Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How much sex can your brand sell?

Sexual references have been made in advertising for a long time. You could even argue it's a common practice, but until recently, the references were relatively tame. However, that seems to be changing for some- and not Trojan condoms, Viagra or even Victoria Secret- but brands with no business in the bedroom at all.

Beer marketers have long hinted at sexuality to sell its brews. However, Bud Light has turned up the innuendo to a level that leaves a bad taste in the viewers' mouth. In two of their "Tailgate Approved" ads Jimmy Football asks if you "ever have trouble putting on a condiment" and tells you that your tailgate needs more "tail."

Not to be outdone, Burger King dismissed all subtlety with this ad for it's BK Super Seven Incher. But they weren't done. They followed up their popular "Subservient Chicken" website with a U.K. version called "Subservient Shower Girl." The website lets users watch a bikini wearing 20 something sing in the shower every morning at 9:30am. Users can requests songs and pick the bikini's she will wear.

Then there is PepsiCo's Amp Energy drink brand. It recently unveiled it's new downloadable Iphone application called "Amp Up Before You Score." It's a guide that gives you tips on how to hook up with 24 different stereotypes of women. Punk rocker chick? Got it. Sorority girl? Check. Married women? You bet. To top it off you can share your experiences on your "brag list" with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

It's should be obvious that these brand messages in bad taste. However, there may be some justice served when "bad" and "taste" is what we will associate with Bud Light, Burger King, and Amp Energy.


Monica said...

I agree that this leaves a bad taste as far as branding. Unfortunately though, it is attractive to viral media and the strong brands that do this more than likely will not see any negative affect. It gets people talking about their brand and in most cases, will not drive those that disagree with the brand to stop using it. I think it will be interesting to see the results of their campaigns. I know the Amp app stirred up a lot of talk but my guess is that it still increased their sales even with all that disagreed with it.

Alexander said...

Good point with the viral media. It's designed to get circulated through the web (iphone app and website with sharing capabilities). While my post may have come off as a moral stand, it really wasn't the point. My main point was to ask how these ad's reinforce these brands positions in the minds of consumers? None of them do a good job with that which is what they should be doing, not just trying to get people to talk about their products.