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Advertising: Sex Sells Essay

1485 words - 6 pages

Advertising is a billion dollar market with a sole purpose to persuade the consumer to purchase some type of product or service. Companies use many different methods to convince the public to spend money on their products with most of their advertising focused around the idea of “sex sells”. This idea promotes a hunger in the consumer for gaining personal pleasure or acceptance of sexuality by the eye catching effects of publicly baring flesh. These ideas are promoted through TV commercials, billboards, magazines, radio ads, or any type of media targeted at the mass majority of people. Every where a person looks there seems to be some type of advertising based on sex. The illusion of making one feel they want, need, or cant live without something so pleasing makes a person want the product even more. This is a concept that can be explained by the idea of sexology which states, “Sexuality is not a superficial or minor part of being human; it is basic to who we are” (Seidman 4). This idea is one of the public weaknesses that the major corporations can manipulate during advertising leaving a person to wonder why and if the idea of sex really sells. The issue is women are the only ones who seem to be sexual in advertising further creating concerns focused around the idea that sex isn’t the only thing being sold.
One form of advertising that is highly focused on the idea of sex selling is the magazine industry because it has to capture the public’s attention mainly with images. While looking through many types of magazines one can see sexual examples of this; most of which don’t have anything to do with the product. For example an ad in the August issue of Essence has a picture of a Nissan Altima, an attractive lady with her cleavage out expressing herself with a seductive look, and a slogan stating, “Haven’t you been searching for the total package?” (Essence 22). An average person would look at this and attach the idea of sex appeal and the view of being complete to a Nissan Altima. The Marxists would claim that this is just a fantasy that the corporate economy uses to sell goods and services. This type of advertising works because people are no longer seeing sex only as a way of reproduction, but as a way of acquiring pleasure. Another ad that sticks out is the Calvin Klein ad for perfume which has a lady wrapped in what looks like a sheet that is barley covering her breast leaving one to only imagine them selves creating this same image by buying the product. From a Marxist view the argument would be that corporations are only using sex for one thing and that is to create a desire in the consumer to buy products. They feel that the consumers, “style, grooming, or body piercing can communicate who we are or how we want others to think of us” (Seidman 17) so why not use this to their advantage to create an ideal self that people will buy. In many of the ads in this magazine there is an idea of creating attractiveness, desire, love, and a...

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