The Erotic History of Advertising

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Prometheus Books, Apr 6, 2010 - Business & Economics - 300 pages
...a number of fascinating anecdotes...well-documented and fully illustrated...an interesting study in excess and American values. -Blue Ridge Business Journal...explores [sex in advertising] with zest, acuity, and almost suppressed humor...engagingly informative...sparkling social history.-ForeWord...will satisfy the standards of professionals¨academic or commercial...This is obligatory stuff for anybody in the business...a delightfully provocative read for anyone who is the target of advertising¨anyone, today, who is not actually serving life tenure in a monastery.÷-Baltimore SunVictoria's Secret and Calvin Klein are brand names practically synonymous with sexually suggestive advertising. Considering their high public profile and huge profits, anyone can see that sex sells. Despite polls indicating that the public would like to see less sex in advertising, Americans don't mean what they say. They continue to respond to the lure of provocative marketing and, most important to business, they buy. Knowing this, more and more advertisers are testing the limits of public taste in the highly competitive battle to capture the consumer's attention.All of this is well documented in Tom Reichert's profusely illustrated book, The Erotic History of Advertising. As Reichert amply demonstrates, the use of sex in advertising is far from being a recent fad. As long ago as the 1880s, Duke Cigarettes enclosed in their packs--not baseball cards--but similar small cards showing scantily clad women of the stage, which encouraged purchasers to keep buying to complete the whole set. In the 1920s Woodbury soap became the market leader largely through ads with images of romantic situations and claims that Woodbury soap made a woman's skin irresistible to the touch. In the 1930s White Owl cigars had great success in marketing through ads showing attractive couples locked in a passionate kiss, suggesting that only White Owls left the breath smelling pleasant. Warner Lambert capitalized on the same kind of imagery for decades to connect Listerine mouthwash with romantic success.With numerous illustrations showing many erotic ads--some campy, some esthetically elegant, some homoerotic--that push the boundaries of sexuality and taste from over a century of product marketing, Reichert not only tracks the history of sex in advertising but also explores the many factors that make the link between sex and our consumer culture so successful. Among other things, he considers the range of salacious imagery, from mildly suggestive to the use of outright nudity; the emotional impact of sexy ads; the influence of sex on brand recognition; what works and what doesn't; the differences between male and female responses; and the possible harms of using sex in advertising, especially in regard to young audiences and the perpetuation of female stereotypes.This thoughtful, enjoyable, and fascinating look into the world of advertising--from the late 1800s to the most erotic ads of today--will appeal to both media-savvy consumers and aficionados of pop culture.Tom Reichert, Ph.D., an Advertising Professor at the University of Alabama, has dedicated ten years to studying the prevalence of sex in advertising and its effect on persuasion. He has published on this topic in many scholarly journals, is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Advertising, and is the lead editor and a contributor to Sex in Advertising: Perspectives on the Erotic Appeal.
 

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The Erotic History of Advertising

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"Sex sells" is a potent theme in the advertising industry, and Reichert (advertising, Univ. of Alabama) describes how sex and sensual images have been used through history to market a variety of ... Read full review

Contents

Acknowledgments
7
AGE OF INNOCENCE? THE EARLY YEARS
45
Passion Plays 19001925
67
Show and Sell 19251950
97
Intimate Intimations 19501975
133
REACHING MATURITY? CONTEMPORARY CAMPAIGNS
167
Packaged Goods Intimates and Underwear
169
Designer DesireJeans
203
Arousing Aspirations Lifestyle Apparel and HighFashion
231
Aromatic Aphrodisiacs Fragrance
253
Prurient Potions Beer Spirits Soft Drinks and Coffee
292
One Degree of Separation Condoms Videos and VD
324
PC Envy Internet Advertising and Beyond
354
Notes
370
Index
394
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Tom Reichert, Ph.D., an Advertising Professor at the University of Alabama, has dedicated ten years to studying the prevalence of sex in advertising and its effect on persuasion. He has published on this topic in many scholarly journals, is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Advertising, and is the lead editor and a contributor to Sex in Advertising: Perspectives on the Erotic Appeal.

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