April 13, 2010

The New Black: S.E.X.Y (ATC) Marketing


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By Shea Park, Founder and President of Ad-Spark

Let's talk about sexy! Let's "not" talk about sex. There are effective ways to get 'in my face' and then there's cleavage. Without delving into the psychological aspects of sexy marketing tactics, the following will explore seduction, cleavage, humorous ads and their effectiveness in today's media.

It seems sex is on everybody's mind this week, particularly due to "Sex And The City's" (SATC's) film premiere this weekend! Maybe Wall Street should get out and see it. It might get the blood pumping back in their veins, if not the economy, based on this week's Forbes.com article, which reports that there's a skin-tingling "Sex (And The City) Economy!" out there!

It's old news that sexy sells, yet, with the exception of advertising industry cocktail parties, everyone on MadAve still seems to whisper about it. When are we going to come to grips with the fact that the majority of online commerce is "Very $exy?"


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For me, a coffee break infused with sexy or comedic video clips help break the monotony in a work day. I gather I'm not alone in this appreciation of the illustrious skin distractions. Many of us need the distractions from our daily grind. Tire shops and Mechanics have been kept motivated by sexy calendars and tool posters for centuries.


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Even purchasing managers remain loyal to the suppliers that deliver the next year's calendars. Alcohol marketers know all too well the value and impact of alluring advertisements. I could go on, instead let's uncover more examples. First off, let's hear it for print ads and this Cabana Cachaca campaign. This lovely image is now featured next to other clippings on my desk collage. It's motivating in more ways than just in staying fit.


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Next, allow me to example the way video content and commercials use sex and humor. I just love this video; Girls Fight for Beer. I played this video over and over, and OK over, gave it a few laughs. Posted to my Facebook, AND sent to friends. That's quite an effect to have from a girl viewer. To me, it demonstrates how a brand's message can remain fresh and last over time. Candidly, I enjoy the way skin, sexiness, and girl on girl is used in today's commercials, print ads, and online.

This Citroen C4 dancing car video is also fun:


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Both are entertaining. Which had a more lasting effect on you?

Who recalls the brand name of the beer from the girl on girl video? And what were the brands of cars from the dancing car video? Well, it could be my ADD, or girls and beer get my attention more than a car does, who knows? ...well OK a therapist might know. Do sexy ads have a more lasting effect than humorous ad? The ability to combine the two is downright perfection. Many ads do not capitalize on the longer term opportunity to retain a customer beyond that first view. Some sexy ads just make me feel fresh off a one night stand.


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Conversely, let's observe the way Sports Illustrated Swimsuit introduced their Video Mash-up accomplishes further action and retains attention. From the swimsuit magazine edition the reader is invited to create a video mash up of the models' photo shoots. Then the creator can enter the contest, post to friends, post on their blog, etc. While creating one is time consuming, it is effectual at proving the power print has to increase web participation. I invite you to get the issue if you haven't and follow the magazine's teaser to video mash-up, it is simply genius.


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The Go Daddy' video ads are equally entertaining and successful at eliciting future viewing, visits, and actions. I mean C'mon following Danika from her first day @ Go Daddy to watching her call Candice Miller "really racy". Good job guys! You're now on MY Monday morning -over coffee- sure beats the news to start the day off -bits.

Mornings also feel great for men due to the good folks at Philips Electronics who launched BodyGroom last year, which cut no corners and won every creative award in the business. Apparently their interesting use of vegetables made people carnivorous for the product! Is their point that sometimes a carrot isn't a carrot?


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Now let's consider the strategy of using Sexy Marketing techniques at events. We attend internet events to promote, network, market, learn, and obtain new customers -right? Well the entertainment alone these days is enough to keep us coming back.

After attending 3 major internet events already this year, I really commend my associates in their ability to remain focused and professional with all the flesh flashing about. The exhibit halls are a maze of Booths Betties, assorted eye-appealing distractions, and Exotic Dancers entertaining the after parties. No complaints here, events have never held my attention and are much more easily endured when interlaced by the entertainment venues.


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Similar to videos though, they merely entertain us as eye candy. Not one of these girls in the exhibit halls asked me for my business card, no lunch invites, they didn't even ask for my number.  ! Event marketers fail to teach their booth reps they can mix sales and lead generation techniques with the use of skin. For an example- A fellow exhibit hall roamer and I chatted our way through ad:tech. We were greeted by two scantly dressed ladies flirting delightfully. After we pass them; I ask my colleague, "What company was that?" He replied through a wide grin and cranked neck "uh...I dun no, 'Ad' something or other." We laugh and proceed through the jungle of card swapping and elevator pitches then onto meetings, dinners, and parties.


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In NO way am I reproaching companies' from using sexy marketing tactics. This is an age-old and effective attention grabber. Please, since you have my attention with all your lovely assets; ask for the next date. Ask for my business card or to grab some coffee--I represent over 15 million dollars in ad buys per year. Engage me and ask for the lead/ sale.

MadAve Journal contributor Ryan Barrett recently covered ad:tech for the Journal and had her eye caught by the Nip/Tuck Rich Media campaign, which was judged as a finalist in at the conference's creative awards competition. She felt that "There's something so alluring about a clean rich media unit from a trusted source. Especially one featuring a couple of pasty cheeks!"


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Online viewers of sexy marketing will watch a 3+/- minute videos and return to a good advertisement time and again. Many viewers are easily enticed to take a next step; watch the next video, or engage in viral elements, forward ads, download videos and pictures, Etc. Etc. A good percentage will gladly enter their email address for the privilege to forward ads, along with other desired actions.


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More than ever, ROI is a key pressure on today's internet marketing campaigns. At least once a week I beat my head against the desk to prove online marketing budgets can lead to ROI success stories. With this importance of ROI to a campaign's success, many ads must accomplish more than entertain and excite us. The internet is a proven DR advertising medium, simply by the ability to instantaneously elicit and capture an action. However, there are many marketers missing opportunity to increase customer engagement, participation, and acquisition.

What makes a viewer engage and take action? Let's begin thinking about that this weekend. Ping me next week and let me know if "Sex" ATC was engaging enough for you to take some!


Shea Park is President and Founder of Ad-Spark and has served the internet advertising industry since 1996. Shea Park is a life-long entrepreneur, with 20 years of business management experience, a 12 year veteran of internet marketing, and writer. Ad-Spark.com specializes in customer acquisition and retention strategies, internet marketing and training. She can be reached at Shea@ad-spark.com.

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