Sex Sells


Have you ever gone a day in your life without seeing some type of advertisement? Not in today’s world. As an American citizen in this day and age we are constantly surrounded by products marketed towards our everyday wants and needs. Whether that may be through social media, television commercials, or even a trip to the grocery store. Marketers have made it so that our daily lives are flooded with the promotion of their products.But have you ever thought that there might be a distinct reason why you like one particular ad more than others? Why yes, because marketers use psychological differences between men and women to attract their target market. These marketing techniques manipulate our purchasing habit, and we aren’t even aware of it. Isn’t that kind of creepy?

              When we look at advertisements, we immediately have a sub-conscious reaction to like or dislike what we are seeing. In the picture below, it shows the face of a model and highlights facial structures that women seek out when looking at advertisements. These being, high and prominent cheekbones, a thin nose, full lips, and a thin neck. Inside the book by Van Baron Leeuwen, the image description reads, “These are also differences between what is seen as attractive in men and women. These features are expressions of the differences in hormonal concentrations between men and women.” This image portrays the key physical features that women subconsciously look for in commercial models. Without knowing, women, and myself included, look  for key characteristics in the models that are used in advertisements. Marketers take this into considerations and use models with this type of facial structure and body type in their advertisements to instantly attract women.  The model’s image plays a role in the overall impact in the mind of the consumer.


         But how do they use this knowledge to differentiate among genders? Here are two examples of television advertisements, one marketed towards women and the other intended for men.

The Venus advertisement says,”If someone says you’re smart say, “yes, and…” If someone says you’re pretty say, “yes, and…” help them understand.  No “ifs” or “buts” Just “ands”, Venus invites women everywhere to #useyourands and to take a stand against labels.” Women react based on emotion, and this company used that knowledge to its advantage by utilizing gender based marketing.

In the next commercial Gillette stated, “At some point every man is ready for his first real suit, just as he’s ready for his first real razor”. This Gillette commercial first brought nostalgic memories to the consumer, then appeals to a man’s ego and gives the perception of a definitive confidence boost, with a ready to take on the world attitude when using their product.Both examples of razor commercials show that the company uses the distinct differences in genders to their advantage. From the differences in gender thought process, to the purchase of goods, gender differentiation implemented by companies drives purchasing habits. It is evident that both commercials use different strategies such as word choice, tones, and imaging to address women and men differently.

In my podcast I discuss the definition of gender-targeted marketing and a bit of the science behind the technique. As well as the threat of an invasion of every consumers privacy as technology continues to increases. I hope you all enjoy.




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