We all know that advertisements induce us to buy things. There are many ways to get us to pull out the wallet. It’s newer! It’s faster! It will make you more popular! It will make you sexy! It’s healthier! It’s more environmental friendly! You need it! It will save you time! It’s fun! You deserve it! Buy now, you’ll save!
The bottom line? You thought you were perfectly happy and content for the moment. The advertiser just informed you otherwise. Buy their product NOW, and life will be better, just like the commercial/advertisement says.
I remember a number of years ago I was at a trade show booth. In the booth next door, a couple of guys were selling scaffolding. All their full color brochures featured smiling women in bikinis standing next to the scaffolding. I happened to overhear an indignant female customer comment on this and turned to see the conversation.
Woman: Why do you have women in bikinis in all your pictures?
Man: (shrugs) Scaffolding is boring…
Sex sells. It’s a no brainer. Good looking models (of either gender) always help get people’s attention.
Over the years a lot of the things we buy have become less tangble. We are now buying services just as much as “stuff.” Putting together a flirty commercial for investment funds is a little more tricky than perfume or fast cars. Oh sure, you can always go with that cute talking baby. But here’s an interesting ad I saw today .
Cell phone service, you say, big deal. Sprint promises to show you how crafty the “other guys” are; how the other companies are going to “limit your phone experience. Really? Is this a blatantly sexual ad? No, of course not. But it affects us in a strange way and we may not know why at first. If we’re female we might think, “Oh, I must get Sprint!” If we’re a guy, we’re saying, “Oh yeah, I need sprint…NOW!”
Then the light bulb goes on. So, Sprint…are you going to show us you’re a stiff competitor? That you’re hard to compete with? Is your ad telling us that you’ll keep going when the other guys run out of gas? Are you telling us you are providing service in a most virile way? Is Sprint a real stand up company and ATT, Verizon and T-Mobile cause impotence? Perhaps those other guys should start selling Cialis with their phones? Oh yeah, you can get plenty of mileage out of that innuendo.
When Bill Gates brought out Windows 95 he bought the rights to use “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones. Well, sixteen years later and Mick and the boys are in their mid-sixties now. Perhaps even THEIR libidos are waning a bit. Maybe Sprint could bring them back to sing “Satisfaction” in a new Sprint commercial.
Congratulations Sprint, you’ve just sexualized a graph; and not in a fun, flirty way. But now we know: Other phone services cause disappointment and sexual frustration. Only Sprint brings blissful sighs.
If Sprint played this angle with a wink and a smile, it might be clever. But they don’t. This one tries to sneak by you and hits below the belt.