Advertisers have been using sex appeal and image to sell since the late 1800s. When Maidenform bras started using models in the nude for ads, they quickly became the leading bra company. Sex in advertising sells a product.
Most products that use sexual appeal in advertising have absolutely nothing to do with sex. Sexuality sometimes helps a consumer remember the product, but advertisers have to be careful when using sex appeal and to not overdo it, refraining viewers from the product. An advertiser has to study its audience to know to what extent needs to be used in this type of advertising.
Men are easily drawn into sex appeal, as it is desirable. They are drawn into products that make them women desirable. In Carol Shepherd’s article, The Influence of Sex in Advertising, she stated that “Research has shown that both sexes are almost equally aroused by the nudity exhibited in these advertisements”.
Using sex in advertising sometimes raise ethical questioning. Consumers are influenced to buy the product by thinking they will have the same experiences and results. Using Victoria’s Secret as an example; women are used to sell the product. The attractive models used cause women to feel that if they buy Victoria’s Secret lingerie, they will be as appealing as the models wearing the same thing. Men are drawn in to this type of advertising, and a lot of men will buy Victoria’s Secret products for their significant other just because of the brand name.
Many women believe that men’s perception of beauty is what these models look like, and women strive to be skinny and beautiful like so. Women become unsatisfied with their body and many even go as far as having cosmetic surgeries done. Some women put their own body at risk as far as appearance and they suffer mentally trying to make their bodies look like a model.
There is no question about the fact that sex helps sell a product. Not all products need sexuality to sell and not all people respond to sex in the same way. Advertisers have to be careful not to overuse sexuality in their advertising. They have to study their audience and depending on the product and target audience, will depend on what type of advertising needs to be done. Some believe that certain materials may explicit violence, which can lead to negative reactions and hostility toward women.