What cool means today

đź’ˇ The Big Idea

In 2020, it’s cool to care. And the changing nature of cool is affecting what shoppers buy, who they follow, and how companies behave.

Here’s the TLDR to our field guide on the new meaning of cool.

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Author: Quartz Staff

Sex doesn’t sell after all

A woman in a bikini making out with a bottle of cold medicine. A manicured hand attempting to caress a dollop of ketchup. These are the kinds of advertisements that denizens of 21st-century consumer culture expect to see, whether they like it or not. After all, sex sells.

But a new study, published in the academic journal Sex Roles, casts doubt on this justification for bombarding the public with images of people (mostly women) baring skin in suggestive poses.  The authors find sex does not sell after all—”a result,” they write, “that questions sexualization as a useful marketing strategy.”

The study, co-authored by researchers Sarah Gramazio, Mara Cadinu, Francesca Guizzo, and Andrea Carnaghi at the universities of Padova and Trieste in Italy, came to this conclusion via four experiments that asked hundreds of Italian men and women about how attractive they found particular products and how likely they were to actually purchase them. Participants saw one version of an advertisement that featured a person in a highly sexualized pose, and another version of the same advertisement, with the person removed via Photoshop.

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Author: Sarah Todd

Sex doesn’t sell after all

A woman in a bikini making out with a bottle of cold medicine. A manicured hand attempting to caress a dollop of ketchup. These are the kinds of advertisements that denizens of 21st-century consumer culture expect to see, whether they like it or not. After all, sex sells.

But a new study, published in the academic journal Sex Roles, casts doubt on this justification for bombarding the public with images of people (mostly women) baring skin in suggestive poses.  The authors find sex does not sell after all—”a result,” they write, “that questions sexualization as a useful marketing strategy.”

The study, co-authored by researchers Sarah Gramazio, Mara Cadinu, Francesca Guizzo, and Andrea Carnaghi at the universities of Padova and Trieste in Italy, came to this conclusion via four experiments that asked hundreds of Italian men and women about how attractive they found particular products and how likely they were to actually purchase them. Participants saw one version of an advertisement that featured a person in a highly sexualized pose, and another version of the same advertisement, with the person removed via Photoshop.

Read the rest of this story on qz.com. Become a member to get unlimited access to Quartz’s journalism.


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Author: Sarah Todd

What companies need to understand about Gen Z

Today’s teens and young adults have never experienced life without smartphones. They’ve grown up connected to their peers, influences, and brands across the world through a screen. That’s led to a completely different relationship with corporations compared to previous generations. With an estimated $150 billion in spending power in the US alone, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, companies can no longer depend on traditional cultural gatekeepers to reach today’s young consumers. They’ll have to meet Gen Z on their own terms.

Quartz’s latest presentation looks at the progressive priorities driving Gen Z, from the environment to body positivity, and what this means for companies hoping to connect with young people.

A powerpoint slide showing Gen Z's attitudes toward climate change and the environment.

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Author: Quartz Staff