Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Online ads promote infidelity

The online "relationship" site, Ashley Madison, continues to advertise it's promise for a hush-hush affair. The accompanying online ad brandishes a seal with its "100% Guarentee:" If you don't have an affair within the first three months [see fine print here] the site will refund your $249. Talk about a unique positioning strategy among online dating services, Ashley Madison only caters to men and women in current relationships. According to its website, 2.5 million people have registered as members. The company made headlines recently when its television ads were banned from broadcast in Canada during the 2009 Super Bowl.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sexually-enticing True.com banner ads may boost CTR

A recent banner ad for a legitimate online dating service appears to promise salacious images of local singles. As visible in the accompanying ad, the True.com banner features a visual of an attractive woman on her back looking suggestively at he viewer. Simply click to see more.

True.com positions itself as an "online relationship service" that offers a safer and more secure matchmaking experience. The company promises to prosecute married members or convicted criminals. In addition, True.com boasts proprietary software designed to enhance matchmaking success. However, none of these features are promoted recent online True.com ads. What is the selling point?: The opportunity to look at sexy women in your town.

A 2004 article in Nature Neurosicence adds credence to True.com's approach. The researchers found with the help of MRI that men are much more "interested in and responsive to visual sexually arousing stimuli than are women." The researchers attribute the response to men's highly activated amygdala response. In short, visual stimuli plays a large role in men's sexual behavior.

Safety? Proprietary research? All fine, but the allure of "appetitive and biologically salient stimuli" is sure to boost click-through-rates in this and similar banner ads for dating services.

Hamann, Stephan, Rebecca Herman, Carla Nolan, and Kim Wallen (2004). Men and women differ in amygdala response to visual sexual stimuli, Nature Neuroscience, 7, 411-416.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vintage 1874 suspenders ad offers peek-a-boo appeal

Who says sex in advertising is a recent phenomenon? Consider this 1874 vintage ad for suspenders with "metallic ends." The tongue-in-cheek message appears to be that women will be better able to use them to escape papa, thus joining you for a midnight rendevous. If you don't by that appeal than her low-cut bodice may be the true attention getting device in the ad. Although 50 years later, this ad reminds me of Elliot Springs' ads for Springs Mills. The fabric manufacturer's ads were known for their sexual puns and peekaboo shots of women's breats and backsides.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Vintage STD awareness campaign

We talk quite a bit about contemporary safe sex and social marketing campaigns that address sexual issues. Many recent campaigns contain sexual imagery or the subtle interplay of text and image that contributes to sexual meaning. Compare that to this 1919 outdoor ad that appeared in New Jersy [click here to see the billboard]. Imagine passing this message heading south for the family vacation with stationwagon full of kids. "Daddy, what is venereal disease?" I came across this outdoor ad while viewing the "Emergence of Advertising in America" collection; part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.