Ad eroticism from a psychological distance perspective: Investigating its effects in light of consumers’ sex, ethical judgments, and moral attentivenessIoannis THEODORAKIS, Grigorios PAINESIS
Building on construal level theory and psychological distance, this paper considers the impact of erotic appeal
ads in terms of consumer reactions; the demographic and ethically related psychographic factors of sex and moral
attentiveness are also examined. Two experiments delve into different psychological distance types, evoking
variant construal levels while promoting a different product category across different levels of erotic intensity in
the ad. Findings indicate that as the psychological distance or construal level decreases, reactions become more
unfavorable, regardless of the ad’s level of erotic intensity. Furthermore, reactions vary depending on sex and
moral attentiveness; women and individuals with high moral attentiveness levels (MALs) express stronger objections.
Finally, across the levels of erotic intensity, ethical judgments systematically mediate the ads’ effects on
attitudes and behaviors, and this mediation effect is intensified when viewers act under a low construal or
psychological distance level and when erotic intensity level increases.