the ludlow group blog

How Far is Too Far?

In a society where sex sells and celebrities like Lady Gaga inundate the mass media, it sometimes feels like pushing the boundaries is the only way to get noticed. The idea of using sexuality to promote a product is nothing new, but as the years go on, it seems as though the now-you’ve-gone-too-far line keeps getting pushed further and further back. With that in mind, some companies are using increasingly graphic visuals to cash in on sex appeal.

Durex Fetherlite Ultima, "Oral"

Tom Ford Fragrance for Men

Bare skin isn’t the only in-your-face tactic used these days. Sometimes a subject matter is so intense in itself, that it may just naturally lend itself to a heavier statement-making campaign. In these ads, sex appeal isn’t used to get your attention, but instead, the blunt and unreserved imagery.

Humans for Animals, "Seal"

Casa Do Menor, "Hands"

AIDES, "Scorpion"

While the above ads bring light to important issues, and therefore may be more widely accepted, some ads use explicit visuals without the moral cause to back them up. Often in these cases, the ad overshadows the actual product and garners attention for all the wrong reasons.

Caribu Bitter, "Canari"

Federici, "Immaculately Conceived"

What do you think – How far is too far? Are people really paying attention to the message, or are they too distracted by the powerful visuals? And does the subject matter behind the ad ultimately determine the answer?

all images courtesy of © ads of the world
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About sophialudlowgroup

The Ludlow Group Blog is an advertising blog where you'll find posts on social media, design, marketing, ad campaigns, photography and architecture

One comment on “How Far is Too Far?

  1. SAM
    February 7, 2012

    IF THE OBJECT OF A PRODUCT AD IS TO ACTUALLY *SELL* THE PRODUCT, ADS SUCH AS THESE MAY DO LITTLE TO ADVANCE THAT OBJECTIVE:

    * THE AD ITSELF BECOMES THE OBJECT OF INTEREST AND DISCUSSION. THE
    PRODUCT BECOMES SECONDARY, IF EVEN THAT.

    * THE PRODUCT BECOMES ‘TAINTED’ – WHO WANTS TO BUY A FRAGRANCE
    THAT APPEARS TO GO ON YOUR CROTCH?

    * YOU REALLY NEVER KNOW WHICH DEMOGRAPHIC AN AD MAY OFFEND. THESE
    ADS MAY LOSE THE VERY TARGET AUDIENCES THEY WERE SEEKING. MANY
    PEOPLE MAY FEEL THAT CERTAIN GROUPS ARE BEING EXPLOITED FOR THE
    BASE PURPOSE OF “SELLING” SOMETHING, AND SO NOT BUY A PRODUCT
    THEY OTHERWISE MIGHT HAVE PURCHASED.

    * THERE ARE SOME IMAGES THAT SHOULD NOT BE SHOWN. PERIOD. EVEN IF
    YOU CAN’T DEFINE THEM INITIALLY,YOU KNOW THEM WHEN YOU SEE THEM.

    * ULTIMATELY, THE QUESTIONS BECOME: WHAT EXACTLY ARE
    THESE ADS SELLING, AND DOES THE MESSAGE(PRODUCT) GET LOST IN THE
    MEDIUM?

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