Sunday, January 15, 2012

Senseless use of Sex Appeal


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On my journey back home along the roads of Golkhupakha to Gongabu there is a hoarding board of an advertisement above one of the roadside shops. In the ad, there are three girls in skimpy clothing. Whether they are the same girl or different ones, I couldn’t tell from a distance. And, then I wonder if it is perhaps the advertisement of a boutique or a clothes showroom that sells summer clothes for uptown girls throughout the season. As I take a closer look and scan at the wider length of the board, I see the name of a certain carpet at the bottom right corner of the advert. The funny thing is I never notice the carpet in the picture. (Not that I wouldn’t but because I couldn’t!) The only things I notice are her boots that is delightfully stepping on the carpet and her seductive pose.

In yet another advert, I can see a Nepali actress wearing a low-neck t-shirt exposing the dent in her cleavage, lying uncomfortably across a sofa and holding a phone by her ears. And, since t-shirt seems to be the only thing she’s wearing I can’t help but notice her clearly waxed legs in high heels. And then when I read the text that accompanies the picture I tell myself, “Ah! This is supposed to be some phone company and not the announcement of Nepal Fashion Week.”

I even saw a big picture of another Nepali actress beside the advert of an alcohol. I kept wondering what the hoarding board represented when it showed half the board with the face of a pretty girl smudged in make-up and the other half with a bottle of rum. Was the board trying to say “pretty girls drink” or “when you drink you become pretty”? Or was it trying to say “if you drink then pretty girls will admire you” or “you should drink because pretty girl says so”? I’m totally at a loss to comprehend!

Using sex appeal and pretty girls to promote a product is not wrong or uncommon. In fact, sex appeal serves the best purpose in the promotion of certain kind of products. Take for example, body spray, body lotion or hair removing creams. An ordinary guy that everyone ignores suddenly becomes the centre of attention of girls because he puts on a certain body spray. In fact, his neighbour is ready to cheat on her husband because of the aromatic pleasure she derives in his presence. It is completely fine and logical to show a girl exposing her thighs if she’s advertising a body lotion or a hair removing cream. Her smooth and gentle legs are the living proof of the effectiveness of the lotion or cream. While sex appeal is the underlying point of attracting the audience in these adverts, the major focus is still on the product. The underdog found hot chicks and the girl got her smooth legs due to the body spray and the body lotion respectively. When this message is translated in print, then a cool guy surrounded by girls can be holding the body spray and a girl can be resting her body next to a big image of the lotion. In both these cases, the focus of the image should, of course, be on the product and not the models!

If the focus of the advertisers is on ‘sex’, then at least use some ‘sense’.  I wonder how many people bought the carpet because they saw the girl in mini-skirt and high boots stepping on the carpet! I also wonder if people switched to that particular phone company because they showed a sexy Nepali actress using the same service. I chose their service only because it gave cheaper call rates to call to the US. These models are, in fact, taking away the focus from the product itself. Why not then focus on the chief utility and the competitive advantage of the product rather than exposing body parts of models that in no way adds any value to the product? I compare these adverts to mindless comedies that aren’t just a disgrace for the models but also for the product and services of the companies these models are posing for and the one who gave that kind of idea for such senseless tactic of promotion.

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