More coursework: 1 - A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I - J | K - L | M | N - O | P - S | T | U - Y

Sex in advertising

1

Brett Denita Baskin

Mr. Blair

World lit 122 - A

December 2, 1996

Sex in Advertising

The use of sex in advertising has become a major selling

method in the society we live in today. It began sixty years ago

when a beautiful young woman introduced the first windproof lighter

and a new wave of advertising emerged - The Pinup Girl. She

advertised everything from lighters to laundry soap. She even

recruited for the U.S. armed forces (Parade Magazine; pg 6).

Sexuality in advertising is now a major area of ethical concern,

though surprisingly little is known about its effects or the norms for

it's use (Baltimore Sun; pg. 1G). Advertisers use of sex appeals

has grown and become widely present throughout the U.S. and

really most of the world, but it has never really been clear the line

between offensive and effective advertising. Over the last couple

of years, commercial content, like programming, has gone through

a significant maturing process. Sex has become a driving force.

NBC's vice president for advertising standards, Rick Gitter,

acknowledged that the 1990's reality can't be denied (Baltimore

Sun; pg. 1G).

Ann Klein's company's ads are some of the most striking ads

that are carried in the main stream media. They have received

only a few negative letters, but they've drawn a huge amount of

attention (Baltimore Sun; pg. 2G). "We wanted the women to say,

'Hey,' and we have gotten a fantastic response," there's a fine line

between doing something new, different and interesting, and

angering your customer with offensive commercials that spoil their

commercial intent. An Ann Klein spot that showed a man kissing a

woman and beginning to unbutton her shirt, was not allowed to air

by wary network censors, recalled company vice president Nancy

Lueck (Baltimore Sun; pg 2G). Calvin Klein, an American clothing

manufacturer that courts the glamorous young, drew great disgrace

and shame earlier this year for some particutlarly gamine youth who

lolled about wearing their underpants in a recent campaign, which

the network censors also withdrew (The Economist pg. 53).

"Sexiness, as a component of the good life, is a staple for

advertisers ; Coca Cola decorated its drug store posters at the turn

of the century with beautiful young women whom male drinkers

might hope to date and female drinkers might emulate (The

Economist pg. 54)." One has only to pick up any issue of a fashion

magazine and page after page is filled with advertisements

attempting to correlate sex and beauty with the purchase of their

products.

The current flood of sex in advertising is often promoted in

terms of fulfilling erotic fantasies and appetites (D'Emilio and

Freeman, 1989). Consumers want to see more, however the use of

such appeals is constantly contested in terms of ethics and

morality, much as sexual norms and morals in general have been

contested throughout both American and world history (The

Journal of Advertising, pg 73). Commercials have become a

risque as standards loosen. Networks, in an effort to compete with

cable television, have relaxed thier censorship standards.

Advertising standards have always been defined by the public's

tolerance and the shifting moods of courts and government

agencies. Even though there are concerns about sex and

advertising on the air, on billboards, and in print, it is more

accepted now than ever before. However, ads dealing with the

environment or nutrition are coming under much stricter contraints.

The public has become less sensitive to sexy ads, but increasingly

irate about claims involving food and Mother Earth. "While we will

tolerate an expansion in areas that may offend our prurient interest,

we are not prepared to do that with products that effect our quality

of life" said Stuart Lee Friedel, an attorney with the New York

based law firm of Davis & Gilbert, who specializes in advertising

(Baltimore Sun, pg 2G).

Advertisers are helping to fuel an unhealthy obsession.

"Women's dissatisfaction with their bodies is considerably more

prevalent now than a generation ago. "Ours is now a society that is

increasingly preoccupied with appearance and weight," says Judith

Robin,Ph.D., former chairman of the psychology department at

Yale University, currently president of the University of

Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a recognized authority on body

image. Magazine covers, TV shows, music videos and movies

tend to feature very thin women over those with more realistically

filled-out figures. Advertisers want people to feel dissatisfied with

our current appearances, so they will be more inclined to purchase

their products that offer improvements. " The media now exposes

us to this single 'right look', and the beauty industry promises that

anyone can attain it," writes Dr.Robin, who is also the author of

Body Traps: Breaking the Binds That Keep You from Feeling Good

about Your Body (Food And You; pg. 33). Shame often hinders

would be gym goers for fear of embarrassment. Health club

advertisers often showcase scantily clad, sculptured bodies working

out. Over weight people find it difficult to picture themselves beside

those people - the invariably young and trim (Atlanta

journal/Constitution; pg. G3). Advertisers for car makers appeal to

the male population by insinuating that a man is judged by the

power behind his wheels therefore, big strong men drive big strong

trucks, and how he handles the road, with his powerful new wheels,

will have a positive influence on his masculinity (Essence, pg 93).

The back pages of magazines are flooded with ads for sex toys

designed to enhance your sex life. Vitamins claiming to give you

more stamina and lingerie worn by beautiful voluptuous models

whose assets do not come with the product. Still, the advertisers

hope to convey the subtle message that if you buy their product

you'll achieve those results. Purfume manufactuers advertise their

products will attract the opposite sex, mask body odor and invite

more itimate touch ( ADCULT USA, pg144). Once even routine

ads for some practical, everday items were shunned. "Hygiene

products, deodorants, laxatives... and simular products are

generally not accepted, " the NBC code of 1943 noted. Today

women can model lingerie or even breast feed a child (as seen in a

Gerber ad) on television. Consider a much noted A Calvin Klein

ad insert in New York and Los Angeles editions of Vanity Fair, was

described by Advertising Age as "boy meets girl, boy meets boy,

boy meet self". That's merely the most striking example of a vast

range of jeans, lingerie and cosmetics ads that once would have

been relegated to Playboy or Penthouse, but now are appearing in

upscale mainstream publications ( Baltimore Sun, pg 3g).

Toy manufacturers are also capitalizing on the use of sex to

sell products. Video games, which have a largley teenage male

following, use graphic and sexually stimulating graphics to portray

their female characters. Lude advertisements such as "Engage in

thousands of exciting relationships with total strangers without

wearing anything made of latex" (NEXT Generation, pg 72), and

"Sometimes having a killer body just isn't enough, you'll need tough

studs and big bolts" (NEXT Generation, pg 91) appeal to their

adolescent fantasies. There are people who consider this form of

advertisment to be in poor taste because of the advertising

techniques. They oppose advertisements with sexual overtones

and advertisements with adult content that appear in media

available to and directed toward children (Advertising, pg 67).

Even the foreign market of developing countries such as war

torn Cambodia are being flooded with the promise of the good life.

Beer commercials in Cambodia show fit young men leaping and

sprinting while promises of physical and intellectual prowess flash

on the television screen. In one popular spot, a man cracks an

egg into his beer, and the yoke transforms into a woman, he drinks

down the attractive brew with a slurp ( Yahoo! News,

yahoo.com/headlines/961129).

The Spanish government introduced legislation in April, 1986

to ban misleading, unfair, or irrational advertising. The bill would

also regulate the use of testimonials, comparative advertising, and

the material that is offensive to the dignity of women or fails to

respect the rights of children. ( Edward Mark Mazze, Britannica

Annual 1989, pg 265). The United States has no such legislation,

except for strict laws against child pornography. An attempt to

introduce such legislation would be met with stern opposition from

the corporate world, whose industries profit from such advertising.

Advertising agencies have taken advantage of the freedoms of

speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution. Product

advertising continues to push the acceptance of sexually explicit

materials to the limit in it's race for higher profits.

Sexuality has become a national trade mark, the symbol of

American commerce. Naked, semi-naked, dressing and

undressing women fill not only films but the pages of magazines

advertising food, clothing, automobiles, hotels, refrigerators,

chewing gum and everything which in the opinion of the business

man would represent the vital interest of people. Advertisements

have never been granted the unqualified rights of free speech held

by books, articles or news programs. The indecency of American

and world wide advertising has become indescribable. Sex in

advertising will always be an issue of ethical concern as long as

peoples view remain diverse and companies profit from those

diversities.

1

Brett Denita Baskin

Mr. Blair

World lit 122 - A

December 2, 1996

Sex in Advertising

The use of sex in advertising has become a major selling

method in the society we live in today. It began sixty years ago

when a beautiful young woman introduced the first windproof lighter

and a new wave of advertising emerged - The Pinup Girl. She

advertised everything from lighters to laundry soap. She even

recruited for the U.S. armed forces (Parade Magazine; pg 6).

Sexuality in advertising is now a major area of ethical concern,

though surprisingly little is known about its effects or the norms for

it's use (Baltimore Sun; pg. 1G). Advertisers use of sex appeals

has grown and become widely present throughout the U.S. and

really most of the world, but it has never really been clear the line

between offensive and effective advertising. Over the last couple

of years, commercial content, like programming, has gone through

a significant maturing process. Sex has become a driving force.

NBC's vice president for advertising standards, Rick Gitter,

acknowledged that the 1990's reality can't be denied (Baltimore

Sun; pg. 1G).

Ann Klein's company's ads are some of the most striking ads

that are carried in the main stream media. They have received

only a few negative letters, but they've drawn a huge amount of

attention (Baltimore Sun; pg. 2G). "We wanted the women to say,

'Hey,' and we have gotten a fantastic response," there's a fine line

between doing something new, different and interesting, and

angering your customer with offensive commercials that spoil their

commercial intent. An Ann Klein spot that showed a man kissing a

woman and beginning to unbutton her shirt, was not allowed to air

by wary network censors, recalled company vice president Nancy

Lueck (Baltimore Sun; pg 2G). Calvin Klein, an American clothing

manufacturer that courts the glamorous young, drew great disgrace

and shame earlier this year for some particutlarly gamine youth who

lolled about wearing their underpants in a recent campaign, which

the network censors also withdrew (The Economist pg. 53).

"Sexiness, as a component of the good life, is a staple for

advertisers ; Coca Cola decorated its drug store posters at the turn

of the century with beautiful young women whom male drinkers

might hope to date and female drinkers might emulate (The

Economist pg. 54)." One has only to pick up any issue of a fashion

magazine and page after page is filled with advertisements

attempting to correlate sex and beauty with the purchase of their

products.

The current flood of sex in advertising is often promoted in

terms of fulfilling erotic fantasies and appetites (D'Emilio and

Freeman, 1989). Consumers want to see more, however the use of

such appeals is constantly contested in terms of ethics and

morality, much as sexual norms and morals in general have been

contested throughout both American and world history (The

Journal of Advertising, pg 73). Commercials have become a

risque as standards loosen. Networks, in an effort to compete with

cable television, have relaxed thier censorship standards.

Advertising standards have always been defined by the public's

tolerance and the shifting moods of courts and government

agencies. Even though there are concerns about sex and

advertising on the air, on billboards, and in print, it is more

accepted now than ever before. However, ads dealing with the

environment or nutrition are coming under much stricter contraints.

The public has become less sensitive to sexy ads, but increasingly

irate about claims involving food and Mother Earth. "While we will

tolerate an expansion in areas that may offend our prurient interest,

we are not prepared to do that with products that effect our quality

of life" said Stuart Lee Friedel, an attorney with the New York

based law firm of Davis & Gilbert, who specializes in advertising

(Baltimore Sun, pg 2G).

Advertisers are helping to fuel an unhealthy obsession.

"Women's dissatisfaction with their bodies is considerably more

prevalent now than a generation ago. "Ours is now a society that is

increasingly preoccupied with appearance and weight," says Judith

Robin,Ph.D., former chairman of the psychology department at

Yale University, currently president of the University of

Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a recognized authority on body

image. Magazine covers, TV shows, music videos and movies

tend to feature very thin women over those with more realistically

filled-out figures. Advertisers want people to feel dissatisfied with

our current appearances, so they will be more inclined to purchase

their products that offer improvements. " The media now exposes

us to this single 'right look', and the beauty industry promises that

anyone can attain it," writes Dr.Robin, who is also the author of

Body Traps: Breaking the Binds That Keep You from Feeling Good

about Your Body (Food And You; pg. 33). Shame often hinders

would be gym goers for fear of embarrassment. Health club

advertisers often showcase scantily clad, sculptured bodies working

out. Over weight people find it difficult to picture themselves beside

those people - the invariably young and trim (Atlanta

journal/Constitution; pg. G3). Advertisers for car makers appeal to

the male population by insinuating that a man is judged by the

power behind his wheels therefore, big strong men drive big strong

trucks, and how he handles the road, with his powerful new wheels,

will have a positive influence on his masculinity (Essence, pg 93).

The back pages of magazines are flooded with ads for sex toys

designed to enhance your sex life. Vitamins claiming to give you

more stamina and lingerie worn by beautiful voluptuous models

whose assets do not come with the product. Still, the advertisers

hope to convey the subtle message that if you buy their product

you'll achieve those results. Purfume manufactuers advertise their

products will attract the opposite sex, mask body odor and invite

more itimate touch ( ADCULT USA, pg144). Once even routine

ads for some practical, everday items were shunned. "Hygiene

products, deodorants, laxatives... and simular products are

generally not accepted, " the NBC code of 1943 noted. Today

women can model lingerie or even breast feed a child (as seen in a

Gerber ad) on television. Consider a much noted A Calvin Klein

ad insert in New York and Los Angeles editions of Vanity Fair, was

described by Advertising Age as "boy meets girl, boy meets boy,

boy meet self". That's merely the most striking example of a vast

range of jeans, lingerie and cosmetics ads that once would have

been relegated to Playboy or Penthouse, but now are appearing in

upscale mainstream publications ( Baltimore Sun, pg 3g).

Toy manufacturers are also capitalizing on the use of sex to

sell products. Video games, which have a largley teenage male

following, use graphic and sexually stimulating graphics to portray

their female characters. Lude advertisements such as "Engage in

thousands of exciting relationships with total strangers without

wearing anything made of latex" (NEXT Generation, pg 72), and

"Sometimes having a killer body just isn't enough, you'll need tough

studs and big bolts" (NEXT Generation, pg 91) appeal to their

adolescent fantasies. There are people who consider this form of

advertisment to be in poor taste because of the advertising

techniques. They oppose advertisements with sexual overtones

and advertisements with adult content that appear in media

available to and directed toward children (Advertising, pg 67).

Even the foreign market of developing countries such as war

torn Cambodia are being flooded with the promise of the good life.

Beer commercials in Cambodia show fit young men leaping and

sprinting while promises of physical and intellectual prowess flash

on the television screen. In one popular spot, a man cracks an

egg into his beer, and the yoke transforms into a woman, he drinks

down the attractive brew with a slurp ( Yahoo! News,

yahoo.com/headlines/961129).

The Spanish government introduced legislation in April, 1986

to ban misleading, unfair, or irrational advertising. The bill would

also regulate the use of testimonials, comparative advertising, and

the material that is offensive to the dignity of women or fails to

respect the rights of children. ( Edward Mark Mazze, Britannica

Annual 1989, pg 265). The United States has no such legislation,

except for strict laws against child pornography. An attempt to

introduce such legislation would be met with stern opposition from

the corporate world, whose industries profit from such advertising.

Advertising agencies have taken advantage of the freedoms of

speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution. Product

advertising continues to push the acceptance of sexually explicit

materials to the limit in it's race for higher profits.

Sexuality has become a national trade mark, the symbol of

American commerce. Naked, semi-naked, dressing and

undressing women fill not only films but the pages of magazines

advertising food, clothing, automobiles, hotels, refrigerators,

chewing gum and everything which in the opinion of the business

man would represent the vital interest of people. Advertisements

have never been granted the unqualified rights of free speech held

by books, articles or news programs. The indecency of American

and world wide advertising has become indescribable. Sex in

advertising will always be an issue of ethical concern as long as

peoples view remain diverse and companies profit from those

diversities.

Source: Essay UK - http://www.essay.uk.com/coursework/sex-in-advertising.php



About this resource

This coursework was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies.


Search our content:


  • Download this page
  • Print this page
  • Search again

  • Word count:

    This page has approximately words.


    Share:


    Cite:

    If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

    Essay UK, Sex In Advertising. Available from: <https://www.essay.uk.com/coursework/sex-in-advertising.php> [26-05-20].


    More information:

    If you are the original author of this content and no longer wish to have it published on our website then please click on the link below to request removal: