Spectrum, 20, 121–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mittal, B. (1994). Public assessment of TV advertising: Faint praise and harsh criticism. Journal of Advertising Research, 34, 35–53.Google Scholar
  32. Nelson, M. R., & Paek, H. J. (2005). Cross-cultural differences in sexual advertising content in a transnational women’s magazine. Sex Roles, 53(5/6), 371–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Obama, B. (2005). Remarks of Senator Barack Obama to Kaiser Family Foundation upon release of Sex on TV4. Retrieved May 6, 2006, from http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/entmedia110905oth2.pdf
  34. Ogburn, W. F. (1964). The hypothesis of cultural lag. In A. Etzioni & E. Etzioni (Eds.), Social change: Sources, patterns and consequences, (pp. 459–462). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  35. Pardun, C. J., & Forde, K. R. (2006). Sexual content of television commercials watched by early adolescents. In T. Reichert & J. Lambiase (Eds.), Sex in consumer culture: The erotic content of media and marketing appeal (pp. 125–139). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  36. Piron, F., & Young, M. (1996). Consumer advertising in Germany and the United States: A study of sexual explicitness and cross-gender contact. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 8, 211–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reichert, T. (2003a). What is sex in advertising? Perspectives from consumer behavior and social science research. In T. Reichert & J. Lambiase (Eds.), Sex in advertising: Perspectives on the erotic appeal (pp. 11–38). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  38. Reichert, T. (2003b). The prevalence of sexual imagery in ads targeted to young adults. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 37, 403–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reichert, T., Lambiase, J. L., Morgan, S., Carstarphen, M., & Zavoina, S (1999). Cheesecake and beefcake: No matter how you slice it, sexual explicitness in advertising continues to increase. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 76, 7–20.Google Scholar
  40. Reichert, T., & Ramirez, A. (2000). Defining sexuality oriented appeals in advertising: A grounded theory investigation. Advances in Consumer Research, 27, 267–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sapolsky, B. S., & Kaye, B. K. (1997). Sex and indecent language on prime time television. In A. Wells, & E. Hakanen (Eds.), Mass media and Society (pp. 453–470). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Google Scholar
  42. Sutton, M. J., Brown, J. D., Wilson, K. M., & Klein, J. D. (2002). Shaking the tree of knowledge for forbidden fruit: Where adolescents learn about sexuality and contraception. In J. D. Brown, J. R. Steele, & K. Walsh-Childers (Eds.), Sexual teens, sexual media: Investigating media’s influence on adolescent sexuality (pp. 25–55). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  43. Ward, M. L., Gorvine, B., & Cytron-Walker, A. (2002). Would that really happen? Adolescents’ perceptions of sexual relationships according to prime-time television. In J. D. Brown, J. R. Steele, & K. Walsh-Shilders (Eds.), Sexual teens, sexual media: Investigating media’s influence on adolescent sexuality (pp. 95–124). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  44. Weimann, G. (2000). Hevdelei migdar Bepirsomot Televizya be-Israel (Hebrew: Gender differences in Israeli television commercials), Megamot, 40, 466–485.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of CommunicationYezreel Valley CollegeCarmei YosefIsrael

Personalised recommendations