Does sex have to sell everything?

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Does sex have to sell everything?

by on February 29, 2012 · 9 comments

In the last few weeks two campaigns have been going viral on You Tube from REN skincare and PETA.

Let’s look at REN Skincare first who released an 18+ short film ‘Love Clean Skin’ on their website. If you haven’t seen it I’ll give you a brief synopsis: An attractive Swedish couple get it on in the lake while traditional American gospel song Down in the River to Pray is playing Country singer Alison Krauss made the song popular in the Cohen Brothers film ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou’ which incidentally is one of my favourite films. It’s the clear whoever created the REN advert ‘borrowed’ the concept from this part of the film. REN have obviously taken it a step further but you get the idea. So aside from the music and film lesson what’s my point?

I admit that the REN video is beautifully shot, although I would expect to see it in a cinema advertising condoms before an R rated film and not freely available on their website. I do wonder if campaigns like this entice people to buy their skincare? And whatever happened to making a quality product that sells itself? Why does REN have to resort to the lowest common denominator to peddle their face wash?

Next up is new PETA ‘Boyfriend Went Vegan’ campaign. I only have a few things to say about this one. First off ewww, why do I want to see this manky couple? The girl wears just her panties, bra, and an army jacket to go get her fella some veg after they have a vigorous session that puts her in a neck brace. The idea being he’s now a stud in the bedroom after going Vegan….yeah and I’m never going to step inside another Bath & Body Works!

While I’m all for cheeky double entendres in adverts like one above for Crosbys, I think REN and especially PETA are taking the easy way out to sell their product/cause. They are also contributing to the ever growing over sexualised messages for things that have nothing to do with sex. I’m not a marketing genius but surely there is a better way to get their message across.

So what do you think? Am I over-reacting to some harmless campaigns? Share your opinions below!

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  • { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    Suzanne February 29, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I agree that it’s completely gone too far. Doubly silly with something like REN when a huge percentage of thier target market is female – do the ladies REALLY fall for this? I kindof enjoy skincare/beauty because it’s something that doesn’t particularly involve men at all! Like a big girls club.

    ReplyMarch 2, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Yes I like being part of the big girls club too. And tbh I didn’t even think that yeah for the most part their target audience is women so why would this video make us their skincare? Thanks for the input hun! xoxo

    Replygio February 29, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I agree things have gone too far too. I think that if a product is good and a cause worthwhile, then they don’t need sex to sell. When I see ads like these, I just assume that the product isn’t good enough, otherwise why the need to use sex? Besides, being a woman, I’m not really interested in seeing other women in skimpy outfits and things like that, that may work with some men but it’s not what makes us women buy a product.Unfortunately the association between sex and selling is so strong in our culture, then companies sadly don’t know any other way to sell a product. and can’t see that, if they treated their customers with respect instead than feeding them this crap, their sales and image will benefit from it.

    ReplyMarch 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Well said Gio I totally agree with you. It’s strange that most of the adverts for perfume, clothing, shoes, and cosmetics have half naked women in them but the products are aimed at women. I think cosmetics companies are still under the impression that we want to look good to try and snare a man rather than just looking nice for ourselves? We can’t win! xoxo

    Replyihavemostlybeen February 29, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I don’t think they are using sex to sell the product. I think the sex element is there to raise brand awareness and it works! I have read several blog posts on the REN campaign, prior to this whilst I was aware of REN their products were never really on my radar, now forever REN products will trigger that “oh yea, them” reaction for me and I suspect lots of other people, whether thats an “oh yea, them – cool video” or an “oh yea, them – tasteless bunch” the brand awareness is still there – job done! People don’t have to positively embrace the way you get your message across, they just have to be aware of your message and what better way of achieving that than by courting controversy? xx

    ReplyMarch 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    That is true Deb and of course I’m looking at it from a person who has already used a few of their products and was disappointed so the video was lost on me as far as brand awareness. In such a massive marget such cosmetics/skincare you have stand out somehow, although I think they could have done something a bit different. If they have improved their skincare I’d love to know!

    Replysam February 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I must admit that I never normally take much notice of adverts that allude to sex or have sexual innuendos. They never bother or offend me and some times I even laugh! I watched the R.E.N advert and to be honest I think they went too far. It’s almost like they got stuck at how to sell the product. I am sure there are better ways to get brand association without using a couple getting down to it, and also I don’t get the ‘ must buy’ urge by seeing a man’s bat and balls… A half naked Davis Beckham maybe but I think even the sight of his man bits would put me off.

    Sam x

    ReplyMarch 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Oh Sam you nearly made my coffee come out of my nose with ‘bat & balls’ ! Well David probably has his bits waxed that would be enough to put me off too!

    I don’t get offended if sex is used to sell something sex related or adult but I get a bit sick of everyday items being turned into porn *cue the spam*. The Cravendale adverts with cats and opposable thumbs was great it makes me want to buy their milk!

    Thanks for you comments hun!

    ReplyTine March 5, 2012 at 4:16 am

    I definitely think it’s gone too far. A few weeks ago I received a press release from a new brand of cosmetics. Believe it or not, they named it Orgasm Cosmetics. Their tagline? “Sex sells”. I didn’t know whether to be amused or flabbergasted.

    I watched the REN video, and although it was beautifully shot, I didn’t see the relevance with the skincare brand. I reckon it’s just a stunt to go viral for the brand to reach more people.