Sex Doesn't Sell But That Won't End It's Use In Advertising

sex_doesnt_sell.jpg

If you've been reading Adrants for a while or if you've worked in the ad business for more than a day, you are well aware sex plays a big role in advertising. You are probably also aware, or should be, the phrase "sex sells" really isn't all that true all the time.

While everyone likes to create a hot ad featuring hot people who spew endless double entendres every once in a while, it's not always the right direction to take for every brand and target audience. Many times a sex-laced ad can turn people off and do more harm than good to the brand.

Speaking to Violet Blue for her San Francisco Chronicle column, I said, "Initially sexual imagery can 'sell' - when it comes to attracting attention to an ad. After all, humans are innately programmed to respond to titillating imagery and the possibility of sex. It's just in our DNA. So it's natural for marketers to use this attraction and for people to respond. But, it can be a lame cop-out used by marketers who lack imagination to create more compelling work that will sustain itself beyond the initial titillation. Despite studies minimizing its benefits, sex will continue to be used in advertising because it's a quick and easy solution which doesn't require much thought and can garner the immediate attention some marketers need for their promotional efforts. "

No matter it's effectiveness, sex will be used in advertising as long as humans are having sex with each other and that's something that doesn't seem likely to stop anytime soon.

by Steve Hall    Oct- 9-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Racy, Trends and Culture   

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Comments



Comments

Two cheers for sex!

Posted by: Matt on October 9, 2008 11:29 AM

Steve.
Sex does not sell in advertising but does it sell in blogs about advertising? :)

Posted by: sam on October 9, 2008 2:00 PM

Yellow.

Posted by: robit on October 9, 2008 2:06 PM

Yellow. Shhhh.

Posted by: robit on October 9, 2008 2:08 PM

Since humans have roots in the primordial ooze they'll respond to PEGLAGS; the seven sins - Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth. It rarely fails. Ask any politician or marketer!

Posted by: Jake Marks on October 9, 2008 2:21 PM

Since humans have roots in the primordial ooze they'll respond to PEGLAGS; the seven sins - Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth. It rarely fails. Ask any politician or marketer!

Posted by: Jake Marks on October 9, 2008 2:22 PM

Since humans have roots in the primordial ooze they'll respond to PEGLAGS; the seven sins - Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth. It rarely fails. Ask any politician or marketer!

Posted by: Jake Marks on October 9, 2008 2:22 PM

Jake is right to bring up the 7 deadly sins in his comment about sex and advertising. I've been writing about this sort of thing for some time on my own blog, Gods of Advertising. "We make you want what you don't need" is my theme. Sex is all about desire. Tapping into latent cravings is a copywriter's job. Believe it.
Steffan

Posted by: Steffan Postaer on October 9, 2008 9:17 PM

I think any kind of blanket statement is inherently wrong. But that's not to say that sex is only valuable as an initial instigator.

As with everything, it's entirely dependent on the market a brand is trying to reach. If sex didn't sell, then no fashion magazine would have a readership. Axe would never have happened. And males age 14-45 would effectively have no ads targeted to them. Even in academic marketing (where admissions people are petrified by the concept of their students having sex) it's practically a requirement.

It is cheap, yes. Is it effective? Probably more than one might think (but again, this is ENTIRELY depending on the demographic). Of course, when it's done well (as in the case of the "Keep it Clean" ice cream cone ad for Old Spice), is there really anything that works better?

Still...you do make many valuable points.

Posted by: Dustin Lacina on October 10, 2008 1:30 PM

i love u baby
i want u to be
my love

Posted by: kingley on February 16, 2010 6:39 AM

please send me your email

Posted by: kingsley on February 16, 2010 6:46 AM







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