People's activities are driven by passions, desires, needs, inborn instincts, hidden and obvious motives. Advertising is to spur people into action, to bring forth certain attitude and associations with products and their manufacturers. There is no more powerful tool for that than influence over inner motives which stir up people's emotions and propel them to certain action.
One of the most powerful motives is sexual. Some people believe that advertising with sexual elements is focused primarily on men, rather than on women. However, the researches proved this belief to be wrong. A high percent of advertisements with sexual elements is printed in magazines for women, and these ads are very popular. Advertising that uses sexual motives is divided in two categories:
- with open visual and verbal symbols;
- with hidden sexual psychological symbols.
An unconcealed sexual advertising involves one of the most powerful human drives. It promises pleasure, for example from food or fast drive, comparable to that of sex; or it promises the person to become more sexually attractive, for example wearing certain clothes or using certain perfumes.
Calvin Klein, for instance, with help of such advertising succeeded in moving jeans from the category of work or casual clothes to sexually attractive and trendy garment, though the advertisements themselves encountered strong opposition from the certain segment of society.
On the other hand, there are plenty of psychological symbols representing subconscious sexual motives. Their usage in advertising stimulates consumers' subconscious motives and makes the advertising more effective.
During one of the researches the consumers, both male and female, were offered two advertisements of the same product. One of them was nicely designed, while another contained hidden sexual symbols. The second ad raised the interest and desire to buy the product in both male and female audience by 70 and 80 percent respectively.
Advertising that uses sexual motives, either obvious or hidden, has to contain minimum of text and maximum of graphics. It must not be overloaded with information as sexual desire does not require much thinking. It may also contain certain gestures, facial expressions and body positions related subconsciously to sex or flirting.
Sexual drive is one of the strongest human drives, so appealing to it in obvious or hidden forms reinforces the effect of the advertising.