Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sex in advertising: Jenna Jameson, lip gloss, and chili beans

Jenna Jameson, lip gloss, and... chili beans? Several posts this week reveal the lurid—and sadly humorous—side of advertising.

Breaking March 10, (former?) porn star Jenna Jameson will be modeling a “pleather” bikini in a PETA campaign. Also breaking this week, Hanes is debuting its “wedgie free” panty campaign on Tuesday’s American Idol. Speaking of underwear, a few voyeuristic shots are intentionally shown in animated promos recently produced for FX’s Dirt starring Courtney Cox.

In the viral video department, VH1 Charm School’s Sapphyri stars in an video promoting her line of lip gloss. I’m still trying to figure out the thinking behind her video: It’s clearly designed to appeal to men but women must buy the stuff.

Last, in a twist on sex and food, a video for features a couple smearing each other with Roquefort, vegemite, and canned chili beans. The tagline: “What you do with your groceries… Your business. Saving money on your groceries… Our business.”

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

There is no sex in TV advertising

How much sex is there in commercials aired on network television? Not much according to a recent article published in 2007 by Amir Hetsroni in the journal Sex Roles.

Hetsroni conducted a content analysis of prime-time commercials aired on the major broadcast networks in both the US and Israel. He analyzed approximately 1,700 commercials from each country. He reported that sexual conduct existed in a mere 1.2% of US commercials, compared to 3.4% in Israeli commercials. As can be expected, complete nudity was practically nonexistent in both countries. When it comes to sexual acts, Hetsroni reported that both men and women initiated sex about the same amount.

One notable difference between ads in the US and Israel is that 60% of American ads portrayed sexual acts in the context of an established relationship. On the other hand, only 8% of the Israeli ads did the same. Does this mean that Israelis are more comfortable with sexual behavior when portrayed outside of a relationship? Perhaps, but a careful analysis of the types of products (male- vs. female-oriented) may have played a role as well.

Overall, it was surprising to see such a small level of sexual content in prime-time advertising. Almost all published studies report that sex is present in about 10% (+/-) of prime-time network commericals.

--Posted by Jackie Ayrault