What is Overly-Sexual?
Everywhere we turn there are many ad and/or PR campaigns depicting a certain situation. Brands like Calvin Klein and Victoria Secret are known to be overly sexual, but what constitutes as overly sexual? Is it too much skin? Is it the idea of sex? How do we know we’ve crossed the line?
To me, the idea of sex sells is completely true, a pretty face and a nice body creates something nice to look at, but there are certain norms that should be followed and the consequences of those actions should be discussed.
Women tend to be represented of one or two way: 1) sexy and confident or 2) sweet and innocent. Is there an in between? Of course, there is, but most of the ones I recall tend to be either of these.
Men are portrayed as handsome and strong ready to save a damsel in distress or as a fat lazy male who can’t get out of the couch, mostly the former. It is no secret that women are more sexualized than men so when we do see an ad that sexualizes a male we tend to not pay much attention. Why? Because we start to think of all the ways women are portrayed.
The stereotypes usually depend on the period the ad is set in, for example, an ad set in the 1950 portrays a woman with perfectly manicured nails, hair in an up-do in the kitchen or out in a fancy car with her dapper husband.
As Ad and PR professionals, we should put ourselves in the place of our audience. If we were them, how would this ad or campaign make me feel. Who is your audience? Does this represent your brand? Or is it just for attention? Ask yourself, is this risky or straight-up inappropriate. There is nothing wrong with being sexy, but it about how your audience and the public will react. If you’re Calvin Klein, they are probably expecting it, there would be backlash but that is who you are, but if you are H&R Block sexualizing an ad, who does that appeal to? Know your audience.