Sixes and Fours. IPL Season 6.
From a 4 day sport to 4 hour show, Cricket has evolved much in the last few decades. Yes, watching MSD, Chris Gayle and other players tossing the ball out of the boundary and blasting away from the stadium is a sheer fun. Sixes Sells in Cricket.
I’m not gonna explain you the evolution in cricket further(and TYK I’m not a big fan of cricket either! but once I had to keep myself updated on every instance of cricket happening around, just because my old career role of being a RadioJock wanted a passion in cricket in the job-qualifying-check-list. And I had to fake the passion!)
Whenever someone asks me some random question on cricket. My answer was the same, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Not until last week. A good friend of mine called me up and asked if I could make it to Bangalore to witness a live IPL t20 match in the massive, crowded stadium.
I know my answer, but right before I could finish my reply, he said he’s got an offer I couldn’t refuse to, he said, “I’m sure we’re having a clear view on the cheer-girls in the stadium, so bring your monoculars(you are right!) along..”
I still said no. But in a nicer way, like “Sorry bro.. I’m not sure If I could make it.. You guys have fun..”
And days after refusing the offer and not feeling so guilt upon refusing it, my mighty mind has stuck with a question. I asked it myself, “there are way to many reasons to watch a cricket match live on the stadium, but why the hell did he put that cheer-girl-view-point on the first place to attract me?”, “Is this just because he could think I would agree for some erotic imagery?”, “Or is this how any guy would invite another guy for watching a live match in stadium?”
If so why?
It is because SEX sells.
Sex is the best seller in this era of fake-the-thing-the consumers-want-to-be world. This feature of sex in advertising is that the imagery used, such as that of pretty women in minimum costuming, typically has no connection to the product being advertised. The purpose of the imagery is just to attract the attention of the potential customer or user.
Attract! Attract the potential consumer! Just like Peacocks dance with their magnificent feathers to attract their females.
Attractions and how magnetic is sex attracting the potential consumers?
No doubts. Marketers find it a cakewalk to sell their products if they have some cheeky, titillating content on their commercials.
Gallup & Robinson, an advertising and market research firm, has reported that in more than 50 years of testing advertising effectiveness, it has found the use of the erotic to be a significantly above-average technique in communicating with the marketplace. Sex is a Code Red advertising technique; handle with care, seller beware; all of which makes it even more intriguing. “sex sells”.
In contemporary mainstream consumer advertising like magazines, television and billboards), sex is present in promotional messages for a wide range of branded goods. Ads feature provocative images of well-defined women (and men) in revealing outfits and postures selling clothing, alcohol, beauty products, and fragrances.
Advertisers such as Calvin Klein, Victoria’s Secret(ahem!), and Pepsi use these images to cultivate a ubiquitous sex-tinged media presence. Also, sexual information is used to promote mainstream products not traditionally associated with sex.
As many consumers think, sex is used to grab a viewer’s attention but this is a short-term success. Whether using sex in advertising is effective depends on the product. About three-quarters of advertisements using sex to sell the product are communicating a product-related benefit, such as the product making its users more sexually attractive.
A 2005 research by MediaAnalyzer has found that less than 10% of men recalled the brand of sexual ads, compared to more than 19% of non sexual ads; a similar result was found on women (10.8% vs. 22.3%). It is hypothesized by that survey, that this is a result of a general numbing caused by sexual stimuli.
In another experimental study conducted on 324 undergraduate college students in America, Bushman examined brand recall for neutral, sexual or violent commercials embedded in neutral, sexual or violent TV programs. He found that found brand recall was higher for participants who saw neutral TV programs and neutral commercials versus those who saw sexual or violent commercials embedded in sexual or violent TV programs.
Some sexually oriented advertisements provoke a backlash against the product. In 1995, Calvin Klein’s advertising campaign showed teenage models in provocative poses wearing Calvin Klein underwear and jeans. The ads were withdrawn when parents and child welfare groups threatened to protest and some stores did not want themselves associated with the ads. It was reported that the Justice Department was investigating the ad campaign for possible violations of federal child pornography and exploitation laws.
But not to forget that the same brand CalvinKlein, has been at the forefront of this movement. Calvin Klein’s first controversial jeans advertisement showed a 15-year-old Brooke Shields, in Calvin Klein jeans, saying, “Want to know what gets between me and my Calvin’s? Nothing.”
May be, sex really sells. But what the hell is happening in this you-are-what-endorse world. Is this really a healthy trend?
How prevalence is this flesh display?
Over the past two decades, the use of increasingly explicit sexual imagery in consumer-oriented print advertising has become almost commonplace.
“Let us prove to the world,” wrote William Bernbach(an American advertising creative director, one of the three founders of the international advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach.) in his 1949 manifesto for the “creative revolution,” “that good taste, good art, good writing can be good selling.”
Well explained! Where is the good taste now? What’s thee potential consumer craving for?
Here is a list of Top 100 most effective advertising of the century, out of the 100, only 8 involved use of sex.
Let’s talk desi now!
India, a land of rich and harmonious diversity. The cultures, views, languages and dialects vary for every 50 miles you drive.
Bollywood was once like,
Vijay: Aaj mere paas bangla hai, gadi hai, paisa hai…. tumhare paas kya hai?
Ravi: Mere paas Maa hai!
But now bollywood, tollywood, malluwood(ahem!), kollywood, sandalwood and in every wood stuck corner, there are many selling points to make a movie a hit!
The best device amongst them is, erotic imagery (a.k.a.) show-what-she-got (a.k.a.) item song (a.k.a.) erotic (a.k.a.) scene (a.k.a.) nudity (a.k.a.) bit (a.k.a.) English kissing (a.k.a.) or by any other local dialect they wish to code the code RED, Indian consumers and audience are well marketed with this tried and tested formulae.
For instance, lets take Fastrack, a brand belonging to Titan Industries ltd. A new commercial of fastrack says “Live In.. Move On..” May be not so anti-social slogan for this 9000 crore company to promote or endorse the living-in culture, but this is not anything new for the marketers here.
Right from their first creative billboard campaign which shouted “f*****ck”:
to another controversial campaign “Don’t stare at my t**s” and “Grab some t**s”.
to this day, I’ve wondered why isn’t there no other option of selling things.. is it just because sex sells?
Why is Titan Industries ltd, a company in which Tamilnadu government has 27.88% of share holding is using erotic imagery to sell things??
My father’s first watch was a Titan. His second one was a titan too. He now uses another titan. The way his brand recall to titan is so much different from what fastrack wants to be recalled for.
Brands target youth. They try to speak their lingos. The one thing they believe every common youth can be targeted is with the help of Code RED of marketing.
Thus, they sell.
And not to forget to mention another mighty campaign, the AXE effect.
If Axe spent it’s marketing budgets to it’s R&D budget, it would’ve been really a better product by today.
So, what with my conclusion?
I stand along William Bernbach, I believe that a good taste, a good art and a good writing can be a good selling.
And Bernbach was also quoted saying this, and thus falls my conclusion.
“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.”
And finally I’m including a Calvin and Hobbes’ 1985 comic strip to sum it up.