A study at Ohio State University has confirmed what many marketeers suspected - although sex and violence may get viewers attention, they do not increase purchase intention, can reduce brand ratings and also have a negative impact on remembering the product. Negative effects of violence and sex on ad effectiveness were measured whether the ad itself contained explicit content or was shown within explicit materials.
However, results show that if advert and content are congruent, i.e. an advert with sexual content within a sexually explicit programme - then memory function and buying intention improve.
The research used remembering the product and stated buying intention as measures of ad effectiveness, which is not the best approach as it misses the subconscious influence of the ads (for a more up-to-date test of ad effectiveness see our Engaging Digital & Ad Content Tool).
In any case if you are planning to advertise during 'Game of Thrones' make sure you have a very sexy advert.