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The effectiveness of female nudity in advertising in three European countries

Christian Dianoux (CEREFIGE, University of Paul Verlaine, Metz, France)
Zdenek Linhart (Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. Czech Republic)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 14 September 2010




The paper attempts to gain a better understanding of the reasons for advertisers to use nudity in European advertising campaigns and, more precisely, whether a print ad that uses nudity is more or less effective than an ad without nudity in the Czech Republic, Spain, and France.


An experiment carried out in three European countries (Czech Republic, Spain, France) exposes young consumers to an experimental magazine containing an advertisement that shows either a woman's face or her topless body.


Nationality does not appear to influence preferences for advertisements with or without nudity. Although differences emerge among the three countries in attitudes toward the ad (Aad), they are independent of the ad type and consistently reflect the same trends within each country. Gender influences Aad, and women adopt more negative Aad when they see nudity compared with when they do not, in contrast with men, regardless of their country.

Research limitations/implications

Attitudes toward advertising in general vary significantly among European countries, even for seemingly homogeneous targets. Specific adaptations likely are needed not just with regard to nudity but more generally in terms of the content of ads.

Practical implications

Advertisers that question the relevance of nudity in their advertising campaigns should take great care to define their target market by gender – even more so than in terms of the European country in which the advertising will appear.


Women adopt more negative attitudes toward advertisements that use sexy female models than do men, and this effect is independent of nationality in a European context.



Dianoux, C. and Linhart, Z. (2010), "The effectiveness of female nudity in advertising in three European countries", International Marketing Review, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 562-578.



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