Sex in Advertising

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  • Topic: Advertising, Sex in advertising, Human sexuality
  • Pages : 5 (1759 words )
  • Download(s) : 276
  • Published : March 3, 2007
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Sex in Advertising: Beneficial or Controversial?
Watch any amount of television throughout the day and at some point a sexually charged commercial advertisement will be aired. The commercial could show to barely dressed, large breasted, beautiful women fighting in a public location about whether or not the beer is "great tasting or less filling". Another commercial will hint that using their body spray will lead to attracting not only one women but an entire room full of women. Not to worry, the advertising agencies have not forgotten about giving the ladies some commercial eye candy as well. Remember the commercial about the office full of women employees drinking there diet soda while staring out the window at the shirtless, muscular, and perfectly tanned body of the guy working construction across the street? More often than not, the use of sex appeal in advertising is a beneficial way to sell a product. Regardless of the fact that none of the products in these commercials are sexual in nature, they were attention-getting and will likely be remembered because of the sexually appealing approach used to market them. The use of sex in advertising is nothing new, it has only evolved into what society viewing or reading today. "What was once regarded as a kind of sexual expression we now view as sexuality" (Bigge, 2006, p.56). In the mid-1850s tobacco companies pasted images of nude women on the sides of crates to distinguish between different brands. In the 1930s and 1940s pinup girls where used for printed advertisements, back then considered risqué or seductive, now they are widely considered an art form. Bigge refers back to the nineteenth century when a flash of an ankle was considered suggestive. A 1950s ad from Clairol stated "Does she…or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure." In the 1960s Noxzema shaving cream ads asked men to "Take it off. Take it all off." The late 1970s and early 1980s made way for the clothing company Calvin Klein with their catchy advertisement of a young Brooks Sheild stating "Nothing comes between me and my Calvin's" (Bigge, 2006) or Calvin Klein's more recent advertisements, depicting models wearing jeans or underwear and nothing else stating "We stand for sex in a very big way." Do not forget last year's Carl's Jr commercial for their new hamburger, which showed Paris Hilton in a swimsuit, washing a car, and eating a spicy hot hamburger. The only thing that all these commercials have in common is, they were designed to capture the consumer's attention. Gaining attention is what every company wants from the advertising campaigns. Harrison (2001) identifies that "sex sells" because it attracts attention and the use of sexual appeal, and sexual imagery plays an important role in advertising and the pursuit of consumer attention. What is categorized as sex in advertising? What does someone possibly consider attention getting? In regard to sex in advertising, society has a variety of opinions of what sexual content is. Some may consider the promotion of feminine products to be sexual in nature. Others think sexual images are all that is involved in sexual advertising. For some people certain parts of the exposed body pave the way for sexual advertising. Others consider the buxom bikini-clad young women and the shirtless well-defined handsome men endorsing products to be perfect examples of sex in advertising. Reichert & Lambiase stat that "sexual appeals are persuasive appeals that contain sexual information integrated within the overall message" (2003, p. 13) and sexual information is defined as: "any representation that portrays or implies sexual interest, behavior, or motivation is often integrated within the advertisement as images, verbal elements or both. For example, ads can contain images of attractive people clothed in revealing or tight-fighting clothing, or contain verbal elements such as double-entendres and...
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