This study extends prior research on sexual appeal advertising by developing a model of consumer responses to explicit sexual stimuli conveyed through different expressive styles (artistic versus provocative). A between-subjects experimental design (N=369) was conducted. The theoretical model includes ad-, brand- and behaviour-related variables. Structural equation modelling was used to estimate the hypothesized relationships. Findings reveal that the use of an artistic format stimulates a better response than the use of images in merely provocative poses. From a female consumer perspective, all paths were positive and significant when exposed to the artistic nudity stimuli, with the only exception of the positive emotions-purchase intention relationship. Results suggest a moderating role of the mode of representing sexual images on attitude-intention relationships. From a male consumer perspective, the response was similar, but any effect was present between attitude towards the advertisement and purchase intention. Support was found for a moderating influence of expressive styles on positive emotion-attitude towards the brand relationship. The paper sheds new lights on the way explicit sexual stimuli can be represented, offering a contribution to improving the communication effectiveness of products and brands that exploit sexual stimuli.
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