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Promotions ‘like porn’ to supermarket shoppers

PUBLISHED: 00:06 18 September 2012 | UPDATED: 00:06 18 September 2012

According to new research, shoppers who see special offers on their favourite products in the supermarket react as if they were watching pornography.

Apparently, a coupon or free gift with a jar of Marmite or a loaf of bread gives them just as much excitement as pornography. Even if they don’t like Marmite or loaves of bread but really love pornography.

Researchers wired up 50 male and female volunteers and monitored their eye movements and emotional responses to a series of everyday consumer products.

Using a system which measures the body’s responses on a scale of one to ten, the researchers from Westminster University considered anything that measured between a five and a seven to be akin to sexual arousal.

One Marmite promotion, to get a free audiobook featuring the children’s character Horrid Henry, scored up to 5.8 on the scale. A free Wallace and Gromit gift with a loaf of bread registered highly, as did a discount coupon for Cravendale milk.

(I’m probably turning you all on by simply mentioning discount coupons and free gifts. You’d generally expect the newsagent to charge you a great deal more for this kind of filth.)

I see special offers on products all the time but am yet to offer a jar of Marmite a no-strings-attached session in the bedroom, come on to a pint of Cravendale or leave home for a two-for-one deal on fish fingers. Call me picky.

You have to wonder what would happen if supermarkets put two-for-one offers, or free gift promotions, on pornography. It might well blow our minds.


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