Sex in advertising has been aggressively debated for years. Research shows in plain language that sex doesn't sell, yet advertisers and brands continue to use it in videos, ads, and social media. It could be argued that brands use sex in order for that “feeling” of arousal to be associated with the brand, but that’s also a questionable tactic. Unless that consumer is in the same state when looking to buy that product, the ad doesn't quite translate.
In our usual search through advertising trends and news, we came across two articles, both about sexualization in advertising. One is about the sexualization of men, while the other is about the objectification of women.
Now, before we hear an uproar that women have more to be upset about, we would agree with that sentiment. But it doesn't negate the fact that the sexualization of men is a real topic too.
The writer looking into the sexualization of men looks at the rise of "hunkvertising," ads that showcase the hyper-masculine man. The writer also references a research study done by Mintel that wanted to know how men felt about advertising these days, and the results indicate that more men believe that being in shape is more important than being married, getting promoted, or having children.
Another finding showed that men thought advertising often showed men being incompetent around the house.
On the flip side, when looking into the objectification of women, a writer from Good Magazine highlighted a campaign called #WomenNotObjects that is raising significant awareness about the ridiculous advertising that brands are doing using women’s bodies. The article shows a video done by the group that uses regular women who bluntly say what the ad not-so-subtly displays.
The point? Both men and women have something to be upset about. Perhaps as more voices are raised, these brands will change their ways.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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