Does sex sell?
Short answer, ‘yes!’ Long answer, ‘F*** YES!’ (I mean there are limitations but regardless to that, F*** YES!)
If you have a well-busted woman with long legs or a well-sculpted man with chiseled features, you are definitely selling yourself and whatever you may be selling. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what gender you may be, the advertising with sex appeal will become memorable in the buyers mind. Associations are made and eventually sales are made.
Sure there has been some negative criticism about using ‘sex’ as a form of advertising. There is no doubt about it. Sometimes it is blatantly stereotyping, sexist, providing sex symbols, and misinforming consumers. But there are governing bodies which take care of ‘what’ airs and ‘what’ doesn’t. So next time if you have to lodge a complaint, marketers are not to blame.
Regardless to that, sex driven advertisements barely ever touch us on a personal level (we wish it did!), but it is definitely recognized as a technique used by marketing teams all over the world to promote their products. The general consensus is to apply ‘sex’ to a product which is more likely to be something that is completely irrelevant to the topic of sex. It is more or less a distraction to the product they are selling. I know this can be disputed, in the fact that clothing brands use this ploy all the time. But at the same time, on the contrary, it is never the ‘average Joe Blow’ that are starring in these roles. Respectively you’d think that having an everyday gal or guy being advertised would work more wholesomely. But in reality you just don’t put this to practice. People generally want to idolize, feel like they are like the actor or actress portrayed within the advertisement. It’s just how it is. They want to feel sexy, like the way it’s been portrayed in the ad.
Undeniably more and more campaigns are incorporating the use of ‘sex’ figures. Everything from cat food, confectionery, deodorant and fast food actively use ‘sex’ campaigns.
If you didn’t already know, Carl’s Jr is notorious for creating raunchy ads to sell their burgers to Americans. But just watching the ad makes your mouth water and a direct association is made when two gorgeous women are thrown on the screen wearing minimal clothing. People remember it, they memorize it and sure enough it becomes the talk of the town.
Generally speaking, the impulse purchase products are where sex is incorporated into ads. I mean there is no doubt that you can try and sell a new line of refrigerators by applying a man who is shirtless. Females may consider buying this line of refrigerator, but with further research they may discover that it isn’t that good compared to a competitor’s product. Anything that needs extensive thinking or thought behind a purchase usually don’t work well (in terms of sales) with a sex campaign.
The thought of indulging yourself and being ‘naughty’ is why impulse products excel at selling with sex. Products which you don’t necessarily go looking for, but when you see it you buy it. Impulse products are (although I’m generalizing) usually cheaper and heavily crowded with competitors. This is why they have to make their product stand out.
It doesn’t stop there though. The image of sex can also be applied to advertising in an evocative way. Something that can be drawing emotion and telling a message. The ability to relate is heavily enforced and is also deemed a successful method for anti-smoking and safe sex. But much like any ‘sex’ ad, the evocative campaigns do follow a pattern of repetition when it comes to reinforcing the ad.
Marketers continually create new advertisements for a pre-existing products to refresh people’s memories of what they might desire. The thought process is redundant when buying an impulse product. If it’s there, they will buy it
Just as a general premise you can’t just apply sex into advertising for everything. Anything too informative will probably be ineffective. You watch any ‘awareness’ or service based campaign, they won’t use too much of a visual stimulus. They just stay clear of it to enforce the message without the distractions. It makes sense, right? You don’t see a gorgeous blonde or a masculine stallion to enforce an election campaign. I mean my attention would probably spike, but I would be undressing them with my eyes, opposed to listening to the message. Things would get dismissed too easily if everything was based on provocative ads. So, as much as you may want sex symbols everywhere you look some things just wouldn’t work.
There is no doubt that sex sells, but there are obvious implications and boundaries which stop it from simply infesting our worlds. There has to be a line drawn for what its limits are, and currently (although the line seems to change a lot!) we seem to find a happy medium of where it lies within the advertising world.