Friday, September 26, 2008

Vintage sex-and-cigar ad

Here’s a vintage ad that borders on believability. This Muriel cigar ad is intriguing for several reasons, some of which I’ll let you decode. But essentially Muriel is arguing that smoke from its flavored cigars (blueberry, burgundy, grape, cherry, etc.) has the power to subdue attractive women—just exhale in their face.

White Owl Cigars
I’m reminded of an infamous 1930s campaign for White Owl cigars. Company research revealed that White Owl cigar smoke contained fewer chemical substances that caused bad breath then competitive cigars. Capitalizing on this marketing advantage, the J Walter Thompson agency ran print and billboard ads with men and women passionately kissing accompanied by the White Owl logo. The message: A man didn’t have to worry about nasty cigar smoke preventing intimate time with his favorite woman. Sales increased the first year but declined the next.

White Owl’s brand promise fell flat: “less” bad breath is still bad breath. I suspect Muriel experienced the same result with its fruit-flavored cigar line.

This ad was posted on Camel Tap as an example of cigarette ads you’re not likely to ever run again. Visit the site and you'll see why.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sex and chocolate: A timeless combination

Image the following scenario: A single women, popcorn in-hand, is watching her favorite romantic comedy. The woman, longing for her own personal George Clooney to appear and sweep her off her feet, gazes enviously at the film’s happy lovers, when a Pepperidge Farm spot flashes on the screen. Finally it clicks: That’s what’s missing—love AND cookies.

A similar scenario may be playing out in this Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie print ad that appeared in a 2007 issue of Good Housekeeping. The cookie “man” and chocolate “woman” are locked in an intimate embrace—the perfect combination for a delicious cookie experience. In addition to the sexuality of the embrace, the ad plays on the emotional attachment that women have to love—every woman is searching for her soulmate.

In my opinion, the ad says that cookies are equivalent to love. Overall, the ad is attempting to create an emotional attachment between the viewer, love, food, and the brand. This is an effective combination given that for women, sexual appeals and relationships are much more powerful than blatant sexuality or nudity.

This ad also created a stir for its hints of racism. See Steve Hall's commentary on Adrants for details.

--Posted by Sarah Doss

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ultimate in sex promotion

CNN recently reported that a 21-year-old Sacramento State U student is selling her virginity. Natalie Dylan is promoting herself via Dennis Hof's "World Famous" Bunny Ranch. Her motivation? To earn enough to not work while earning a masters degree in, of all things, marriage and family development. Her promotional efforts landed her an interview on "The Howard Stern Show," local news exposure in Sacramento on CBS 13, and a clip on CNN.