What’s Up with all the Redheads in TV Ads?

Photo Courtesy: Today.com

Photo Courtesy: Today.com

A new study found that 30 percent of network television ads during prime time featured someone with red hair rather than blonde hair, according to TodayHealth.com.

Redheads are not common. In fact, they only make up 2 percent to 3 percent of the global population, yet they are selling Sprint “Family Plans” and Wendy’s salads and iPads with Verizon 4G LTE coverage. They aren’t just extras, either; 56 percent of the ads with redheads feature them as a main character, while the rest were extras or background characters, according to the report from Upstream Analysis, a media services firm.

Some studies indicate that red is the color of attraction, possibly raising our heartbeats and even stimulating our appetites. They could just look great on camera, but the most likely reason there are so many redheads in TV ads is that they are so rare in the first place, according to TodayHealth.com.

“The first challenge that these companies have is breaking though the advertising clutter,” said Andrew Rohm, a professor of marketing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, “The first job for a traditional 30 or 60 second commercial, and because they are so fleeting, is to make us pay attention. That is where the redheads come in.”

Here follows some “amazing” facts about redheads from Emma Kelly, (www.gingerparrot.co.uk), as recently published on Huffington Post:

1. Natural red hair is harder to dye than other shades

Headstrong as it is, ginger hair holds its pigment much firmer than any other hair colour. If redheads desired to dye their hair to any other colour (why would you?), it would only have a noticeable difference after bleaching the hair beforehand. Otherwise, the colour won’t take.

Bleaching, of course, is just bad news for hair. Especially red hair, which is much more fragile than other shades anyway.

2. Redheads have less hair on their heads

In terms of total number of strands, gingers have far fewer atop their red heads than any other colour.

On average, flame-haired beauties have 90,000 strands, compared to blondes with 110,000, and brunettes with 140,000.

They’re not exactly going bald though, as each strand of natural ginger hair is much thicker, so the appearance is often that redheads have more hair in general.

These fewer but thicker strands make it easier to style, so be jealous.

3. Redheads don’t go grey

Staying true to its stubborn stereotype, ginger hair retains its natural pigment a lot longer than other shades.

So there’s no need to panic about going grey – red hair simply fades with age through a glorious spectrum of faded copper to rosy-blonde colours, then to silvery-white.

4. Red hair and blue eyes is the rarest combination in the world

The majority of natural redheads have brown eyes, with others likely to have hazel or green shades.

But like red hair, blue eye colour is a recessive trait, meaning that both parents must carry the gene for a child to be blessed with it. This makes those with red hair and blue eyes the rarest minority in the world, with only 1% having both.

So, each one is about as rare as a four-leaf clover.

5. They’re more sensitive to thermal pain

Countless studies have looked into the genetics behind redheads claiming that they are more or less sensitive to pain.

Research shows that redheads are more sensitive to hot and cold pain, with their bodies able to change temperature much quicker.

Also, in surgery, gingers might require approximately 20% more anaesthesia than other hair colours. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it is thought that a link to the mutated MC1R gene could be the culprit to its effectiveness.

6. The Romans kept redheaded slaves at a higher price

Those with fiery-coloured hair were held in high esteem in Roman art and culture. Thought to be strong and determined, they were more expensive than other slaves, and prisoners would even have their hair dyed to be displayed as trophies.

Either that, or wigs of red hair were reportedly imported from northern Europe, for slaves to wear.

7. Russia means ‘Land of Reds’

Translating to mean ‘Land of Reds’, Russia boasts a high density of gingers located in its Kazan region, at over 10% redheads, a similar density to Scotland and Ireland.

8. 40% of Brits are ‘Secret Gingers’

Extensive research conducted by BritainsDNA has found that more than 40% of the population carry the mutated MC1R gene that’s responsible for red hair.

Both parents must carry the gene to be able to spawn a ginger baby, which lies at 25% if they’re not ginger themselves, but still carry the ‘secret gene’.

9. Adolf Hitler reportedly banned ginger marriages

…For fear of ‘deviant offspring’. Of course.

10. Gingers generate their own Vitamin D

Having pale skin may mean that redheads burn more easily when exposed to UV rays, but their paleness can serve as an advantage.

Redheads can’t absorb sufficient Vitamin D due to low concentrations of eumelanin in their body.

This may sound like bad news, but this lower melanin-concentration means that gingers can cleverly produce their own Vitamin D within their body when exposed to low light conditions.