The woman’s sexy voice and British accent begins, “Looking for a good time tonight, boys?” The image of a young woman lying across a bed and clad in scanty red underwear and a white t-shirt accompanies the audio. The ad continues to describe the comfort and technological advancements of a brand of men’s underwear and offers 25% off when buyers use the code “STEAMY.”
So far, the spot has planted in the minds of men the idea of wearing high-tech, comfortable underwear and headed for a steamy good time tonight. Then the ad seals the deal: “They’re so comfortable that you’ll never want to take them off—but she will.”
Effective, but Not Original
So often, advertisements directed at guys seriously lack imagination—however, they can very effectively stir guys’ imaginations. Not many experiences get more visceral and emotive than sex. This is an intense, deep-rooted, primal force.
That’s why in a day and age when consumers are more and more skeptical of marketing and businesses, libidinous advertising still works. Sex produces a chemical reaction that promotes emotional connection. In essence, perhaps erotic ads can elicit an emotional connection to a brand or product.
I’m not saying that men will start wanting to marry their underwear. I’m pointing to the fact that emotional advertising is powerful. The ad I described demonstrates the power of emotional words in conjunction with strong imagery to grab the target audience’s attention and create a lasting impression.
As much as I want to turn my nose up at the obvious and uncreative AXE-esque “sex sells” attempt to get my attention, I am a guy. It gets my attention. It’ll get the attention of most men.
But There’s a Branding Lesson Here
Sex is a quick and easy way to get attention and make that emotional connection. But understand that you might alienate other demographics. You risk causing people to perceive your brand as the Las Vegas of your product segment, as undependable, as shameful or as exploitative.
(Consider GoDaddy’s attempt to move away from racy ads to ones that show that the company has “matured” and “evolved.”)
There are other ways to present your brand that create emotional responses without potentially closing the door on important groups of buyers. Take this British Airways campaign for instance:
There’s no arguing that emotion is a successful advertising tool. But think of the long-term perception and image, potential expansion into other segments, the range of target audiences, etc., before you turn your brand into a peepshow.