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Sex sells or does it? The changing rules of sex in advertising
As attitudes to sex and gender continue to evolve rapidly, driving the nature of the overarching narrative in very different directions, the old adage may not be as clear-cut as it once was. At the time, the sensual nature of the campaign caused a stir. Today, it is regarded as one of the earliest examples of an ad that followed that old marketing adage: sex sells. This was more than a cheap sales tactic, however. Beneath the surface, something more revolutionary was going on. The use of sex in advertising has changed with the times, ranging from the base to the enlightened — it has served to titillate, reinforce stereotypes or challenge conventions. The advertising of that era became more provocative, too, typified by racier images of women in silk stockings or low-cut dresses.
SEX IN ADVERTISING: Its Relevance, Use, and Effects
The use of sex and sexy illustrations in advertising is a subject that has been shunned by writers in fields such as communications, psychology, behavioural sciences, and even in the specific areas of consumer behaviour, marketing, and advertising. Although the current literature on consumer behaviour and advertising considers sex in the Freudian or Maslow sense, its use in advertising has not been explicitly elucidated. This is somewhat surprising when one considers that Freud maintained that sex or libido is the most important of all instincts and that apparent motives for an act often can be found in the sexual drive exerting itself in an unconscious and devious fashion. Kassem, S.
Sex in advertising is the use of sex appeal in advertising to help sell a particular product or service. According to research, sexually appealing imagery used for marketing does not need to pertain to the product or service in question. A few examples of sexually appealing imagery include nudity , pin-up models , and muscular men.