Saturday, December 30, 2006

ESPN and the sexy Acqua di Gio commercial

My wife and I were watching ESPN the other night when a very sexy 30-second commercial aired for Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Gio. Filmed in partial septia-tones, the spot features a shirtless muscular male looking straight into the camera. Seawater and perspiration are dripping down his torso.

“Why is that ad running on ESPN?” my wife asked. “Good question,” I thought to myself. The spot is very uncharacteristic of anything you’ll see on ESPN. Any sex in advertising on this network is likely to feature playful Coors Light parties with bikini-babes making snowballs and hot-tubbing.

After a debate that bounced from speculation about the number of gay athletes who watch sports to comparisons to Cosmopolitan covers, I finally convinced her that the ad was “aspirational,” like the many sexy ads for perfume, fashion and fragrance featuring women in Cosmo and Glamour. My wife definitely found the ad appealing, the same way that many men adore the pictures in Victoria’s Secret catalogs. The message in the spot is along the lines of “if you want to look like this guy, feel like this guy, or elicit a reaction from your wife like this guy…get yourself some Gio.”

I didn’t find any Armani under the tree this year. Oh wait, the ad wasn't targeted to her, it was targeted to me.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Victoria’s Secret fashion show experiences lowest ratings to date

Only 6.8 million tuned in to watch the fifth annual VS fashion show on CBS this year. That is down from 9 million last year and 12.4 million in 2001. Washington Post writer Lisa de Moraes blamed the anemic showing on too much chatter from the models themselves: "If you can't get 18-to-34-year-old guys to watch an hour of gorgeous young women prancing about in virtually nothing except the occasional million-dollar diamond demi-bra or tartan plaid push-up (yes, there was a 'Brigadoon' number), you are doing something seriously wrong."

De Moraes noted that the fashion show had fewer viewers than a rerun of “Law & Order: SUV.” Perhaps viewers just wanted to watch the show at their leisure since it is available in its entirety on the CBS website. Up for some late-night viewing anyone?

Victoria’s Secret has truly been a promotional pioneer in the intimates and lingerie categories. Since being bought by The Limited, VS has rocketed from three boutiques in San Francisco’s bay area to a top-seller of women’s intimatewear. VS has been successful with its sex-laced promotions such as its infamous catalog, sexy commercials, and multimedia (and prime-time) fashion shows.

Don't just focus on the bad news. At least there was no wardrobe “malfunction.” Justin Timberlake was this year’s fashion-show performer.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

D&G’s new sexy watch commercial

Just in time for the holidays, Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian design house, is running a new commercial in the US for its watch collection. Known for its sexually provocative print ads, D&G’s watch spot doesn’t disappoint. According to one viewer, the commercial is “basically a montage of camera angles and situations that get more and more sexualized.” With a Euro club-scene feel, the ad features shirtless muscular men running their hands over similarly exposed women. With lots of hot glitz and pseudo-glamour, D&G is branding itself as sexually provocative. Some products, especially fashion and accessories, are successfully sold this way. Not all, but some consumers, especially those who are young, want to cover themselves in brands that transmit a similar meaning.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sex Text(ing)

Welcome to the world of sex-text promotion. I suppose 900 numbers are still around but judging from sexy advertising like this one in the back of FHM magazine, “live text” is the wave of the future.

There are 14 text ads in the Jan/Feb 2007 FHM issue. The ads range from 1/9th page to full-page and each uses the same basic formula: Enticing images of women, a headline encourageing readers to flirt, talk, or connect (“Local party girls want to hook up now”), the message and number, and the fine print ($1.99 per text received, billed to your service provider).

Research indicates that sex works best for low-dollar, low-risk products and services. After ogling the pages of FHM, what could be easier that to text “playful” women for less than a Venti at Starbucks? And they don’t even need your credit card number.

To see more ads like this one, visit