Advertising isn’t Sexy

Creativity is pretty sexy. No other way around it. If you’re looking to attract a lady, you should either be creative or take risks. But alas, not all types of creativity are created equal. Which brings us to advertising. A study (pdf alert) published in the Journal of Creative Behaviour asked people to rate how attractive they found forty-three creative behaviours. We’ll start with the top ten—and we aren’t sure why they consider sports creative, but whatever.

1. Playing sports.
2. Taking a romantic, spontaneous road trip.
3. Recording music.
4. Making a clever remark.
5. Writing music.
6. Playing in a band.
7. Taking artistic photos.
8. Being a comedy performer.
9. Having a unique sense of style.
10. Writing poetry.

Pretty par for the course, creative-wise, right? Well, here are the ten least sexy creative activities:

1. Creating ad campaigns.
2. Interior decorating.
3. Writing an original computer program.
4. Making websites.
5. Presenting a science or math paper.
6. Exterior decorating.
7. Using math in some novel way to solve a problem.
9. Developing a new scientific experimental design.
10. Participating in a drama production.

So what gives? According to Scott Barry Kaufman, lead author, “Ornamental/aesthetic forms of creativity—which play on our evolved perceptual functions and evoke strong emotions in the perceive—were shaped primarily by sexual selection pressures and are therefore more likely to receive a sexual response than applied/technological forms of creativity.” In other words, the primary point of the sexiest forms of creativity is to appear attractive to a potential mate. The primary point of the least sexy forms of creativity is some kind of technical application, like making money. Except for the drama production. Maybe the people rating sexiness had just seen too much bad Shakespeare.

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