Thursday, November 29, 2007

Farrah Fawcett = Sexy ad diva

Many young people are surprised that sex in advertising has been around the block once or twice. Reflecting the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s, advertising followed suit with commercials on network television that would make today’s audiences blush. Thanks to YouTube, some of advertising’s hidden gems are once again available for viewing.

Surfing YouTube, I was surprised to discover that Farrah Fawcett was a sex-in-advertising icon in the 1970s. Famous from her role in the 1977 hit television series “Charlie’s Angels,” Fawcett's debut role was not as an angel. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she appeared in several commercials which are now vintage sex in advertising.

Examples of such spots include Noxema, Ultra Brite, and Mercury—all available for YouTube viewing. Two ads for Noxema are excellent examples of sexual double entendre and innuendo. In one spot, Fawcett sings the jingle, “Great balls of com… fort.” Another features Joe Nameth playfully lamenting, “I’m going to get creamed,” as Fawcett lathers his face with Noxema shaving cream. "You've got a great pair of hands."

Spots for Lincoln-Mercury and Ultra Brita utilize Fawcett’s physical attractiveness. Mercury takes it a step further, however, in its subtle comparison between Fawcett and a cougar.

Thanks to YouTube and other video sites, ads featuring Fawcett and other sex symbols can be viewed and remembered by all.

--Posted by Michelle Weidner

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Does he come with the gown?

Women perusing the Impression catalog may ask themselves that very question. One of our recent grads discovered the images as she explored the designer brand’s website. The male model is unclothed in several shots. The images caught her attention because you rarely see male nudity in ads for wedding gowns. And in fashion ads with nudity, the roles are always reversed. Unless women are offended, the approach offers Impression a unique edge from a branding perspective. They tout that their designs are sexy and romantic. What a perfect way to reinforce that point than with a bit of beefcake.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bait and Switch?

"Bait and switch" is the manipulative ad tactic of luring customers with unstocked merchadised so they can be up-sold more expensive options. In a recent post, Chris Boulton, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, likened Porn Nation's promotional tactics to the good ol' "bait & switch" routine.

Porn Nation is an organization marketing campus speaking tours about pornography. One event is billed "The Great Porn Debate" featuring former porn star Ron Jeremy. Boulton accuses Evangelicals of enticing students to these events with alluring posters. Check out Boulton's post to judge for yourself.

Bringing sexy back

Sensual backs and bellies in ads may surprise some students and youths in the Athens area. Posted in the bathrooms of local restaurants and bars, these ads aren’t selling products, but are generating awareness for pro-social causes.

Safe Campuses Now, an Athens-based, non-profit organization that advocates crime awareness, prevention, and education for high school and college students, is utilizing the fact that sex in advertising doesn’t have to be limited to brands and products. To generate awareness about rape and sexual abuse, the organization’s most recent poster shows a portion of a young woman’s bare back with a tattoo visible just above the top of her jeans. The copy reads: “Just because you think she looks like she wants it doesn’t mean she wants it from you.” It goes on to make the point that you must listen to her and behave accordingly if she says “No.”

Another version of the same message exists, this time with a women’s exposed stomach and hip. It’s my guess that these ads really hit home with viewers. The sexy images draw in the target audience and delivers an important message.

Along with rape and sexual abuse, Safe Campuses Now deals with issues such as DUI prevention, alcohol and drug abuse, pedestrian safety, exercise safety, and tailgate safety. The campaigns are developed by volunteers, with the help of partner firm Snowden Tatarski, an Athens-based ad agency.

The PSA by Safe Campuses Now exemplifies how sex in advertising can be used to effectively reach audiences with important social messages.

--posted by Michelle Weidner