Sex in advertising has stirred controversy around the globe for years. In a very competitive market, consumers are constantly surrounded by advertisements that desperately compete for attention so the guys at the creative department try to get a “creative” (or rather, perverted) idea out the door and hope that the client is dumb enough to get sold on it. Apparently, there are a number out there.
I compiled a couple of ads that most would deem particularly perverted, insulting, scandalous, or just plain disturbing.
Sexy Vegetables by PETA
We all know that PETA advocates vegetarianism.. they certainly took it to the extreme on this one. When the network pulled out the ad, PETA said the network had something against veggies. Hmm.. riiiiight.
Xbox in Asia
Well if you want to sell to testosterone-filled boys, just put out the boobs and they’ll come running.
Burger King will blow you away
Okay, Burger King definitely does not have any kind of perverted message here. You’re not seeing a love doll getting ready to take all that long, yummy 7-inch in her mouth. It’s just an ad for a burger you little perv!
Hot Ice Cream
Italians are always hot in my book but this Ad has stooped so low I can’t see the ‘creativity’ in it. Even if you’re no catholic-school-girl you’ll be scandalized.
Beer and Sex
They always go together it seems, especially in American or European markets. Just search for Guinness or Budweiser ads and you’ll see loads of ads with sexual innuendo. Usually they try to inject humor but I didn’t see the humor on this one.
This is how you sell video games in Japan
A very creative viral marketing campaign for Ninja Gaiden 2 in Japan ended up with fake boobs plastered on a wall. I suppose the marketing message appears when the passerby caresses the boobs… take a look, its just plain disturbing.
and of course, who can forget this scandalous billboard?
Sure, there are no scantily-clad women or men in briefs but the copy: Nakatikim ka na ba ng kinse anyos? (Have you tasted a fifteen year old?) evokes such perverted thoughts that it caused a huge scandal in the country a couple of years back.
So, does sex in advertising really sell? Maybe, but the question really is: Is it effective? To a certain extent, maybe yes – in getting attention that is. In a market that constantly evolves I believe that sex no longer works in actually “Selling” the brand. In fact, most of the time they bring unwanted controversies and scandals – and at the end of the day your million-dollar ad gets torn up by critics and brought down by networks in a split second.
Sex sells – but do we want it to? In the Philippines at least there are less controversial ads and I hope that agencies continue to realize that consumers appreciate and respond more to ads that are done “in good taste”. Sure, sometimes they’re funny, but sometimes they can be downright disturbing. As marketers we must think not only in getting customers’ attention for the short term, but also in building a brand reputation that will yield long-term results. Let’s stop the perversion and get back into the drawing board shall we? I hate to think that consumer insight folks now report that all we have in our minds is sex.