The Evolution of Sex Imagery in French Advertising

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The evolution of sex imagery in French advertising

Table of contents

I. “Chic Porn”: The marketing trend7
Sex imagery is essentially used by luxury brands7
Chic Porn is raised in a socio-cultural context8
A strategy which draws the attention10
II. A particular marketing method12
2.1. A will of renovation of the brand image12
A. What is a brand image?12
B. How brands use Chic Porn to renovate their brand image?13 2.2. Cause the desire to cause the purchase13
A. The motivations.13
B. The needs14
C. The attitudes.15
D. The target15
2.3. A real effectiveness15
III. A criticized marketing approach18
3.1.A depreciation of the image of the woman and the men18 A. The image of the woman.18
B. The “man object”.19
C. The relation between sexuality and bestiality.21
E. The taboos and limits.21
3.2. The case of OPIUM25
A. Reaction on Opium advertisement in France.26
B. Rejection of Opium’s advertising abroad:27
3.3. The vulgarizing of the Chic Porn27


The term “Chic Porn” is sometimes seen differently by the customers. In the one hand, it reveals something that the customer rejects and in the other hand something exciting. It is very interesting to analyze the use of sex imagery in advertising and its evolution. The sex images in advertising were supposed to surprise, to shock and to draw the attention of the customers, and that is what they have done. The prospects who didn’t accept these adverts were sometimes not the main target of these brands. The “Porno Chic” is essentially used by luxury brands with the association of “smart” with the sensuality of the body. The examples chosen are about sexuality, sensuality, desire, aggression… those subjects that incite people to look even more.

The first objective of this report will be to cover and understand what the strategy called “Chic Porn” is through descriptions, illustrations and analysis. It is also important to define the aims of this marketing strategy used even more these last years in the French advertising. Another objective aims at considering how the luxury brands use the sex images in their advertising campaigns and what the key factors of the success of “Chic Porn” are. Finally the last objective of this report is to realize what the future for the advertising environment is.


Firstly, I would like to say that the topic of my dissertation was a bit hard to explain to the teacher at the beginning. I didn’t know which words to use, not to shock them and to explain exactly what I wanted to focus on. The first teacher thought that I wanted to work about the pornography, in adult websites for example. I kept this topic since I find it very interesting to analyze. As I really like advertising, I find very enriching to analyze different advertising campaigns focused on “Chic Porn”. I had some problems in the beginning of my research. I couldn’t find any books about my subject in the library or information on the Internet. I decided to persevere and began my own analysis of some adverts. Later on, I tried to use other marketing terms and I found more information then.

What was more and more exciting for me during my work is that I was always finding new examples, new adverts concerning my topic. I also used many examples to underline some theories and try to explain what “Chic Porn” is. Introduction

“Chic Porn” has been defined as a creative strategy which aims at drawing the attention of the consumers by the provocation, trough sexual images. Initially not very used in advertising, this phenomenon became an integral part of any advertising policy. The Chic Porn is used even more in the French advertising which this report will focus on. The French society didn’t seem to be enough open to accept this type of advertising, but there was a surprising opposite effect. Indeed, everything has changed and the French...
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