Using Sex To Sell

There is a long and unappealing history of big firms using sex appeal to sell products, whether they have anything to do with sex appeal or not. For example, Nissan still, even in this day and age takes from the old playbook and features bikini wearing women in its advertisements. Nissan made newspaper headlines in early two thousand and eleven – yes, that recently – when they ran TV adverts which featured a side by side comparison of a Nissan Juke and a sexy female model wearing only a bikini swimsuit. The swimwear / car model, “Amber,” was depicted running comparison tests against the vehicle, while wearing – of course – just a bikini. Lots of consumers were not amused and complained, saying typically that the ad “cuts a fine line between sexy and sexist. OK, and disappointing.” Fair comment if you have seen it.

At least when an escort agency is using sex appeal and beautiful women to advertise and promote their company it has a direct logical link to what is being sold, rather than the totally spurious link between a sexy woman and a car. Especially one as unsexy as a Nissan Juke! Using sex appeal and beautiful women such as the girls of Barbies Babes Escorts Leeds kind of makes immediate sense, since the product being sold is the sex appeal of the beautiful women in question! No sexism involved, it is more like factual branding and advertising. “Buy All Bran because it makes you go to the toilet”. “This woman is sexy and will make you want to have sex with her.”

The Old Spice man from the TV adverts is not really an icon in the United Kingdom in the same way that he is in the United States of America. But, courtesy of YouTube he is still famous and popular. The adverts are fantastic, ironic and funny. And, yes, very very sexy. As well as having his shirt off while swan diving and sitting on a horse, the Old Spice guy encouraged men to actually smell like men. Though my idea of smelling like a man does not and never will include the aroma of Old Spice, or as Hannibal Lecter put it “something that smells like it has a ship on the bottle”.

While the commercials are tame compared to Dolce and Gabbana simulating a gang rape to sell lingerie and clothing or to many other consumer brands, the ads have been successful enough that the actor Isaiah Mustafa still travels the world, promoting his sexy scent while starring with a giant Komodo dragon or standing on the top of snow covered mountains. And, of course, on a palm fringed beach with his shirt off. With a self aware nod, the latest Old Spice advertisements mock the brand owners (Proctor and Gamble) history of shockingly sexist – rather than sexy – advertising.