Monday, August 30, 2004

Does sex sell?

Study urges less sex in marketing

Young urban trendsetters around the world are growing bored with sexually explicit advertising and can be better reached with more wholesome marketing appeals, a new study says.

The study by HeadLightVision, a trends analysis arm of marketing company WPP, suggests that many young adults are trying to reclaim their innocence through “play...silliness and family-style togetherness.”

Examples of the trend include the popularity of bingo and board games at trendy bars, the embrace of childlike fashions, and respect among young people for “computer geeks” and skateboarders.

The agency says advertisers should respond by playing along with the younger set, emphasizing feelings of nostalgia or kitch, or crafting commercials that are seductive rather than explicit.

To Technoflak's ear the phrase play along with the younger set sounds a little creepy. Good public relations starts with respect for your public.

Nothing says our copy writers have run out of ideas like an advertising campaign based on sex. It is particularly inappropriate in business to business selling, where you need to convey the idea of building your customers' profits.

Beyond that, Technoflak can only say that stereotype of computer geeks as sexless is not one that the technically inclined are likely to appreciate, and the idea that skateboarders are more sexually innocent than any other group of young people is not one that would have previously presented itself.

Somehow Technoflak is unable to dismiss the thought that WPP has misread the results of its own survey.

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