Sex sells and we buy it. Ad campaigns are all about sexual appeal and seducing the consumer to indulge in the product. However, where does the line lay that creates the barrier between a racy, steamy image and pornography? In advertisements, naked women create a hell of an audience. The women sell to men because, well, what man wouldn’t want to invest in a hot ladette! And they sell to women because nearly every lady out there wishes to be that stunning girl on the billboard – buying the product gives us the hope of becoming that women (yes, Irina Shayk, I want to be you).
You see, many designers make their products innovative an eclectic by breaking the fashion boundaries. Womens’ designs can be androgynous and have a masculine edge, whereas mens’ designs can reflect the more ‘touchy feely’ side to a man. My point is that the products themselves can be as out-there as the designer wants it to be. Fashion can break boundaries. This is where the difference lies between a collection having the ability to be unconventional and its advertising campaign having to be slightly orthodox. Designs can do what they like; they can be fun and flirty. Advertisements, however, cannot disrespect. If you disrespect the subject, then you disrespect the audience. Although any photographer and editor is open to be as artsy as they want, they can’t portray a woman as sexualised object…although many do.
Through centuries of fashion and politics, women have been objectified. We are stereotypically seen to hold an expressive role of being housewives and having the role of making men happy (so gross). Advertising within the fashion industry sort of promotes this idea. Images of women baring their flesh = a higher revenue for the magazine or product. Thus, when a butt-naked girl appears as the main subject of something, it will outperform anything and anyone. Inevitably, the more provocative the advert is, the more the audience is drawn to it – who doesn’t love a bit of scandal, right?
We live in a century where people are so caught up in what they see that they override what they get. At the end of the day, sex should not sell. The sexual part of an image is an aim to get an audience. Although it sometimes tells a story, the majority of the time the phenomena is used to get money and get popular. People these days get so caught up in the media that the whole idea of creativity and imagination is lost. No longer is the beauty of the product recognised, but the derogatory meaning of the advertisements. To me, when a sexual advert is used to promote a product, I think that the designers (or PR guys) have, well, run out of imagination for the season. How degrading.
Two alternative views on sex as a means of advertising: