calvin-klein-jeans.jpg


There is no shortage of sex in advertising. We all know sex sells, but how has it altered the way we think about sex?

 

When done right, these ads can have a huge impact on society and how we think about sex and gender, such as Gatorade's empowering "Keep her in the game" campaign.

When done wrong, using sex in ads can go very, very ... sideways. Take the infamous Dolce & Gabbanna gang rape ad, which was inevitably pulled.

Here are 16 ads that marked turning points in the way we think about sex and its commercialization.






Gold Dust's "Fourteen Hour Wives" (1893): This ad showed the drudgery that often came with marriage in the 19th Century.

gold-dusts-fourteen-hour-wives-1893.jpg

Coca-Cola's "Gibson Girl" (circa 1908) was one of the first major sex symbols to be widely distributed in advertising. Clearly, the way advertising defines what's sexy has changed.

coca-colas-gibson-girl-circa-1908.jpg
"Surgeon Sage Says" (circa 1915) was a popular poster promoting the U.S. military's World War I policy of abstinence among soldiers to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

surgeon-sage-says-circa-1915.jpg
Dr. Marie Stopes' "Married Love" (1930s) was one of the first ads to promote the importance of sex education.
dr-marie-stopes-married-love-1930s.jpg
By World War II, the U.S. was once again warning soldiers against sexually transmitted diseases. But also note that the female temptress in the ad has a more modern sexual appeal.

booby_trap.jpg

Jon-Joy's "Marilyn" (circa 1958) marked the dawn of the (never-ending) era in which sex is used overtly to sell even mundane household products.

jon-joys-marilyn-circa-1958.jpg

Playboy's "What Sort of Man Reads Playboy" campaign (1973), directed at potential advertisers, was actually revolutionary: It commercialized the idea that men too could be objects of sexual desire.

playboys-what-sort-of-man-reads-playboy-campaign-1973.jpg

Brooke Shields' Calvin Klein jeans TV spot from the 1980s made it acceptable (well, almost) to use very young models in very sexy ads.

 


Everyone thinks that the movie "When Harry Met Sally" (1989) was about the question, "Can men and women be just friends?" (a question we're still debating today). But the movie poster touted a very different inquiry ...


everyone-thinks-that-the-movie-when-harry-met-sally-1989.jpg
Benetton's "Pieta" (1992) depicted the AIDS activist David Kirby lying on his death bed. It helped people face up to the AIDS epidemic.
benettons-pieta-1992.jpg
Yves Saint Laurent's "Opium" campaign of 2000 featured Sophie Dahl and made headlines for two reasons. Its nudity made it one of the most complained about ads in British history; and it broke with the tradition of using only stick-thin models in fashion and beauty ads.

yves-saint-laurents.jpg
In the 1990s and 2000s, designers' ads became increasingly erotic and edgy. But Dolce & Gabbanna went too far with its 2007 "Ready to Wear" campaign, which featured several faux gang rape scenes. The ads were pulled.

in-the-1990s-and-2000s.jpg

Nineteen years after Benetton's "Pieta," MTV still felt the need to encourage people to wear condoms. The "Sex Is No Accident" campaign from 2011 addressed the rising "hookup" culture.


Only in the last couple of years have images of gay sexuality been shown in the mainstream media, often as a ploy to generate controversy. Benetton's "Unhate" campaign from 2011 won a Cannes Grand Prix.
benetton.jpg
Gatorade's "Keep Her In The Game" campaign (2012) is incredibly sophisticated: It addresses the way advertising has a tendency to objectify women, often to their detriment.

Ragu's "Long Day of Childhood" (2012) is one of the few major brand ad campaigns to admit that children know a lot more about sex than adults care to admit.

.

Author:
businessinsider