"Stereotypically, females are thought to be more 'emotional' than males, and so conventional wisdom would suggest that females have more extreme responses to advertising with emotional content," write Fisher and Dubé. "Previous research has not studied how the social desirability of emotions affects responses when ads are viewed in the presence of others."
Fisher and Dubé explain, "This study sought to expose study participants to advertising while in the presence of other males versus while in private. Of particular interest is that when in private, males reported enjoying ads that were emotional and were related to "love, warmth, tenderness, and sentimentality."
"It is perhaps ironic that although females are stereotypically more 'emotional' than males, gender differences in private responses were not significant, and it was males who were sensitive to the expression of specific types of emotions in social environments."
The authors note the profound implications of this research on how advertisers approach males with products. Now, in the absence of others--via the Internet, newspapers, or magazines--men might be tearing up and buying!
Gender Differences in Responses to Emotional Advertising: A Social Desirability Perspective. ROBERT J. FISHER AND LAURETTE DUBÉ. © 2005 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc. - Vol. 31- March 2005