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Women Love Words. Men Love Pictures.
By: Aaron Whitaker
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As I was driving into work today, the news was reporting on the hot sales of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Apparently, the books are selling like wildfire with around 800,000 being sold every day throughout the world. They are the talk of the town, or at least half of the town, as the fans are predominantly women. These "explicit novels," as they are known, seem to have filled a void that other books haven’t fulfilled. What interested me was the fact that when it comes to sexually explicit language, women seem to be the predominant audience while men are the predominant audience when it comes to sexually explicit images. But does this carry over to advertising and marketing in our world?
 
Ever since the dawn of advertising, it seems we’ve all been aware that sex sells when it comes to men. Have a pretty woman holding a beer and every guy wants that beer. In fact, advertisers could probably convince men that they are supposed to do all the dishes if there was a beautiful woman to convince them and change their perspectives in advertising. But what about women? Has there ever been a time in the history of advertising that advertisers have enticed and persuaded women to buy a product with explicit language?
 
Even before Fifty Shades of Grey, there were the trashy romantic novels some of our mothers would read back in the old days. I remember seeing stacks of them at the grocery check-out lane. There were the classier Danielle Steele novels, too, that were very popular. While I have not read any excerpts from Fifty Shades of Grey, apparently the language and stories are even more graphic than the old romantic novels, which is why publishers have coined the term "explicit novel" for the Fifty Shades trilogy of books. So if this sexually explicit language works to sell books, could it sell consumer goods and services? I remember the TV ads where Fabio is selling "I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter," but I don’t remember reading any romantic or explicit print ads for the campaign. I know I’ve seen other TV spots and print ads where it’s a hot young man selling women a product but I’m thinking most advertisers realize it’s not as effective when selling to women as opposed to men.
 
So why don’t advertisers put down the cameras and pick up the pens and seduce and romanticize women consumers with explicit words rather than graphic pictures? Is America not ready? Are we fine with scantily clad women in TV and print ads but are fearful of seductive words? Perhaps it’s time again for marketers and advertisers to embrace language and words over pictures and graphics. Who knows; you could end up selling close to a million products a day to women because of the seductive and explicit words you use over the Fabio-like character that used to hold your product in your ads.  

   

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About the Author
Aaron Whitaker is a copywriter, blogger, and social media aficionado who likes watching the TV commercials more than the actual shows. He prefers reading the magazine ads over the articles. And you can learn more about him online right here.
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