Psychosexual motives as an advertising tool
Published by Alla Babin, Bizi Marketing Solutions
I've already developed some kind of immune reaction to cunning resourceful advertising tricks. Let's pretend that I need to buy a good eau de cologne for men, just because the old one has finished. In the other words, my need for this product turned from its latent state into urgent need that required immediate satisfaction. So, my passive desire to possess something has transformed into an active behaviour, i.e. search for and purchase of the product. This means that in the next few days I will pay increased attention to the corresponding advertising messages, or, using marketing lexicon, I will become the targeted audience for advertisements of this particular object of consumption.
And... here we go: "This eau de cologne has refined inimitable in its beauty fragrance" -- says one advertising. Well... maybe that's true. Another company whispers: "Our eau de cologne will make your skin radiate elasticity." This also can be true and I have nothing against this. But when they start telling me that "this fragrance charms women". On my TV screen I see a dozen of young attractive female species who are intensely licking all over the happy owner of this eau de cologne. I understand that it's just a banal psychological cheating and I will never buy something that is being advertised in this manner. I don't like when advertisers start using my male complexes and psychosexual instincts to increase their turnover.
Eroticism and sex are used in today's advertising everywhere. If advertising is the engine of commerce, then various psychosexual motives is the engine of advertising. Psychosexual advertising influences our biological instincts and evokes strong emotions. It is considered that this helps to increase sales.
Look at this Samsung's advert. It uses one of the basic psychological methods of advertising business -- provoking of conditioned reflex.
Connecting it with a neutral object
Psychosexual instinct is one of the most powerful biological stimulants. Connecting it with a neutral object you can achieve amazing advertising results. Most of men and a lot of women like to see pretty young girls. It evokes positive emotions. These positive emotions that we experience looking at nice pretty girls is automatically transferred to the logo of well-known brand, which is modestly situated in the top left corner of the advert. It is so called "halo effect" well known in psychology and advertising industry. After seeing this kind of advert numerous times (probably even in different medias), the conditioned reflex will be preserved and kept in your subconsciousness. Very soon you will forget about the pretty girls in the picture and will never recall them. But, sooner or later, you will come to a shop and will see the familiar logo on one of the products... and your reaction to this product will be a priori positive, so that you will be more likely to purchase this brand and not it's competitor.
It doesn't mean that some Mr. Smith, after seeing this advert for 50 times will be sexually attracted to a Samsung DVD player and won't be able to control his emotions if he sees Samsung logo on the window display of a nearby consumer electronics store. It's just that Mr. Smith for some mysterious reason, that he himself cannot understand, will prefer Samsung branded products. They will awaken positive emotions and will be associated with something nice, light, sexual and attractive.
Our conditioned reflexes are at place and working properly for the benefit of advertisers. The connection does work:
familiar logo >> recollection of something positive, attractive, nice (pretty women)
= positive emotions + positive reaction (purchase).
Using the mechanism of conditioned reflex, advertisers often use sexually attractive male and female models. (Not always overly clothed.) Seductive tempting legs, butt cheeks, bosoms, biceps, triceps and other body parts (for every taste) are constantly attacking us from the TV screens, magazines pages, billboards and other advertising media. But how effective are those adverts? Let's see.
Yes, Freud would throw a party and write another book which would probably be called "Practical guide to male complexes."
Just look at this picture. Look, do you really feel nothing? Well, this is a typical example of one more well known trick. Usually (yes, that's what surveys show) this trick has a great influence on the male audience. It is called projective identification. According to Freud identification is a form of emotional connection with an object, which, by means of regression, substitutes the real libidinal connection. Sexual function is transferred from the real object (person) to a symbolic object. In the other words, product advertised in such manner acquires some phallic symbolism and transforms into a symbol of male strength. So that the buyer is not buying cigarettes any more, but a mediated ability to satisfy this very pretty girl from the advertisement. On subconscious level purchasing and smoking of those cigarettes turns into symbolic realisation of sex relations. In this way sexual attributes are projected onto objects that have no relation to sex whatsoever. This is a frequently used, though nasty trick of modern advertising.
Theoretically, this sexual meaning may be attributed to any product dedicated to the male audience. Comment on the second picture says: "ZIPPO will never reject you," implying that if you use Zippo you can always approach the most beautiful women and will never be rejected. Also the trick of halo effect is in play here. Who will never reject you? Zippo? Or the pretty girl from the poster? Or any pretty girl you approach? But only if you use Zippo...
You can find and play around sexual motives in any product advertisement. Look at those ads and just try to imagine what the mechanism of psychological influence used in those ads is.
Some of those adverts are really a piece of art -- they are within the boundaries of good taste, yet erotic and inviting. Some of them are just vulgar and cheap. But there is something that unites all of these and many other adverts -- use of sexual drive, lack of confidence and desire to be accepted by and attractive to beauty. Advertisers basically use human nature and its imperfections to promote all kinds of products and services.
NEXT: Shock Advertising
©2008 : Published by Alla Babin, Bizi Marketing Solutions Full text of the article may be found here