Well, this post is probably going to offend someone. Nearly any time you talk about sex you run the risk of offending. However, I had to just take a moment to address this issue. I was invited to seminar that was part of a series of seminars that I paid some good money for and the invitation to the session said "I know branding does not sound sexy."
I can't help but think that this must have been a typo. Branding not sexy? Branding positions are some of the sexiest jobs ever. However, the author of this message is young and has made his fame by understanding social media and search engine optimization and there is a chance that our younger generation doesn’t know how sexy brand building has been.
When you build a brand you are really building an image. A product or organizational image exists whether you like it or not. And, you either have some brand equity for “sex appeal” or you can even go negative (be unattractive).
Let’s think about it with cars. Now, different people find different cars sexy. It is said that women often think about how they would look riding in a car of someone they are interested in dating. So, if you are driving a Mercedes it is likely sexier than a Studebaker wagon. However, it depends on your segments too. If you are looking to attract a gothic surfer girl who’s dad like old cars, then the Studebaker wagon might be more attractive to your choice. Know your segmentation and who they follow. There has even been some successful Subaru “ask don’t tell” advertising targeting diverse audiences – and they got four-wheel-drive traction with their ads where the rubber hits the road.
These change over time as well. They also change depending on your product or service. If your product is aspirational then it is likely that “sex” is something that will help to sell your brand. Think celebrity endorsement.
Research supports the fact that designs and curves of shapes for products that are rated more “sexy” have the same mathematical curves as sexy people. Said another way, people who are perceived as sexy have sexy shapes and cars that are sexy also have sexy shapes. Additionally, words and people have been associated with cars to make them sexy. This is very sexy branding for teenage boys when a sexy girl(s) are associated with “exotic sports cars.” Celebrities and their interest in clean technologies and Hybrids have made these products more fashionable. Fashionable is another word for chic and chic is a word strongly associated with sex. She she la la, is the sound that attractive young girls’ skirts make while they go by old men on the The Champs-Élysées. Don’t let your marketing stop before reaching the Arc de Triomphe – work on irresistible (sounds better with a French accent).
It has been shown that men actually have hormonal changes when looking at “sexy marketing.” I’d also argue that the Dallas Cowboys owe some of their popularity to the “sex driver.” Specifically, I’m talking about how the “independent variable” of “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders” impacts loyalty towards “America’s Team.” (Note the American Marketing Association in Portland is offering some insight into the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader’s brand November 10th).
Woman are targeted with sexy people selling fitness equipment, beauty products, and Diet Coke. What sexy ad do you think of when you think of sexy ads? It depends on what ads are running at the time and these images that advertising leaves in one’s mind, can fade over time. In years past, Coke had sexy ads, prior to that it was Old Spice that dominated in some circles. Recent Super Bowl advertising analyses suggest that “Go Daddy’s” ads which featured a certain celebrity Indy Car driver are quite attention getting. The founder of Go Daddy suggests that some are offended, but many of those who are offended are not so offended because they buy his products!
To re-charge that famous old Madison Avenue catch phrase “sex sells.” In fact, sexy sells so well that “sexy” ads can sell things to you that may kill you. Cigarettes are the “text book example.” Social media and “new age marketers” may have some trouble believing sex sells. They may not even know what the “tweet” I’m talking about because they feel like they are “impervious” to something as tricky as using sex to sell them. The big brands actually are counting on this. Who do you think of as a competitor to Go Daddy? You may know of other solutions, however, if you know of just one that competes with Go Daddy you probably know of Go Daddy too. As sure at Christy Brinkley sells Total Gyms, it’s a fact that sex appeal is a potential brand builder. Social media itself is dominated by attractive images. Be careful of the teenage boy in New Jersey who has an attractive female Twitter image just to grab followers J Bottom line = branding is sexy whether you like it or not.