There’s been a new wave of advertising in recent weeks that’s caused some folks to run around willy-nilly yelling, “Boobs and butts! Boobs and butts! Rise up and slay the accursed advertisers!”
Sometimes, I don’t see what the big deal is all about.
An ad like the UK’s Wonderbra casting call appeals to me because it’s a tongue-in-cheek way of getting the message across.
While Holly was turned off by La Difference’s “Perfect Set” TV ad, I got a giggle out of it. And I thought Reebok’s Easy Tone commercial made more fun of the cameraman (along with making me wonder if those shoes really could make my butt look like that).
Then there was the Burger King ad. That one did get to me.
Not to mention Johnson & Johnson’s ad for o.b. tampons. (Good Lord.)
So there’s the rub.
Women don’t react en masse.
How a woman responds to a supposed attempt at persuasion is based on her internal value system and experiential memory.
And because women’s opinions are so divided, advertisers will continue to utilize and manipulate the Boobs & Butts tactic – there’s rarely enough of an outcry to change a company’s mind.
There are 3 reasons why big brands will always use Boobs & Butts… and why you shouldn’t:
1. Deep Pockets.
Large companies and corporations have massive marketing budgets. They can create a dozen different messages (although they shouldn’t), and can bombard consumers through every known form of media.
Did a Boobs & Butts ad tank? Did it piss some women off? Oh well, they reply, we can afford the hit. What’s a couple of million bucks? C’est la vie.
2. Creativity Trumps Persuasion.
No one ever said advertising creatives had taste. I think there’s a formulaic equation hidden in a vault somewhere on Madison Avenue that states the larger the agency, the lower the taste threshold.
With advertising agencies, the pressure is ON to produce and the easiest lever to reach for is sex. Creatives also don’t know where to draw the line. If an ad is effective, they will continue to push till they finally go over the line, creating an ad that rings the “bad taste” bell like it’s been hit with a sledgehammer.
Are Boobs & Butts ads creative? They can be. But it’s rare to have one that persuades more than a sliver of the potential consumer audience. And who cares? Big companies can afford it (see #1).
3. Men Are Still the Main Target.
And will probably remain so forever. Big companies and ad agencies are still mired in hierarchical, single-focus mindset and messaging.
Which is perfect for men, who are left-brain dominant.
It’s is also rather stupid.
Give a man an ad that features boobs – his brain zeroes in on the target and tells him, “Oh look – boobs.”
Give a woman the same ad, and her brain says, “Oh look – that’s kind of degrading.”
Neither brain says, “Oh look – a great product.”
Boobs & Butts ads will always get people talking. But if they’re talking more about an ad’s anatomy than about your business, you’d be better off flushing your marketing dollars down the toilet.
Boobs & Butts will never go away.
It’s still a waste of money for a company of any size, but the big boys can afford it.