Are you fed up of overly sexualised fashion advertising? By now you’ve probably all seen the ads from american apparel that feature semi-naked women trying to entice you to purchase their latest lines. But they’re not the only ones at it. Some of the biggest fashion houses are also in on it, but I want to ask is it really necessary?
Over the festive period I tweeted a link to a game created by italian magazine nssmag titled fashion vs porn (definitely NSFW). The game works as follows: you’re shown a small cropped part of either a fashion advert or a pornographic photo and you have to guess which it is. “Easy!” You might say, but it’s a lot tougher than you think. I managed a feeble 4 correct answers and only increased that to a still pathetic 6 after recruiting my girlfriend to help me. Just when you think you’ve guessed correctly you end up finding out you were totally wrong.
Take a look at this, banned I may add, Tom Ford ad and ask yourself what is it trying to say? Are they likening their fragrance to the aroma of an aroused female’s genitals? Quite possibly not. I have that particular fragrance and can attest it actually smells rather good.
Ok, it’s quite easy to see what they’re doing here, nothing can grab a guys attention quite like a naked woman. Advertising agencies the world over know this. Fanning through his copy of GQ your average Joe is going to take note. We’re that easy to predict.
But it is peculiar when brands use a similar format to try and sell to women. I’m not female, but I’m guessing semi-naked women don’t have the same effect as they do on men. Especially when deciding whether or not you’re going to invest in a brand and purchase their product.
It’s puzzling then that so many brands are choosing to take this approach with their ads featuring women’s clothes. Are they trying to perform some form of Jedi mind trick where they’re hoping women who buy their clothes and wear them will feel as sexy as the women featured in the ads? That’s if you even think they look as though they ‘feel’ sexy in the first place.
You can see I’m reaching here, by stretch armstrong proportions. As I really have no answer for it.
But there are still some adverts in fashion that are interesting and fun, minus the naked women. Take these sale ads from luxury retailer Harvey Nichols. I’m a little biased as I used to work for them. But I always admired the ads they created that really captured the feel of the sale time in a creative a way.
It’s the perfect illustration that fashion ads don’t have to be highly sexualised and full of naked women (or men). Now more than ever, brands that avoid that approach are much more likely to engage and impact their prospective buyers.
I’d love to hear from you what you think about these sorts of adverts?
Have you ever been put off buying from a particular brand because of their over sexualised advertising?
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