Sex In Advertising: Manipulation Gone Too Far

834 words - 4 pages

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 advertising is not a battle to be picked. The gesture may appear as an attempt to level the sexism present in advertising, but it proves to be undignified, at best. Just because women have been objectified to bring a profit and sell products doesn't mean it's okay for men to be depicted in the same way. The chiming of that well-known childhood scolding of “two wrongs don't make a right” rings loud with this.
I am a true believer in the fact that if a product is good, people will buy it. Although, I cannot ignore the extensive evidence that certain forms of advertisement are effective in marketing a product—especially the use of a sexy image to attract...

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