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The Use of Sex Appeal in Advertising

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   As a 90s baby I have grown up in a world full of diverse, creative advertisements. However, recently, I have found myself having to ask what each commercial, magazine spread, or billboard is really trying to sell. Advertisements targeting males with disposable income have slowly shifted from selling products to selling the idea of sex. This, in turn, has raised some controversies over the real objectives behind these ads.


            Sexual positions are of central focus in how the majority of these ads are portrayed, consequently setting a new standard for marketers. Dolce & Gabbana’s recently published ad selling their line of fragrances features three men and three women, all of who are naked. Whereas these sexual positions prompt many men to view the ad with an increased level of interest, deviates from the norms surrounding sexuality. The men, while showing off their bodies, stand independent of one another while the women are touching either themselves or each other. From what is observable, the manner in which the nude men and women pose does not only instantly catches the eye, but it proceeds to suggest that by using the firms’ fragrance, one is bound to attract attention from women. Secondly, Levi’s redefines the art of promoting its men jeans by giving the ideas that promote oral sex, stating that women get “front row action” and that their designer jeans are “for her eyes.” This blatant use of sexual connotation is geared toward younger, white males and left little room for misinterpretation. For instance, individuals familiar with oral sex will most likely go for such an outfit simply because of the ideology in the message. However, it appears some large companies still advertise their products only through means of creative connotations; the mainstream ad will contain some level of sexual implication.

             In the majority of these ads, the models’ face is rarely shown. Abercrombie and Fitch show two young women gently touching a fit, shirtless man and enjoying every moment of it. Being an experience that most young men would love to have, the man’s face is concealed by the arms of the women. Overall, the sole purpose of this tactic is to allow the male audience to more easily place themselves in the shoes of the model and thus by identifying themselves with the products they are likely to purchase it. . Another such example is shown in one of the many Axe advertisements, which attempt to demonstrate what they call “The Axe Effect.” By writing “show me on the doll where the sorority girls touched you,” the company indicates that the viewer of the ad is the doll whom represents a man that had been “touched” by several young women. This easy fabrication of reality inclines many young men to buy a product based on the presumption that it would attract young, sexy women.

            In addition, most of these ads, apart from going beyond the moral barriers, they fail to provide a direct link between what they show on their images and what they are promoting. This, for instance is justifiable when one looks at a young man posing as a woman squats as she gazes at the man’s waist. On the image it is written “Front row action” and “ For her eyes” Another ideal example to show how sex sells products is the advert by Dolce and Gabbanas depicting men and women touching and making suggestive contacts fails to create a clear relation between the lotion and what the images.

            Furthermore, women are known to make the most appearance in most of the ads than men do. Taking a close look and thinking outside the box, the image of a dish set in a particular manner is suggestive. One clearly understands that by placing such an image, men would want to associate with such food and in the process; his free will of decision is tilted by lust. In my opinion, these ads create the impression that nudity is the best way to get the attention of most men and women. This gives us the idea that most individuals are immoral in nature.

            The idea that men have relatively minimal criteria for what they desire sexually is of significant importance when it comes to most marketers deciding how their adverts meant to catch men’s attention will look like. Men are said to be interested in a woman’s outward appearance, thus if a woman is portrayed as being young, attractive and healthy, they are considered desirable. This idea suggests that, to some extent, the male gender has a narrow view as far as beauty and sexuality is concerned. Therefore by designing an ad with a woman holding out a doll and with inscription like, “show me on the doll where the sorority girls touched you,” we get the idea that there can never be any other part in a man’s body to bring sexual desires as is suggested by the writings.

            On the other hand, it is widely believed that most women want more than appearance and looks, thus the use of sexually appealing ads on women may not yield a similar result as it does in their male counterparts. This is primarily what drives most men to spend a vast sum of their disposable income on such products. This may explain why most of the images subject to our analysis can be said to be aimed at men. Even though a mere look at a well built man on an ad, either in a billboard or on a magazine is bound to elicit some kind of sexual reaction instinctively but they are less likely to get the urge to engage in sexual activities.

            The society views women as objects of desire and they form a vital part of advertising world. In a social context, it suffices to say that women on the other hand are aware of men’s weaknesses as far as how they affect them with their physical appearance. Furthermore, it may sound funny to conclude that the producer’s main objective of using an image shown by image showing a meal on a plate was to suggest to its potential consumers that just like a woman would be, the meal is equally satisfying. Such images may be considered gross but different people have different interpretations.


            In the US, for example, most of the sex appealing ads have women as the captivating objects and intrinsically portray them as objects of desires. On the contrary, although a man’s healthy body may be used; it is often portraying romance and not really depicts the idea of sex. This shows that for ads aimed at catching men’s attention, sex is of primary focus, as it has no many obligations as commitment and difficulties. Therefore, the idea of using women as a catch for men gives a clear idea of exactly how women are regarded in the society. Advertisements although by using women more often than not, have an influence on society that ultimately objectifies women. Considering the fact that whereas for a man all it takes is a beautiful picture of a woman on a magazine, women desire more than appearance, it means that women serve the purpose of satisfying men’s undying sexual desires.

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