Does sex sell?
And, advertising executives the world over will tell us that "sex does sell". They have a long history of showcasing scantily clad men and women in advertising with great success.
But, does it still work?
With 100 million viewers, the Superbowl is the prime target to for sexy television commercials. And, they have gotten sexier. Their aim is to drive viewers into car dealerships, pubs and retail outlets. The commercials aim to drive online commentary and participation through social networks like twitter and facebook so they can talk about the car, beer or smartphone that has been advertised during the game.
An Iowa State University study fround that viewers of programs with sexually explicit or violent conent were less likely to remember the commercials immediately after watching or even 24 hours later.
The reality is that people look for fantasy because reality isn't always what its cracked up to be. Have a look at the success of Victoria's Secret. My 12 and 16 year old nieces favourite fashion label is Victoria Secret. "Please, please buy me stuff from Victoria Secret," they always say when I am travelling to the US. At first, I said "no way!" It's for adults! Until I actually visited a store and realised that they do in fact sell for everyone and I mean everyone. Kids are also very provocative today - a little different to when I was a child I can assure you.
I was sitting in Atlanta watching the Victoria Secret's Annual Parade with a male friend a few months ago, and while he oggled (and rightfully so), I sat there wishing my body looked half as good as the women parading theirs down the runway. It's true, I wanted to be like them. Believing that if I wore a Victoria Secret outfit, I too could look good - is something that I considered right there and then.
Sexy has also worked for Doritos, Pepsi and Calvin Klein over the years very well. Who would ever forget the then 15 year old Brooke Shields saying "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing."
A client the other week had some costumes designed for a sporting event. They were very provocative. Incredibly so. We suggested a downplay of the 'sexiness', but they were men and they thought it was good. Now whether this works in their favour or not, no one will ever know because its a grey area. They were not directly selling anything, but were trying to gain a wider brand awareness.
Advertisers will always try to associate sexy imagery with products and services hoping that some of the 'sexiness' will attach their clients brands in the consumers subconscious. Afterall, a seductive smile is there in advertising to urge us to buy.