Sex Sells? No, It Doesn’t

Chiseled abs and bikinis can sell just about anything, right? According to the minds behind those Carl’s Jr. ads—and countless others—you’d think that’d be true.

This idea that “sex sells” has hung around for more than a century, and by this point it’s almost accepted as a doctrine. And those are exactly the types of claims researchers love putting to the test.

John Wirtz, an advertising professor at the University of Illinois, conducted a meta-analysis of 78 peer-reviewed studies that

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