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World of Advertising: Does Sex Sell?

Advertising has aged from a more modest ground to currently – provocative, controversial and shocking. The world is becoming more liberal with their views and advertisements are often coming up with greater shock values than before. In the 21st century, we see a rise in advertising pertaining, suggesting and provocating sexual innuendos and contents. The real question is: does sex sell?




Sexuality is becoming a commonplace in the world of advertising, and this is no surprise. As people are becoming more liberal in their thoughts, they become more acceptable of such reference in the media. After all, sexuality is a personal and intimate notion that everyone can relate to. From unassumingly subtle to highly suggestive and explicit, advertisers aim to use sex as a personable tool for others to relate to their products.





Other than its relatability, sex also aims to create a admirable standing through clever product placements. Look at Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, Victoria Secret and Calvin Klein. Associating hot bods and hunks with their products, these retail brands aim to attract similar crowds through brand identity, as well as for aspiring individuals to buy their products.


(Singtel MRemit video, slammed by netizens online has since become an unlisted video on YouTube. General public are unable to search for the video unless they have the link to access it.)

Sex, despite the forward-moving world, is still considered a behind-the-doors notion and largely a taboo, especially in the Asian countries. Employing the bane and general attitude of the public towards it, Sex becomes a method to evoke distaste and shock value.

The perception of sex is not going to change overnight, and the prevalence of sex and its entities will continue to flourish in the world of advertising. With creative ideas on how to nuance these sexual innuendos into advertisements to twist it into a tease and wry humor, sex does sell and it will brighten up the conventional advertising world, at least for this generation.

Writer: Leong Chee Sheng

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