General Article Sex in advertising: does it still sell?

Topic Selected: Sexualising Society Book Volume: 386
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Is sex in advertising still an effective strategy? Or have we lost our mojo?

Sex sells” – a phrase we all know too well. A statement of fact and passive acceptance. A concept that infiltrated the advertising industry nearly 134 years ago and has since been considered the norm.

Until now…

What exactly is sex in advertising?

I’m glad you asked…

Sex in advertising is the use of erotic or sexually provocative imagery, subliminal messages, or sounds designed to rouse consumer interest in a brand, product, or service.

If I tasked you to think of an ad that portrays a lovely lady or handsome fellow, my guess is it wouldn’t take you long. Because despite sometimes tenuous links to the product or brand, sexualised marketing has been and is a proven method of luring in consumers.

But why?

History of sexualised advertisements

It goes back to basic, primal instincts. Alongside food, water, sleep, and general survival, sex (or the urge to procreate) lies amongst our interests of self-preservatio...

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