Sex Advertising in Singapore

Burger King Seven Incher Ad

It would not be a surprise to find this ad in some progressive European country. Or in the USA. Or any where else, in fact, except in (surprise! surprise!) – Singapore.

When the ad was first launched, the hapless Burger King agency in the USA, Crispin Porter & Bogusky was credited with the dubious honour of being the creator of the ad. Fortunately, this has been cleared up by Burger King, that it was an ad created in Singapore by a Singapore ad agency.

Some time back, I wrote a post about “Sex in Advertising?” which discussed the fact that sexy ads may not be the best way to bring your message across.

This latest ruckus in staid Singapore, might just prove that point. Many bloggers have labelled this a shameless, blatant attempt to play the sex card in advertising. I mean, the very visual and unambiguous allusion to oral sex is quite plain to see.

Seen on the walls of the fast food family restaurants, at the bus stops and in newspapers, the ad urged people to “fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame grilled with the new BK Super Seven Incher”.

Some have even ventured to say that this imagery might appeal to some of the population for which fellatio is a huge turn on, but they forget one thing… is the ad appealing to the giver or the receiver?

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore was not amused as it has received 5 complaints from the public.

I wonder how many guys will rush out to eat that particular super 7 incher sandwich now that eating it is associated with giving a, ahem, well, you know what I mean…

Great Ad 20: I am a Virgin

Advertising Agency: Contract Advertising, Thailand ~Executive Creative Director: Manirat Banthukamphon ~ Art Directors: Kavin Sitsayanaren, Manirat Banthukamphon ~ Copywriter: Manisa Orprasert ~ Published: October 2008

If you have a commodity-type product and you do not quite know how to sell it, there’re 2 options:

The tedious, but certainly, a proven and effective method is to build a brand around it.

The fast and attention grabbing, but sometimes controversial, method is to pimp your product.

Just look at the above advertisement … it is really funny. Please, click on the advertisement if you can’t read the text, to see the magnified version.

The chicken is branded “S-Pure”. I don’t know what the “S” stands for, there are just too many suitable words starting with “S”. However, when you associate the brand with the screaming headline, “I am a Virgin”, the “S” could mean “So P…”, “Soft P…” or “Sexy P…”. Whatever it is, the mind goes wandering and fantasizing despite the fact that it is an ad about chicken.

The headline, “I am a Virgin” is also open to lots of interpretation, response and reaction.

  • “So what?”
  • “Are you sending an invite?
  • Or like WhiteSpace commented at AdsOfTheWorld, “Not for long!”
  • While another guest commenter brutally but truthfully stated the cruel fact, “then I was slaughteredand wrapped in plastic . . .”

And the copy makes me LOL. This S-Pure chicken is certainly health conscious – she eats, sleeps and stays untouchable in the purest environment imaginable. However, naughty readers will only remember these words, “Will you believe me … I truly am a virgin … Will you bring me home.”

I don’t know much about the guys in Thailand. If the majority of them are like other men I know, they should enjoy a steamy yet tender relationship with their chicken; and sales should be pumping high and fast. But I bet there will be those who will not be too hot about the S-Pure chicken style. Sex is dangerous, especially when used in ads.

Source of Ad: AdsOfTheWorld

Great Ad 18: Tulipan Rabbit Ads

Do read my previous post on Durex Extra Safe Stork Ad if you have not so that you can join us in deciding if you like the stork condom ads better or this condom series from Tulipan.

Advertising Agency: Y&R, Buenos Aires, Argentina

These Tulipan condom advertisements were released on Spring Day, a.k.a. Students Day, in Argentina. Spring Day is where young hot-blooded kids make merry with outdoor activities like camping and hiking with their friends and classmates. This is the marked period where many unexpected surprises were conceived.

Both series have a large dominant illustration that tells the whole story. Durex Extra Safe has no words while Tulipan promotes “Fun Now, Kids Later”. If you follow the conversations at Ads of the World, many industry folks were of the opinion that these 4 words were superfluous and redundant. I tend to agree. It is common knowledge that rabbits multiply rapidly and frequently. The connection between rabbits and condoms is therefore instant and the association is incredibly funny. Australia is often said to be overrun by rabbits because they produce and reproduce faster than one can catch them to make into rabbit pies. When there is no text, the ads will leave the audience with a wide grin. Yeah, it is funny just thinking of Tulipan condoms preventing broods of bunnies bounding up and down. With the 4-word copy, it gives rise to unnecessary connotations. What else can “Fun Now, Kids Later” mean?

I cannot help but wonder if Tulipan realises that it has, like it or not, endorsed promiscuos sex. Encouraging sex to sell more condom does not really seem like a responsible corporate behaviour. Worse, if the ads are targeted at young people, it borders on irresponsible corporate advertising.

Comparatively, the Stork advertisements did not suffer from such unfortunate and negative connotations.

So why did Tulipan have the words? Honestly, I have no idea. I hope it’s not because Tulipan was concerned that the public will not understand the connection between rabbits and condoms. I have had clients who doubt of the intelligence of their own target audience so much so that they wanted the obvious to be stated. Whatever it is, the Durex’s stork and Tulipan’s rabbits shared a few common traits – Nice picture, great analogy, few or no words, and dubious ad effectiveness. Both series are visually attractive and they are undoubtedly useful in building awareness of their brands. However, increased awareness does not always equate to increased sale. I don’t have any figures to substantiate that sale volumes did not increase by leaps and bounds. To me, these are just nice advertisement, they lack the killer punch to deliver a killer impact to make a sales killing. Nice ads that don’t sell are pretty useless, pun intended.

Still, I like the digital art and I enjoyed the laugh.

Great Ad 17: Durex Extra Safe Stork Ads

Today is one of those lucky days where I have a breather to go blog visiting and I chose to roam at Ivan’s Ads of the World. For us in the advertising and design industry, Ivan’s blog is a treasure trove of delights.

I chanced upon this series of Durex Extra Safe ads:

Advertising Agency: DDB New Zealand ~ Executive Creative Director: Toby Talbot ~ Senior Art Director: Dave Brady ~ Art Director: James Tucker ~ Copywriter: Simon Vickers

Most of the Ivan’s fans thought that the illustrations suck and the idea was lame.

Actually, there is nothing wrong with the illustration. They are just not the typical DC comics, Japanese anime or even the hip, retro style that we are more accustomed to in our day-to-day life. Such an illustration style is mostly found in nurseries, pre-schools and pre-schoolers’ pictorial books. That might be something many of us may not be in touch with or are already out of touch with. If these ads were actually wall murals in a nursery as what Rainman said, I would say it is a great match to the medium.

As for the idea is lame. Well, we can look at it from two perspectives. Continue reading “Great Ad 17: Durex Extra Safe Stork Ads”

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall …

The Bathroom, 1989 - A painting by Frenando Botero

I just read a hilarious post by Calvin Warr. You see, our friend was screaming that all the liposuction and slimming ads were discriminating against the guys. The communications – from graphics to text – do not talk to big fellows with a “spare tire around my middle that is interfering with my tying of shoe laces”. His appeal to the wellness centres were:

Here is a message for all slimming clinics – talk to us! We are sometimes shy to walk into a slimming joint because all the posters and images seem to tell us that we, the guys, are not supposed to be there. How about that? A ready, willing (desperate even) customer who is actually given a message that this is not the place for him. So sad.

His post was funny but the situation is very real, and could be very sad, for the guys. Is it sex discrimination or is this business sense (or cents) at work? Continue reading “Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall …”

Sex In Advertising?

Does sex really sell? Well, you decide for yourself.

Jef Richards, an advertising professor with The University of Texas, Austin, said “In advertising, sex sells. But only if you’re selling sex.”

Not according to the a survey conducted by MediaAnalyzer.

Sex in print advertisements actually improves the advertising effectiveness for men, but make it less likely that they will recall any brand name the ad was promoting. This is simply because men and women focus differently when their eyeballs connect with a sexy advertisement. MediaAnalyzer published its report in Adweek using the following MasterCard advertisement as a reference.

Sex Sells in MasterCard

31% men looked at the boobs first, then proceeded to the face (26%) and Continue reading “Sex In Advertising?”