Sex in advertising goes porn. Acceptable?


In the eternal jostle to stand out as well as to appeal to the base urges of consumers (well, male consumers, anyway), advertisers have turned to sex since well before the days of Mad Men.

The result in the early days was usually rampant sexism, but looking back in time, even the worst examples back then a certain charm.

In today’s hyper-real world, there’s no longer any place for suggestiveness, tasteful or otherwise. It’s balls-out or go home. It’s go for whatever rings bells no matter what.

I guess porn is well and truly out there (why are we so coy as to still not measure and publish internet porn usage data, could it be because if would force advertisers to acknowledge that they’re missing one of the biggest audiences out there by any chance?), but are marketers taking an acceptable position by utilising the imagery and techniques (and even the stars) of the porn industry? Should marketing be working at higher levels? What does associating a product with a porn do to the long term sales prospects of that product? Can a positioning like that ever be backed away from? Erm…what are women thinking about this? (Yes, some raunchy stuff is aimed at women, but very little).

I think we’re going to see advertising continue to become more extreme, more violent and more pornographic. Who cares what the moral majority think, advertisers will do anything that works, and porn and violence as the internet and gaming show, are big drawcards. Rock n roll was always about offending older generations, but now that it’s been sanitise by marketing, ironically perhaps it’s advertising’s turn to rebel. Brace yourselves, folks….things are gonna get steamy round here.

Let’s start with American Apparel, famous for it’s pornvertising. Its ad for socks featurning none other than Lauren Phoenix,  wholesome star of such family-friendly video delights as “Anal Delinquents,” “Angels of Debauchery,” “Assploitation 2” and “Assploitation 4” and “Full Throttle Anal” (among many, many others). The main image is quite coy and the girl unarguably adorable…but the subtext lends it plenty of edge:

American Apparel uses a real porn star to sell socks.

coyness in the modern idiom

Turning you vegetarian…by turning you on (this was banned from superbowl)

Tom Ford's version of the classic grope

body builders product taps into the fanatsy vein

more from American Apparel

suits for gentlemen

I hope the leather seats are easy-wipe

How much have things changed…quite a bit

straight down the alley...and what an alley

and fnally, one for the ladies (or i it?….)

PS a fabulous article about art and porn can be found here..thoroughly recommended

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One Response to “Sex in advertising goes porn. Acceptable?”

  1. […] Now I’m fine with racy shoots, so long as we’re all being adult and respectful, right? (I blogged about the pornification of advertising here). […]

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