Sexual Innuendos In Advertising

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In this study, we will study the content, reasons and impacts of sexual innuendos in marketing and advertising. Starting from the history of subtle sexual advertising and how its effectiveness led to it being a widely used marketing tool.

Sex in advertising is not a recent phenomenon. In 1850s, tobacco advertisers had nude women’s images printed to differentiate flavors. Courtney and Whipple (1983) described sex in advertising as “Sexuality in the form of nudity, sexual imagery, innuendo, and double entendre… employed as an advertising tool for a wide variety of products”.

Recent trends show that advertisers use sex to sell their products, making consumers more exposed to sex in advertising than ever before. These may include nudity, sexual jokes and any form of suggestiveness to catch the eye of the customers a product is catering to. Nowadays numerous products ranging from clothing to airlines employ some form of sexual content to promote their product. It is also becoming more popular to see commercials containing sexually explicit content, which often target woman. These commercials show women being objectified and taken advantage of by being presented as a “fantasy object.” One very casual use of women is found in the industrial market where they’re taken as calendar girls and other forms of brand advertising.

The increasing popularity is proof enough that sex sells, but the question that lingers is why sex sells and what audience sex appeal mainly targets.

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