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Friday, March 2, 2012

Is sex coming back to car advertising in North America?

Sexually suggestive car ads have been absent from North America for some time now. We are talking about mainstream publications here of course. You occasionally see young men and women in various stages of undress in car ads on TV and in magazines. But they are usually surfing, running or playing volley ball -certainly sexy, but a sporty safe distance from feminist outrage. Subaru’s recent sumo wrestler parody of sexy commercials was a brilliant and a very successful campaign. Young pretty models have been also absent from the auto show circuit (except for the aftermarket and accessories booths) and you have to travel to the Far East or some European countries to still see them on display.

Then came the Fiat 500 commercials with Jennifer Lopez. They are borderline racy, but a diva of JLo’s statue can get away with it and so can the company trying to cash in on her sexy looks. During the Super Bowl we saw Fiat, Kia and even Toyota showing some flesh! Toyota played it safe by showing both male and female skin in funny situations. However Kia went all the way showing model Adriana Lima wearing very little and waving a checkered flag in front of the new Optima. Kia even has a video with the model available on YouTube that is… 5 hours long. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=vrW68jCy9pc&NR=1

BMW caused a furor in the advertising circles in North America by using a Greek market ad for used BMW’s. The ad features a head shot of a beautiful young model and a phrase “You know you’re not the first.” A sexually healthy mind would normally find it eye-catching and mildly amusing. But here in puritan North America we think this ad implies that women are objects, like cars. You know: “I’m still in great shape and pretty, even though I’ve been used before” – just like BMW used cars.

I would be very happy if sex comes back to car advertising in North America. It would be nice to pick up a copy of Car and Driver or Motor Trend and see a pretty young woman next to a nice car. Right know pictures of young, healthy looking models seem to be exclusively offered in women’s magazines and splattered on their covers all over supermarkets’ shelves.

1 comment:

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