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Sunday
May192013

Does Sex (still) Sell

Sex sells seems to be the  fallback position for many advertisers, and for good reason nothing seems to garner more attention than a raunchy and controversial ad. However we must ask ourselves  are

we after attention or are we trying to sell a product or message? The two are not always aligned. 

When considering this tactic I like to ask the following 4 questions -

1) Does it breach the Code of Ethics for advertisers

2) Is it aligned with community standards

3) Does it have any relevance  to the brand

4) Is the placement of the ad discriminative - ie if on TV at hours outside of children’s viewing times, not on a billboard which can be filtered.

Research by the  Annual Review of Sex Research Journal (2002) said that while sexual imagery had a high recall value that often the message was lost in the process. Meaning the ad has high recall value but nobody knows what it was selling.

This different in the case where the brand has relevance to this type of tactic. In the case of the Beyonce ad  below than you would argue that swimwear has direct relevance - in fact it would be kind of to think of swimwear being sold with a Mrs Doubtfire type ambassador. 

In New York recently there has  been a little battle bewteen community members with someone taping a piece of paper of Beyonce's lower body with another removing it, this keeps repeating daily (image above on the left).
So the question is not whether sex sells, history has proven that. But does it sell your product - 2 words - When Relevant.
Ths clip below is segment we ran on this topic on Channel 7's The Morning Show
In this segment (above) we show the Mercedes ad with Kate Upton, I question the relevance here when selling a luxury car. The information below was sourced from levelwing
1. Women buy more than half of the new cars in the U.S. and influence up to 80% of all car purchases
2. Women request 65% of the service work done at dealerships
3. Women spend over $200 billion on new cars and mechanical servicing of vehicles each year
4. Forty-five percent of all light trucks and SUVs are purchased by women
Further market research suggests that women influence the buying decision of a luxury  car in 68% of purhcases. Is your marketing attracting or alienating the hugely influential group?