Sex in Advertising: Manipulation Gone too Far

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Kraft released several advertisements in early April to launch their Zesty Salad Dressing (Nudd). One in particular displays a very attractive man.. who just-so-happens to be naked. He is having a picnic, with the bottle of Kraft Zesty Salad Dressing casually laying close by (see fig. 1). The ad is addressing women, from young adult to the elderly. Scantily-clad women are often used in ads to spark the attention of men. Yet, you rarely see a hunky, half-naked man with a body chiseled by the Greek Gods themselves in advertisements. Kraft has embraced the science of sex appeal in their Zesty Salad Dressing ad. But, is this type of advertisement effective in luring its intended audience? Using a steamy image as an adverting tool is nothing new. In 1871 Pearl Tobacco was the first to cast the sex appeal stone by flaunting a sexy, topless woman on its packaging (Beigelman). Since then many companies have utilized the play on sex in their ads. Victoria's Secret is notorious for its sexy ads (see fig. 2), which launched the company “from three boutiques in San Francisco to the most successful and recognized intimates brand in the United States, if not the world” (Daye). Companies like Axe, Tag, and Old Spice have capitalized on its target audience of young to middle-aged men by displaying their products as “sexual-attractment enhancers” (Daye). With noted revenue gain, many companies continue with the “sex sells” trend. Sex appeal advertisements aimed towards women are scarce compared to those targeting men. The idea of a woman being aroused by looking at an attractive man is often frowned upon, and deteriorating to her lady-like persona. While women have been fighting for equality, the use of men as sexual objects in adve... ... middle of paper ... ...Zesty Dressing Ad Offends 'One Million Moms,' Sparks Debate." The Huffington Post. n.p., 14 June 2013. web. 17 October 2013. Beigelman, Victor. "Column: Why Sex Sells." The California Aggie. Creative Media, 9 February 2012. Web. 17 October 2013. Daye, Derrick. "Does Sex In Advertising Work?" Branding Strategy Insider. The Blake Project, 22 March 2008. Web. 17 October 2013. Kalb, Ira. "Do You Think Sex Sells? Think Again." Business Insider. n.p., 16 April 2012. Web. 17 October 2013. "Kate Upton for Hardee's." Image. Modelinia.com. N.d. Web. 2 December 2013. "Kraft Zesty Picnic." Image. Get Me Zesty: Kraft Foods. N.d. Web. 29 November 2013. Nudd, Tim. "Kraft Salad Dressing Ad Gets Best Present Ever: A Slap From One Million Moms." Adweek. n.p., 17 June 2013. Web. 17 October 2013. "Victoria's Secret 1980's Ad" Image. Lingerie-Alley.com. N.d. Web. 2 Decenber 2013.

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