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Lets Talk About Sex

June 15, 2009

I have been informed by the higher authorities that my previous post where I pointed out the flaws in the modern day, multimillion dollar, marketing research industry wasn’t entertaining enough for the common blog reader. So with this being said I have decided to take this weeks post in a different direction. You want entertainment, so lets talk about SEX.

 We all know that sex in advertisements is nothing new, but I think we have to admit that degree and frequency is which sex has been used to market to Gen Y is something that is unique.  I remember a few years ago I saw a commercial that was just blatantly using sex and it wasn’t until the last 3 seconds of the commercial that you finally realize that it was for a new cell phone. Or how about the infamous Paris Hilton washing a car with her breasts for Carl’s Jr. Last time I check eating a hamburger that got all over the place wasn’t sexy. So what has happened here? Why all of a sudden are we seeing companies use sex to market products that really have absolutely nothing to do with sex. And more importantly is it working and Y?

The first corporate to look at when trying to answer these questions must be the over all media. We definitely have seen a shift in the last 15 years or so of allowing much more sexually explicit content on normal network television.  This shift has in turn opened the door to more sexually explicit commercials. It seems that sex has woven its way into mainstream pop culture.  But what does this mean for marketers?

Does this mean that the key to selling a product is just to associate it to sex? I think not. If you are going to successfully use sex to advertise a product, it has to follow a certain equation.  Sex+Product ¹ $.  Lets try this again: Sex+Product+X(something else)=$ So what is X? X is the emotional link created between the product and the image or action of sex that is taking place in the ad. A good example of this can be seen in the campaigns that Axe body products have created. Their whole campaign has been build around using sex to sell its products, and has worked extremely well toward Gen Y. Axe entered into a market that was dominated by Old Spice and have overwhelming capture majority market share in just a few years. Watch the commercial below to see how to correctly use sex to sell a product.

This commercial is the image on thousands of beautiful women all running and competing to get to someone/someplace and uses sex to intrigue and keep the attention of the view. Then at the end you find out that they are all rushing toward and normal typical guy because he is using Axe Body Spray. Axe has positioned its self to be the hero of the commercial since it’s because of Axe that this guy is attracting all they beautiful women.  This commercial has a very powerful and lasting effect on the view and it’s easy to see why Axe has taken so much market share in the industry.


Blake Gantney
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Owner/CEO of Kamoria (
Director of Marketing, Fitness Quest 10 (

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