Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sexual Connotation in adverts...does it really pay off?

There is a new soft drink advert going round online and it's now being banned from YouTube. It is being claimed by many that that the promotional video is taken from a banned German advertising campaign for Sprite.

The TV ad opens with a shot from behind of a girl performing oral sex on man. While she's at it, she starting thinking and then she stops to say she would like a Sprite whereupon the ad cuts to a side-on shot of her sucking the bottle before it is explodes over her face. The ad uses the Sprite endline of 'Obey your thirst'.

The ad was quickly pulled from YouTube at the beginning of the week, with the site initially blaming copyright infringement. I managed to find a copy for you on this site as a person managed to download it and post a copy online (

Eventually director of the advert Max Issacson came forward and admitted the ad was actually intended as an experiment to see how many people would be fooled into thinking it was real.

This advert was not the first advert of its type, Perrier had made a very similar ad back in 1976 and it is basically exactly the same as the Sprite one, but without the blow job. This goes to say that the idea is not new...however what do you think such ads pay?

In my opinion, they are very valuable if one wants to produce a lot of PR however one must be really careful with the potential damage that this could cause to the brand.


  1. Sexual imagery has been used rampantly in advertising, with both the sex appeal and the subliminal appeal being employed for the most mundane of products. At some level this has become acceptable even in the most conservative of countries. Marketers around the world know sex sells and hence the use of such imagery. Take the latest Virgin Atlantic spot for example. It plays up the fact that they have young, good looking men and women working for them and that's fair enough. However, in my opinion, advertising watchdogs must ensure that there is at all times some connection between the product and the imagery; not for the sake of the brand but for that of the consumer.

  2. Thanks a lot Ali, I fully agree with you. Watchdogs must make sure that the content of the ad relates to the product/service, and not just metaphorically but directly. For example the Perrier ad wanted to show that they have two variants, the small and large bottle,however I believe there are many other ways how to emphasis that property.