How to get everyone’s attention in less than 10 seconds? The most efficient way is to take off your pants.
Desperate advertisers are using the aforementioned formulae in order to attract audience. It doesn’t matter where you advertise, an advertisement on a billboard, print advertisement in newspaper/magazine, broadcast on television, they all have 10 seconds before the signal turns green, someone flips the page or changes the channel.
Nobody would surf a site that doesn’t solve the purpose in three clicks, nobody is going to stand and stare at a picture to decipher the thousand words it conveys, similarly nobody is going to wait long enough for a commercial to end as they have better things to do (making ACT 2 popcorn during commercials). A world where sex requires no more than 11 minutes (unless you couldn’t last that long), all you have is 10 seconds to beguile the audience.
Brands are coming up with new ingenious ways to make advertisements short, humorous, witty and out of the box. Advertisements are omnipresent; on the right side panel of your facebook wall, the top bar of your gmail inbox, websites, television, billboards, newspapers and magazines. The trick to advertising is to present the brand at the right time to the right audience.
A product meant for the housewives is better advertised between the prime time “Saas-bahu” episodes. Targeting teenagers and workaholics is easier as many social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, orkut (yes it still exists) have come up as a new platform for advertisements but being omnipresent is not enough. The advertising world has switched to their most powerful weapon – nudity, which is bound to attract attention, no matter your age, profession, political or religious views.
But the bigger question is where the buck stops? Who is to draw the line of actual control between vulgarity and art?
Sex has broken the shackles of the four walls of the bedroom. An average man thinks about sex every seven seconds, an average gay man thinks about sex every five seconds, an average horny teenager thinks about sex every other second (at least I did so), and god knows what goes in the head of a women (no offence). Advertising companies have jumped on this brigade of ecstasy and have started selling jeans, deodorants, cosmetics, cashew nuts, cement, water bottle, cold drink almost everything under the ecstatic facade.
“Only Sex and Sharukh Khan Sells”, said Neha Dhupia in year 2004, 6 years later, Sharukh Khan lost his charm but sex is redder than ever.
Surf through any magazine, website, newspaper, channel and billboards, photos of half naked men and women engaged in copulation or equally compromising positions is everywhere. The soft porn of yester years is a way to advertise this year.
Clearly advertisements endorsing products such as condoms, underwear, lingerie and Viagra will exhibit sexual content. A lot of advertisements never made it to the big screen. Many were pulled off the screen as they aroused (not in a good way) a few hard headed audiences. Here is a list of some of the ads that raised a few eyebrows.
- The most salacious of them all, Milind Sonam and Madhu Sapre’s advertisement, wearing nothing but an eight foot long python created sensation. 1995 was a year two naive for two super models wrapped under a python wearing nothing but shoes. Though I couldn’t comprehend the concept of nudity mixed with an endangered species (python) for advertising shoes. If I haven’t done my part of research, looking at the ad, my first guess would have been PETA, python is an endangered species.
- A long time ago, Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson canoodling under the shower for a kamasutra advertisement created controversy. But those were the 90’s, world has changed. In another incident Viveka Babajee and Inder Sudan created uproar in the parliament, for bathing under a waterfall. The then government took it as a direct blow to their manifesto “Roti, Kapda aur Bathroom”. The advertisement was banned from doordarshan; the only prime channel. It is uncertain if nudity increased the sale of condoms but the October 1991 issue of the Debonair magazine was a sell out within a week as they carried ads of newly launched Kamasutra condoms.
- In 1998 came another blow when Dino Moreo was found tugging his then girlfriend Bipasha Basu’s panty with his teeth. The phrase at the bottom read “And you thought your appetite for indulgence could only be whetted by Swiss chocolates". It was too hot to handle and the ad was taken off the billboards. The ad misled people into believing that in case you don’t get two meals a day, panties are as filling as Daal Roti.
You can’t advertise lingerie wearing a sari neither can you advertise condoms without showing intimacy. The aforementioned ads were creation of ingenious minds, way ahead of their time.
But sometimes nudity backfires too, people get so engrossed looking at the Adonis or Aphrodite that nobody looks down at the product they are advertising. Here is a classic example where it backfired, the most ridiculous, bizarre, absurd and unreasonable advertisement of all times:
A hot chick wearing a red bikini materialize from the blue ocean and continues to move forward doing a cat walk, she stops and stares at billboard of The J.K cement. In the background we can hear “Vishwas hai, Ismein kuch khass hai”. I wonder if the model was using cement to protect her virginity.
The Levis ad campaign shows a woman lying on top of a man, wearing nothing but Levis jeans. Spykar’s ad campaign shows half naked couple standing; wearing nothing but Spykar jeans were classic examples of playing the nudity card. Pepsi is not far behind, with Virat Kohli bleeding blue or should I say bleeding nude.
The latest Slice advertisement where Katrina kaif is all Gaga for Aamras, never seen a woman so sexed up for a mango. God save mankind.
The reason behind the success of the nudity campaign is because nudity and sex can be used to advertise anything with some creative touch. The JK cement ad was a disaster as you have to do more than just making her stare at the billboard. The next thing we know the same girl rushes out of the ocean wearing a bikini runs down the beach trying to pull off a Dimple Kapadia, suddenly stops and stares at a billboard of “Kachua Chaap” and in the background we hear “lele lele, Vishwas hai, Ismein kuch khass hai”.
Cooking up ideas, punch lines are not everyone’s piece of cake. So when creativity gives us a ditch we shift to nudity. After all everyone would gaze at a giant poster of a shirtless celebrity, all you need to do is digitally morph the picture so the six pack abs are more tighter and the female body is curvaceous than ever. It is better to drop those bikinis and boxer shorts for a cause rather than cement. PETA always comes up with advertisements that are all but sleazy.
We have forgotten that nudity is a form of art, Celena Jaitley’s tattered dress in PETA’s ad titled “Shackled, Beaten, Abused” is not vulgar, it’s art. Another classic example is Pepsi Aquafina ad campaign which shows male and female models dancing to the tune of flowing water.
Some ads are magical; I remember the time when advertisements still had that emotional touch. The dairy milk ad in which the girl celebrates her boyfriend’s victory in a cricket match by rushing towards the cricket ground, dancing all the way, mesmerized by the taste of dairy milk chocolate was priceless; it had everything, the innocence, the relevance and the best part nobody had to show skin to sell chocolates. I wonder if Cadbury would make an ad with Virat Kohli standing semi nude bleeding chocolate. Yum!
Sex and nudity can sell everything if used wisely but so can emotions, humour and relevance. All we need to do is buzz the creativity and let nudity be the last resort.