I believe that sex can be used to sell anything (even beer goggles). Not because I’m jaded or cynical (which I am), or because I’m a pervert (which I’m not), but because I’ve seen it first hand. I came across this on Andrew P’s blog and here’s what he had to say about:

Everyone in advertising knows that condom ads are easy to do. Well, everyone in advertising likes to say condom ads are easy to do.

I think that condom ads are easy to do for the same reason that sex can be effectively used to sell anything: sex is the only commodity that doesn’t need to be sold, so it can be used to sell anything else by virtue of mere association. So while the art of the condom ad seems to be to simply remind people of the risks of acting on their biological imperative, the art of using sex to sell is pretty much just drawing a plausible association between using a product and fulfilling that biological imperative. Some examples:

  • Fresh breath improves the experience of kissing you.
  • Expensive possessions make you seem like an able earner and, by implication, an intelligent person, and intelligence is desirable.
  • Lifestyle products make you seem sophisticated, and sophistication is also a desirable trait.
  • I can go on all day, but this is so intuitively self-evident that it would be redundant to do so. Conversely, it’s all so intuitively self-evident, it’s a wonder that sex-based marketing has the effect on us it does. I guess that sexuality is just so fun, we don’t mind if its used to manipulate us.

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