31 October 2014
Let’s Talk About Sex Sex. A subject usually reserved for behind closed doors that has made its way into our homes and the minds of customers everywhere through suggestive advertisements. Sexual connotations in advertising help companies to sell their products by appealing to a customer’s subconscious and making the customers want the product unknowingly because they think it will bring them sex. Advertising in itself is everywhere: in magazines, on your TV, in the newspaper, on the back of your receipt, on the side of the highway, in your social media feed, everywhere. Advertising has been around since the 1800s and is as alive as ever today, but has also evolved in a big way from then to now. Advertising has gone from strictly print ads, to over the radio, to digital, to handheld. (Suggett) The effects of advertising can range from something one will never remember to something that’s stuck in your head for days, like a catchy jingle or a powerful image. In the very-impressionable mind of a child, advertisements can have large effects, compared to an adult whose mind is occupied with work and home and paying bills, so companies will advertise in ways that they know will get people’s attention and spark a flame. Companies will advertise their product in every way possible in order to get what they’re selling onto a customer’s mind and into their hands; whether it’s a billboard, their product in the background of a movie, an ad in the local newspaper, a commercial during the Super Bowl, or their logo on the back of a t-shirt. Not only will companies advertise in any way possible, but they’ll also do anything with an advertisement to make their product as desirable as possible.
Advertisements are almost unescapable and the majority of the time, the customer doesn’t even realize they’re being advertised to because advertisements are so frequently in our line of vision that we don’t even process it, but our subconscious does. “U.S. culture is awash in sexually explicit content…We live in what appears to be a sex-obsessed society, with rude language, nudity, and eroticism all around us. What was once the unexpected (in terms of acceptable content or language) has become the expected, and the expected has now become the norm.” (Pinto) Sexual connotations in advertising today are almost to the point where it’s not even shocking anymore, but this doesn’t mean that this ploy on marketing doesn’t continue work on its victims—customers. Sex sells, it’s a fact; whether the customer wants to admit that she bought those Calvin Klein underwear for her husband because of the chiseled model, with his boxers hanging dangerously low, on the package or not. Sexual innuendos in advertising work because the customer feels that if they buy the product, it will bring them what is being so scantily advertised: sex. These sexual innuendos aren’t very general either; the advertisers manipulate their market by appealing to many different sexual wants. These appeals include, but are not limited to: homosexuals, heterosexuals, men, women, teens, fetishes, fantasies, etc. (see Figure 1-4). Depending upon the product, the advertisement can sexually appeal to many different groups. An underwear ad such as Figure 2, could appeal to a wife for her husband because she likes the way the man on the package looks, it could appeal to a gay man because he thinks the man on the package is attractive and wants to be attractive like that, or it could also appeal to a heterosexual man who wants his wife to think he looks like that. (Reichert)
Sexual advertisements are often seen as controversial or inappropriate, and many adults may argue that it will poison their children’s minds, but there is no doubt that it will affect the viewer in some way, whether it is positive or negative. An advertisement, whether the customer knows it or not, will affect that individual in some way, advertisements are designed to play with the viewer’s