A cross-cultural comparison of female nudity in print advertising

KUTLU Ö., Gunduz G. Y.

International Journal of the Humanities, vol.9, no.3, pp.379-390, 2011 (Scopus) identifier


The use of erotic stimuli in print advertising has become almost commonplace in current advertising practices. Advertising communicates through verbal and non-verbal elements. In recent years, researchers have realized the importance of analyzing the visual nature of advertising in which media rely on visuals to communicate in a cluttered, global media world. Images of models or spokespersons operate as symbols in a visual grammar that creates meanings understood by members of a culture. In fact, these visuals are typically regarded as the most easily standardized element in global advertising because there is no translation of body copy required. In examining sexuality in advertising, the visual, especially the state of undress of the model, is the most likely place for sexualized elements to occur. In the international advertising effectiveness literature, longstanding debates focus on whether or not to standardize (globalize) or localize (customize) international advertising content. But, in reality, most campaigns are not fully standardized or localized, with many advertisements being partially standardized. The more important question to ask at this point is the extent to which standardization is possible and which execution elements can be most easily adapted to fit foreign markets. The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which degrees of sexuality operationalized as degrees of female model nudity) presented in advertising differ across countries. Four issues of Cosmopolitan magazine in 2010 were selected from Turkey, Spain, Italy and the U.K. This magazine was selected because of its wide distribution worldwide. A comparison of nudity in advertisements was conducted with content analysis. © Common Ground, Omer Kutlu, Gamze Yilmaz Gunduz, All Rights Reserved.