To Sell Your Mediocre Product, Just Add Sex

Risqué ads send a message, but maybe not what the marketer intends
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2009 4:42 PM CST

(Newser) – Everyone knows sex sells—everything from Axe body spray to fast food. But behind the fog of marketing, what does it mean that a fast-food chain, for example, chooses Paris Hilton's gyrating form to sell you burgers? That it has nothing better to go on, writes Mark Barrett. Getting brand recognition for an indistinguishable product in a generic market requires a radical step—and near-pornography frequently fits the bill, as it did for Carl's Jr. and its Hilton campaign.

It breaks down to a fundamental rule of marketing: "If sex is used to market a nonsexual product, that product is generic," Barrett writes for Ditchwalk. "Any time you see sex added to a product that is not inherently sexual, you are being told by the company that makes the product that their product is not special or unique in any way."

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