For some reason last night, i dreamt about a project from high school on the gratuitous use of sex in advertising. I vividly recall choosing the Bayswater Hire Car company in Perth, who always had a half naked woman next to their advertised rates or special offers. Here is a copy of their Yellow Pages ad still some 20 years later using the same approach:
Even back then i wasn’t that bothered about the nuded up chick, but i can recall being unsure of the real value of the nudity exercise with regard to return on investment in marketing dollars. It obviously works for their demographic.
Nowadays with 2 decades of marketing experience under my belt and part way thru a post grad. effort in marketing, i totally get it. Artistically, i also get it. Some of the work for ad campaigns is so amazing that whilst annoying for it’s context, the point is that it may never have reached the general population any other way, so it’s a win-win.
A major down side is the pornographic conotations. The use of underage girls dressed up to look like slappers – i still can’t fly with it. That pretty much crosses the only line i have.
As a living example of gratuitous, I have a client who sold exercise equipment and he was very successful at it. He totally nailed the body obsession and always had the right look in all of his ads – women aspiring to look like the model and men who wanted to have sex with said model.
He moved into a totally unrelated product and sought my opinion on one of his concept posters – it had the same kind of woman – young blonde, shorty shorts, singlet top, supposedly relaxing enjoying the product – erghhhh!
So i suggested a little soft light, model relaxing on the sofa reading a book and drinking a glass of wine instead of looking like she was gagging for it – bingo – it worked, but i noticed she was still wearing Daisy Duke shorts and a small singlet top.
There is such a fine line between trampy, vampy and sexy – and one mans trampy is another mans sexy. I guess what will always hit the mark are ads that steer clear of demeaning. But in saying that, it’s also a perspective issue isn’t it?
There is now the strange situation of marketing directly targeted at females of a certain age that is demeaning to men. I find it grotesque in either direction – but i also do not seek to be empowered by the media. A guy in a belittling situation does not make me feel like more of a woman. I am at a genuine loss to understand how is it ok to have complained for years about doing that to women in advertising and then reciprocate by running the same ads about men?
Reverse sexism. I guess keeping a sense of humour on hand goes a long way to keeping it in perspective but i watch the shitty attitudes of teenage girls now and the whole Diva bullshit and i’m sure lots of it comes from the societal misconception that it’s ok to be a pain in the arse princess and men will just have to put up with it because they deserve it.
For me, i can’t go past a boldy humourous, a little tongue in cheek or straightup truthful ad. They always catch my attention.
Celebrity endorsement completely shits me and can actually push me away from a product i might otherwise have considered, as does totally manufactured imaginary perfect families or the super Mum who belittles the Dad for his obvious male incompetence – if that was reversed it would be treated like sacrilege.
Not being religious, i find this nun priest ad quite appealling – but i can imagine why some might get upset. I think that is one hot priest BTW
And this burger foreplay ad is cheeky and fun. Verging on the ridiculous some Vegetarians may find it offensive but turn the page or change the channel!
So that’s my Sunday rant. The whole world is obviously going to hell in a hand shandy basket and at least i got it off my chest before it was all too late.
Here’s hoping someone finds your burger lickable this weekend Logophiles 🙂