Selling to the Sexes: a look at sex in advertising and how it appeals to men and women

Essay by killjoyCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2004

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Sex. It is the angle most used by advertisers these days, and for a good reason: it sells. People, both male and female, are intrigued by and attracted to sex. However, we must be careful in the manner in which we approach it. Men and women view sex in different lights. That is why we must keep our audience in mind when composing an ad. It is the reason why one of our recent ads was successful, and another one wasn't.

The first advertisement was made for our client Calgon, a bath product company, and was featured in Cosmopolitan magazine. It advertises their new fragrance, Hawaiian Ginger Intense. The ad consists of two people, seen from the shoulders up: a woman caressing a man. The woman is attractive, and we see her face. Her eyes are closed and her arm is over the man's shoulder. Her chin rests in the crook of the man's neck, and all we can see of him is the back of his head and shoulders.

On the side of his neck without the woman, there is a large yellow flower.

As advertisers, we were trying to point out the positive effect this fragrance would have on the woman wearing it. It is "an intense new way to wear fragrance," and doing so would make men more attracted to the woman who wears it. We are also trying to give a hint as to what the perfume actually smells like, by having a picture of a bright, cheery flower. This is supposed to convey that the scent is fruity and flowery. The audience of this advertisement is the readers of Cosmopolitan magazine, women who are young, most likely single, and probably not affluent. Cosmopolitan is also a magazine known for its sexual content, so...