By: Jeong Soo Kim - 100597344
For this project I referred to the “Cross-Cultural Differences in Sexual Advertising" in a Transnational Women's Magazine. In fact a study has never really been conducted on this subject before. However in the above mentioned research, seven countries were compared, displaying their response to the degree of sexuality in Cosmopolitan magazine as published in the target countries. The study was completed in China, India, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, France, and the United States. Various degrees of sexuality were noted, emphasizing the differences in the way women were characterized and the degree of sexuality among different cultures. The research describes that there has been no published research on the cross-cultural influence of advertising at the time of this study.
According to this study, western or foreign models were used to characterize sexuality, and the degree of sexuality portrayed was affected by cultural values of consumers. Ads in China characterized the least degree of sexuality. Domestic models were less involved than foreign models which reflects the political system in China and its effect on advertising regulations. Advertisements in Brazil had a great degree of sexuality. However, ads in France and Thailand displayed an even greater degree. When cultural attitudes towards women were reviewed, women were found to hold a higher level of status in Thailand. Buddhist religious beliefs in Thailand were also found to be tolerant of the expression of sexuality.
From Thailand’s case, a bias on sexual issues in advertisements among all Asian countries may have developed. However research has shown that nudity in advertisements in India, used primarily foreign models as opposed to using domestic models. I also found that religion strongly influences ads in certain countries along with Thailand, previously mentioned in the research. The study showed that nudity in these ads offended some of advertising perceptions in Muslim group and Christians. The research points out that the greater the intensity of religious beliefs of an individual, the more likely there will be an objection to the ethical content of an advertisement.
  • China banned many ads they believe to be overtly seductive and tantalizing in nature.
  • Chinese regulations against unwholesome content and sexual themes is just one part of a larger attitude of paranoia that surrounds advertising.
  • Government organs, no pun intended, continuously release statements banning TV spots with obvious sexual imagery.

  • TV channels should not use extremely sexual advertising.
  • They offend good taste and decency and appear indecent, vulgar and suggestive by subtly sending a message that the products arouse women’s sexuality.
  • Sex appeal serves a number of crucial roles in advertising including grabbing attention, augment recognition, enhancing recall, evoking emotional responses, enhancing persuasion to buy and boost brand recognition.

  • Thailand has some strict censorship rules—kissing and romantic display of affection is not allowed
  • Sexuality in Thai ads isn't used to sell products in the same way as other countries, perhaps because with sex selling almost everywhere in the country, sex doesn’t pack as big a punch in advertising.
  • It’s all about a punch line instead of a selling point.

South Korea
  • Sex is no longer taboo in South Korea but it remains a sensitive topic because Confucianism is still the underpinning of its social structure.
  • American respondents were found to be more liberal in their attitude regarding the use of sexuality.
  • Korean’s understand the power of sex appeal in advertising, and they use it to sell some of the most common products.

  • 40% of all advertising complaints during the past year have been about sex and nudity.
  • The view has always been that sex can be used effectively only if it has some relevance to the product.
  • Women have been shown to respond negatively to advertisements, and are more likely than men to comment on the motive of the advertisers.

  • The ads “reinforce an erroneous stereotype of women as sex objects and ignore the progress made in ending sexist practices.
  • There is no political correctness about them or their society.
  • Brazil may be the largest Roman Catholic country in the world but the church obviously rules with a light hand.

  • Now, for the first time, a controversy has erupted in France over the use of sexually suggestive posters as a deterrent.
  • The campaign has been attacked as scandalous and potentially counter-productive by feminist and pro-family campaigners.
  • The advertising agency behind the posters says only a shock campaign can halt the rise in smoking amongst 13 to 15-year-olds in France.

Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi authorities have closed an office of an Arab TV station after it broadcast an interview with a man speaking frankly about sex and showing off erotic toys
  • The office of LBC, a Lebanese-based satellite TV station, in the western city of Jiddah was closed because of the programme.
  • Saudi Arabia, which is the birthplace of Islam, enforces strict segregation of the sexes.

  • Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party was feeling the heat for their racy advertisement, which screams Axe Body Spray rather than Vote!
  • United Russia has come under fire for this ad.
  • But not for the sexual content we all can’t help but notice.

Nelson, M., Paek, H. (2010), Sex Rolls: “Cross-Cultural Differences in Sexual Advertising Content in a Transnational Women's Magazine” Behavioral Science, Volume 53, Numbers 5-6, 371-383, retrieved from
International Marketing Review: Consumer responses to sex appeal advertising: a cross-cultural study, retrieved from,retrieved from,retrieved from,retrieved from,retrieved from,retrieved from, retrieved from,retrieved from,retrieved from, retrieved from