I know that, of all my articles, this one will attract the most readers. Why?
Well, because of its title, of course. I am also realistic to know that
this is the sentence where most readers will stop reading, knowing there isn’t
any sex nor naked images to be seen. Judging by the feedback I get, I have some
regular readers, and I hope you at least are still with me.
Sex sells: the most popular search terms for any search engine will always
include a liberal smuttering – er, smattering – of phrases from people with only
one thing on their minds. Every other tv or webcast ad will have scenes that
appeal to our most basic of instincts, not to mention many print ads, posters and
Sometimes the link between the product and the carnal subject matter of the
ads can be tenuous, to say the least. What the marketing people are doing, of
course, is trying to grab attention. Take posters along a the wall besides a
subway escalator. There you are, travelling at 6 miles per hour past these
invitations to spend your money….
1. Flirtatious, seductive torso shot with beckoning finger: “come to the
show!”… (6 seconds attention)
2. A rotund middle aged man with a beer belly: “The best…..” (1
3. Two bikini clad girls: “call us today”…..(and there you are –
if you are male – walking backwards down the up escalator….2 minutes and still
Of course, there is no reason to get all worked up about this. For single ads
and short campaigns, attention grabbing is essential. However, if you are
running a long campaign or building or sustaining a brand, scantily clad women
(or men) are not going to sustain it over the long haul, leaving the campaign
limp and unfulfilled. No, as well as eye-catching images, you need substance.
You need to get the real message across, before the attention span wanes. Sexual
imagery is great in a short burst, but sooner or later you will want your
audience to love your product, and not just have a brief affair with it.
Some may even go as far as to say that using titillating images and innuendo
is a cheap trick, betraying a lack of imagination by the ad agency and marketing
guys. Surely, this depends on how you weave the images into the message: if you
are selling photocopiers, for example, having a tv ad with a half naked model
standing by the machine, with the tag line: “Buy our photocopiers”
is crude, gratuitous and tacky (and a rubbish tag line). However, having a naked couple in bed together
with a photocopier and with the tag line: “Great reproduction”
may be risqué but would not be crude by any measure (hey, this is my best effort
for free – I can normally do better when I’m being paid!). It could also be
controversial enough to start a valuable debate, possible in the media, about
the ad itself, thus bringing in valuable free copy and air time).
marketing campaign with pretty girls and no real intelligence would soon go limp
and leave a client unfulfilled. This kind of crude campaign would not challenge
your audience to think about your product and chew over an intelligent message
or some clever humour. By draping pretty girls over your product, with no
connection between the two, you are just saying: “hey, buy this
product!”. This blatant disregard for your audience strips your campaign
down to its bare essentials. This is naked
Sexual imagery is hard to avoid in ads and in life in general. Some parents
take offence to this. This is not through over-prudishness. This is because
their young children are simply not equipped to understand the real
reasons for the imagery and all the nuances that are involved. Even if parents
started to explain to their kids why people are wearing very little in tv ads,
for example, there would be more questions than answers. So parents naturally
think: best not go there! The problem is, of course, that the ads do go
there – and they are in your face and are relentless. For what it is worth, I
would say that a good campaign should not be too explicit. My couple (you
remember, the ones in bed with the photocopier) could be wearing their
nightshirts, at least. I mean, we would still get the joke, wouldn’t we?
In-your-face crude images are simply not necessary. We are all hot blooded
creatures, but most of us like to be teased and played with rather than one
wham-bang big push that leaves nobody satisfied.
Sometimes imagery is used to describe a product that has nothing to do with
sex or anything remotely connected with it. The Insectocutor SE40 is a fly
killer machine that has been specifically designed to look good in
front-of-house areas of restaurants and bars. As such, it has been described as
stylish, elegant and as having beautiful curves. The connection to the female
form is tenuous, but is detectable all the same. Just as men (in particular)
often think of their cars as females, Insectocutor, the manufacturers and Arkay
Hygiene who sell it are so bowled over with the look of the SE40 that they are
happy to have it described in female terms, and in rather sexy female terms at
that. No naked sales here, just naked fly killers.
Source by Vernon Stent