Big-buck advertising relies heavily on sex to sell products

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Big-buck advertising relies heavily on sex to sell products

KIA commercial

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It’s a scene with NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and fitness expert Jillian Michaels  painting the GoDaddy logo on a canvas. The only thing is, the canvas is a nude model.

GoDaddy, an online company that provides domain names, was just one of many companies who spent millions of dollars in advertising for the Super Bowl. With millions of viewers, most of them being male, the competition of standing out from the other companies becomes fierce.

The solution?

Sex.

This isn’t some secret Manhattan project, where only a few individuals are privileged to such information.
Companies like Kia Motors and Teleflora used Super Bowl ads to exploit biological and psychological traits of men, hoping the urges attributed to supermodel Adrianna Lima will be transferred to their products.

But does sex in advertising really sell?

In a recent interview with USA Today, Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy, said he’s earned an additional $1 billion in business by using attractive women in his Super Bowl ads.
Calvin Klein has used sex throughout its existence to market its brand of designer clothes and fragrances, earning $6.7 billion in 2010, according to its website.
These examples illustrate the success of sex in advertising, but what does it say about men and women in society? Are women degraded or empowered?
On one hand, women are degraded when they are portrayed as sex objects in advertising. When men pay for a product, they also pay for the experience that comes along with the product, in this case, some beautiful abstract woman. The woman, as a person, is irrelevant. Her sense of worth as it pertains to the advertisement is her face or body. She has no voice or opinion. Her individuality has been stripped.

She is simply an alluring medium, uttering words that aren’t really hers, performing gestures conceived by someone else. And if she refuses to succumb to these conditions, she becomes disposable, as another woman will come along, put on the makeup and drop the clothes in front of a rolling camera.

Even in this degrading system, the woman, whether she realizes it or not, does possess power over men. The sound of her voice. Her beautiful, symmetrical face. Her smooth skin. Her glimmering eyes that can be playful one minute and dangerous the next. Curves all around. And let’s not forget that peek-a-boo cleavage.

She’s grabbed his attention, making the experience unforgettable. She’s exploited his weakness, taking him back to his primitive, animalistic state, regardless of his social status. And if the ad is really successful, he’ll blow loads of money on an empty promise and a product he might not even need.

Yes, she holds the key, and the advertiser stands behind her telling her how to unlock the door and unleash the ravenous, repressed creature.

But men don’t mind. They’ll still kick back in their chair and turn on the TV, knowing they’ll get more than just a football game.

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