Sex Sells?

It’s almost surprising to me that in the course of our ad reviews, no one has brought up the old commercials. I remember these because I was shocked to find out was a domain name site, not a porn site.

This is a commercial from the 2010 SuperBowl. This ad is positioned for heterosexual males. The woman, like those in music videos, is also shown as being always ready to go for sex at the drop of a hat. As noted in “Assimilating the Queers,” “This kind of flirtatious lesbian erotica in advertising might have little to do with lesbianism per se and instead may “mirror those women engaged in lesbian sex in mainstream heterosexual pornography”” (p.7). The massage already carries a slightly erotic undertone, and the eagerness of the masseuse to strip for her customer adds to the pornographic image of heterosexually attractive ‘lesbians.’ The end of the commercial, which advertises more “unrated” (read: pornographic) material online, confirms this, as well as losing the actual purpose of the business along the way.

You would think that this pornographic commercial content would be a risky business move, likely alienating all but the horny heterosexual male viewer, but the fact that it is repeated in so many of the commercials proves just how effective it was at creating traffic for their website, and how readily we as viewers accept this as mainstream advertising culture. Women and sexual minorities are firmly objectified as a tool to gratify and entice the “main” audience of heterosexual males.

Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai. “Assimilating the Queers: Representations of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Mainstream Advertising.” Advertising & Society Review 11, no. 1 (2010) (accessed July 31, 2012).


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