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Is The Use Of Sexual Imagery In Ad Campaigns Unethical?

2030 words - 9 pages

Emage Grant
ENG 100-001
16 April 2014
Is The Use of Sexual Imagery in Ad Campaigns Unethical?
People will soon realize that they're being manipulated by advertising companies due to sexual imagery. Even though a person may buy a product due to sexual imagery, it defeats the purpose of selling the product if the product is not any good. Also, companies will only gain temporary customers if sex is their only strategy for advertising Not only will the consumers feel cheated and utilized, it will take a much greater attempt on the part of the advertisers to regain the customer’s trust. Therefore, using sexual imagery in advertising is unethical because it distracts the consumer from the original issue in which it is for them to buy something.
Merchandise that is usually associated with sex appeal include designer clothing, alcohol, and fragrances. They appear to feature sexual imagery that is very explicit. For example, Axe body spray is a prime example of a brand that claims to provide sex-related benefits. Usually these commercials feature a guy, typically between the ages of 18-26, using this Axe Body Spray then automatically achieving a higher social status and becoming a “chick magnet.” (Chacko). Billboards and print ads that display sexual encounters are more likely to not only catch your attention, but are more memorable (Chacko). Even though these advertisements are degrading, the media makes it acceptable. As the culture changes in our society so does the social perspective and social norms. (Chacko). Advertisements that include sexual aspects are further engaging and entertaining especially when they present a “fantasy element” (Chacko). Sexuality is a fundamental characteristic of people that influences their thoughts and behaviors. This includes attention, feelings about the ad and about the brand, memory, and intensions to purchase the advertised product. Sexual appeals are persuasive appeals that contain sexual information integrated within the overall message. This information conveys sexual information that varies in form and meaning. “Advertisements that attract attention have the increased likelihood to affect persuasion” it is used to enhance the delivered message. Not only is sex arousing but emotion educing, easy to relate, and most of all memorable. These ads can create desire to the product due to the evoked emotional responses such as excitement, feelings of arousal and lust that can change the consumer's mood (Taflinger). Advertising relies on stereotypes, no matter what campaign society is presented with, men and women are being portrayed in a gender-based role. Advertisers often use stereotypes to reiterate their message and to relate to their target audience. As stated previously, sex is used for many good aspects of advertising. For one it catches the viewers’ attention and persuades them to buy a product. It can also give the audience a certain emotional response toward the advertisement.
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