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Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Truth about Sex and Advertising

SEX - I was visiting my local Toronto bicycle mechanic when he showed me the video below (he knew I'd like it and want to talk about it):

You see when I first saw the video... my first words was "What is this advertising?" I had immediately jumped to that conclusion, and then taken the next step, if its not advertising, it would certainly make good advertising online. It is apparently a clip from a German film, but I immediately thought of the advertising potential of a clip like this. Not for TV obviously (because then children would see it), but as internet advertising.

And I realized, and admonished myself for doing so, that I had immediately jumped to the conclusion that this would make good advertising because as we all know sex sells. Ergo... I thought sexually charged advertising = good advertising.

And in this era of internet advertising (and the increasing obsoleteness of television) this just made sense.

However... its not like we don't already have sexually charged advertising on TV. Check out this Marca Bavaria beer ad from 2003:

Or this ad from Nintendo Wii:

And we're more or less used to seeing such things on TV or the internet these days (although online you can get a lot more raunchy because there is no one looking over the advertiser's shoulder to see if they follow any ethical standards or show nudity).

The trick I think I should point out is that these ads aren't just sexually charged... they're smart and witty. Like this one for Diet Coca-Cola:

Advertisers seem to have mastered the ability of balancing sexuality and wittiness in their ads... Why? Because they know we'd get offended if the ad was blatantly offensive and had no wit involved.

We all know sexually charged advertising is here to stay, but what we have to watch out for is the ones that present an offensive stereotype. The trick after that is to let the company know we will be boycotting their product until after the ads are pulled (hopefully without letting the media know, because mass media attention is probably what they are looking for anyway).

I also want to take this moment to say kudos to the good people at South Park for making their new episode "The Ring", which depicts how the Walt Disney Corporation uses sex to sell their movies, music and products to little girls. I strongly recommend people watch the episode.

See Also
Advertising Sexploitation

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