Sex sells in any form of advertising because it immediately engages the audience and establishes a shock factor aiding towards the consumers ability to retain the images and messages being promoted. This tactic is employed to provoke action from the audience but studies have proven that often the sexualised images are retained and not the brand message which is commonly not the objective of these sexualised campaigns.
Increasingly it is women used within erotic promotion particularly when associated with animals. Females are frequently advertised as a piece of meat reiterated in the image below advertising Pamela Anderson in association with PETA who increasingly use sex to sell their messages.
Although PETA’s message is clear in this print advertisement indicating there is little difference between the organs of animals and humans so why save one over the other? The image itself clearly objectifies females promoting Ms Anderson in a seductive position. It is evident that sexual equality within promotions isn’t present. If sex sold to everyone marketing content containing both genders would be more prevalent. Lisa Wade a writer for Society Pages states “we’re selling men’s sexual subjectivity and women as a sex object. That is, the idea that man’s desires are centrally important and meaningful, and women’s are not because women are the object to men’s subjectivity.”
PETA’s main objective is to promote animal rights but advertising women as a piece of meat undermines their main intentions and tarnishes brand image. It is suggesting the only way they can gain their target audiences attention is to advertise women in sexualised positions devaluing them as humans beings. Additionally the promotion of positive body acceptance is frequently overlooked by PETA as well in these campaigns. Even though animals come in all shapes and sizes the females promoting animals rights are often young, petite with large breasts. This implies that the advertisements are predominantly targeted towards men and are presenting a concerning message towards females – that being vegetarian is the only way to be skinny and beautiful which was how several females surveyed in Gaarder’s study reacted to the campaigns. Body Image pressures have become a growing issue in our current society as the need to be ‘perfect’ and retain a certain figure especially for females has become increasingly publicised and endorsed by influential figures such as Kim Kardashian whose body has clearly been altered through surgical procedures as indicated below.
By more organisations employing these strategies this impacts on how women view themselves and the expectations placed on them. Several studies have indicated “women exposed to sexist TV ads perceived that their actual body size was larger and that there was a larger discrepancy between their actual and ideal body size (preferring to be thinner than one’s perceived actual body size).”
This raises numerous concerns with PETA’s marketing goals reinforcing a connection between thinness and a vegetarian lifestyle. Furthermore it also reiterates the negative stereotypes inflicted on males suggesting that the only way to gain a males attention about a serious issue is to first dangle a naked or semi-naked female in front of him indicating how little respect PETA places on males and their social awareness resulting in cheap, sexualised material to promote a serious message. Coincidentally advertisements frequently depict males as idiotic creatures further emphasising this claim as Sydney Morning Herald journalist Charles Purcell recognises males are depicted as morons in advertising suggesting they are the stereotypical blue collar working man unworthy of respect and feeble minded in terms of investing.
Numerous studies have indicated that brand information is less likely to be recalled when promoted through erotic advertisements, therefore indicating that PETA’s promotional strategies more than likely do not achieve their intended purpose of protecting the rights of animals. Instead it seems they are tarnishing their brand reputation amongst several female consumers, devaluing women and promoting inequality within their sexualised tactics.