Business, Industry

Sex and your advertising.

You’re heard it before – sex sells! Then, you see everyone getting excited about advertising. Draping half-naked women over bonnets in automobile commercials and showing legs and skin to convince viewers to buy tech gadgets. Even the ladies on those inescapable ‘call-in-programs’ are now wearing dangerous bosom-boosting low cuts. Pleading with our kids to “act responsibly, have safe sex”.

Well! I regret to inform, many of us are misusing this theory of sex in advertising. Yes this approach tends to get people’s attention. But it stops there. It does not convince them to buy. And it certainly does not help to put your brand in their ‘good books’. This equals wasted advertising in the real world my friends.

The truth is: sex does sell. But it only sells when it’s relevant to your product. A few instances of when it may be… are in ads for beauty and cosmetic products. When naked or skimpily attired models can show the actual results of a product’s usage on their bodies. Making the element of ‘skin’ relevant. Even health foods could be considered suitable depending on their benefits.

I know! Some advertisers in Guyana may want to argue that they are quite contented with getting people’s attention full stop. Their other promotional efforts will close the sale. Again, you’re putting too much at stake.

When you wildly drop sex and seductive imagery in your ads regardless of relevance, you send the message that the brand is shallow, desperate. “My product does not have any real benefits to offer you, so hey! I’ll give you pretty faces with legs and boobs instead”.

Stop this nonsense of prostituting your product. It’s the only way you’ll build a strong brand with integrity that sells. In many cases, your products are great! They offer sound benefits. Convince consumers by promoting that instead. You’ll find over time, my advice paid off in dollars.


20 thoughts on “Sex and your advertising.”

  1. Great to hear from you after such a long time GMC. It’s always a pleasure to have you over.

    Don’t be like the others that have fallen for the myth: sex will sell anything. Sorry to disappoint you. But even sex isn’t that good.

    Your examples were remarkable. Sex, ‘if molded creatively’ is likely to sell those particular products, yes. But do not misconstrue that as sex will sell ‘anything’. That would be assuming too much and be down right incorrect. If you were given a mandate to use sex to sell ‘anything’, you may then find how unrealistic it is in actuality.

    When we speak of ‘selling’ in the real world GMC, we refer to lasting sales year after year. Not the classic fly by night operation that has nothing to loose when it comes to brand integrity and value.

    Consumers are human beings. They find sex interesting. Hell interesting at that! But it’s not enough to continue getting their money out of their pockets. They work hard for their dollars. If you’re going to persuade them to buy your product and stick with it, you better have real benefits, both tangible and intangible to offer them. They ain’t as stupid as we think.

  2. Darn Sharon I was deliberately seeking to tickle a few folks into commenting since no one was. Looks as though the bait did not work. Got to get me some juicier worms I guess.

    Oh well.

    Cheerio now,

  3. Here is a nice juicy bait for you my dear. I’m sure you will enjoy….

    We have a short message for our dear pariah of advertising knowledge. When the FIRST WORD of your post is screwed people will not take you seriously. When you leave the wrong first word for as long as you have you cannot be serious about yourself.

    If we were a business that needed an advertising consultant we certainly would not be hiring you based on the evidence of what we have seen so far.

    Very sloppy madam. Why would we want such a sloppy person scripting and conceptualizing our ads?

    Try a makeover and come again.

    And by the way what is ‘save sex’? Oh, should it be ‘safe sex’?

    One word – S-L-O-P-P-Y-!

    As posted on the Living Guyana blog:

  4. Media Critic:

    Man, I give you points! That is juicy. It even qualifies as S-L-O-O-P-Y.

    For I have news for you. Using the word ‘sex’ in articles actually increases readership by 92% according to the most recent survey done in Washington.

    As for your assumption on who will take me seriously and who will not, that’s someone’s personal choice. They don’t have to take me seriously. They can continue making the same mistakes until they go out of business. I’ll send them a sympathy card and give them a shoulder to cry on.

    You may recall, I always say, my advice is there for those who need it. Not for circus clowns who are so bored, they sit and point out little typos on other people’s blogs (as a delayed reaction) but are too chicken to allow anyone to comment on theirs. So lets separate the men from the boys here.

    Ooh and by the way, I’m glad you wouldn’t care to hire me. Because frankly, I doubt you could afford me. You would clearly prefer the other advertising folks you bitterly bitch about on this blog. Most times, not even in a constructive way.

    So tek five and gad bliss. Can you point out the typos there? Can you? Always happy to give you stuff to bitch about GMC. It’s your most outstanding quality. What a waste of your manhood. Ha ha ha.

    Now how’s that for juice, my fellow juice maker? We’ve both made yard fowls of ourselves and had the classic Guyanese cuss out.

    Can we go back to more constructive discussion now? Like how to clean up the filth we call advertising down here.

  5. P.S  Now is a very sensitive PR period in Guyana. You should refrain from calling others ‘pariah’. It’s highly racial and condescending for those who know the meaning of it.

    It reveals the way you really regard your fellow Guyanese and stuff like that can actually cause the party you are so actively rooting for, to loose votes senselessly. So don’t be the apple that spoils the barrel, ok?

    Be a gentleman and fix your mentality… for their sakes. They’re good guys.

  6. I have to give myself credit. I am as good as I want to be. I can bait anyone. Job well done on you but I’m still waiting on those slow coaches over at Guyana 360 to respond to my baitings.

    Anyways I’m severely disappointed in you as a self professed professional. You call those blatant blunders ‘silly typos’ yet you advertise yourself as a ‘copy writer’ on your website? This has to be a joke of unbelievable proportions!

    Lord Jesus help this woman!

    The more you type woman the more you demonstrate your slackness and, yes I do believe I will have to say, I-N-C-O-M-P-E-T-E-N-C-E and I-G-N-O-R-A-N-C-E-!

    Sorry darling you are not worth whatever price you are charging that you so eagerly boast about and further you are not worth much less than that simply because you have no respect for your profession. You are quickly exposing yourself as a money-grabber who does not care too much for standards and quality.

    You simply cannot be blundering so badly in spelling on your blog where you discuss bad advertising and how to improve it and where you advertise yourself as someone who should be consulted on this matter and on copy writing.

    Do you have a clue or are you just prettying up a website to make some easy bucks off unsuspecting advertisers eager for a great ad in a land where the sources of same are few and far between?

    Watch out people, you may be onto a con here!

  7. Congrats GMC! You have managed to build a strong case. Just because I happened to type ‘save’ instead of ‘safe’ initially, my integrity and competence is now under serious question. And look by whom?

    You know GMC, if you’re disappointed… then be disappointed. Because the reality is… regardless of how you bitch or what you say, Guyana will go on and I will still be a ‘copywriter’ (note it’s one word GMC).

    VOICEOVER is something I’ve dedicated my spare time to. And I’m sorry to inform but I haven’t got much of that unlike you. So you may come across the occasional ‘silly typo’ here and there since I have to rush back to my clients. I’m not on the job were I make it my business to pass the pieces to proofreading. Another profession that exists primarily because there’s a sound need for it in the support structure for busy professionals.

    So come again. Becuase you’re not really putting anyone to shame here dear heart. That’s how things work in the ad and publishing business in general.

    And as for money grabbing, the folks who could actually afford me, continue to hire me because I am one of the few that obsessively seek out ways of saving them millions. I give them the inside scoop so that no one rips them off like before. And I tactically take their businesses to the top by exploring more cost effective, non-traditional, out-of-the- box ways of selling their product and transforming it into an enduring brand.

    I’m told when their numbers add up, they always find I am the small investment that saved the whole cargo.

    So don’t you worry your little head about ‘cons’ and ‘money grabbing’ GMC. The affairs of my people and my future people are well taken care of. Inspite of your insinuations and down right rudeness, driven by your deep sense of idleness and desperation to entertain.

    Try opening your eyes and seeing the ‘greater good’. You’ll find it’s the more fulfilling way to spend your years.

  8. No Guyana-gyal. I don’t believe we have a Women’s Media Watch Group. Interesting suggestion though.

    Sometimes, the Consumer’s Association tends to ruffle some feathers here and there. But again, they are known to be inconsistent and partial. Launching attacks on a few tastefully executed campaigns but leaving a lot of the nasty ones to run wild.

  9. Y’know Sharon, I think the problem with most of us here is apathy. I was chatting with someone who does a lot of work for the arts, for charity, has thriving business, etc. And she said to me how, even for her, some days she has to force herself to think positive.

    A lot of the ads offend me and all I do is click, switch to another channel until I think the ad is finished. Don’t advertisers realise they LOSE potential buyers with crappy ads?

    I see so many good ads produced overseas. There are even internationl ad awards, The Golden Lion, I think, at Cannes.

    I hope you can convince advertisers to try new ways to advertise. I really wish you well in what you’re doing.

  10. Stop it. You sound like a couple of babies, although it seems that GMC started the hostility.

  11. Guyana-Gyal, I can totally identify with your associate. In Guyana, we have no appreciation for the Arts. Part of that comes from the fall of our education system. We see the Arts as abstract… of no real value.

    Little do we realize, it’s the ‘buff’ for Science, Business and Technology. It’s the crucial ‘polish’ that makes all inventions, innovations and business strategies – sell. Making the difference between whether things are well received or not.

    Of course, the Arts run far deeper than its ability to persuade and grant good delivery. But in advertising and marketing, that’s its main purpose.

    And unless we in Guyana can realize the need for such quality artistic expression, we will remain in the back-water we’re in. With our unattractive rural landscapes, dull businesses and pathetic marketing campaigns that no one buys into.

  12. Thank you for your wishes GG. You bet I’ll do my part to make advertising what it should be.

    Your input and that of others, really help to bring issues to light. Feel free to raise them, as you feel the need.

    Happy blogging!

  13. Guyana Media Critic, I am one of Sharon’s clients. A very difficult one at that because as she knows, I don’t spend my company-money wildly in spite of the fact that I can. Let me tell you something.

    You need to watch your mouth with who you call a ‘con’. If there is one thing she is not, that is a ‘money grabber’. She does not know it but I am always blown away at the advice she gives me when working on campaigns.

    It’s almost as if making money was not important to her. She tells it like it is and never exploits. Her work ethic and creative ability is a cut far above the rest and she is a diehard stickler for deadlines we dish at her – not like the incompetent idiots I’ve had to work with some months ago.

    Say what you wish but this smart, young stander is an example to be reckoned with. Who ever has her as their consultant and creative person, probably has the best deal they will ever get out of Guyana, according to my admin staff. I happen to agree with them.

  14. Waw! Is this who I think it is? I only have one client with the initials TC. It has to be you guys!

    Thank you so much TC and company. I consider this a huge compliment but far more important, a sign that you’re satisfied with the service you receive. That’s really the bottom line at the end of the day.

    As for that Guyana Media Critic… nevermind him. Deep down inside, I’m sure he’s a wonderful person. He’s just caught up with the need to be read. Hopefully some day, he’ll realize, there are other more tasteful ways of achieving that.

    I’ll have the marketing plans on your desk by Friday morning.

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