Thursday, May 25, 2006
Advertisers apparently seek safe haven for their sexiest ads. A recent content analysis conducted by Divya Nair, an honors student in the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, found a higher proprotion of sexual ads in the new crop of men's "laddie" magazines (FHM, Maxim, Stuff) than in their less sexual counterparts (Details, GQ, Esquire, Men's Health).
Nair analyzed 557 full-page ads in November 2004 issues of the seven men's magazines. Overall, 33% of ads in the lad-mags were sexual compared to only 24% in the lifestyle magazines. There were no differences in terms sexual behavior or the way men were depicted but there was a major difference in the depiction of women. Overall, 87% of women were suggestively dressed, partially clad, or nude in FHM, Maxim, and Stuff compared to only 57.5% of women in lifestyle magazines. All differences were statistically different.
The findings suggest that advertisers feel free to put their sexiest ads in magazines with equally sexual editorial content. Although this relationship seems obvious, Nair's project sought to discover if advertisers appearing in both types of magazines varied their messages. No evidence of message variation was found. She did find, however, that the sexiest ads were for entertainment products (e.g., movies, video games) that mostly appeared in the laddie magazines. Given that Maxim, FHM, and Stuff reach a younger male audience than GQ, Men's Health, and Esquire, the implication is that advertisers are using sexual information to appeal to young males.