Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gossip Girl: Advertising Through Sexual Appeal

Take a look at the advertisement above. What do you think about when you observe it? The obvious answer would be SEX for most people. The funny thing about this answer is that the above advertisement is for the hit series on The CW network, Gossip Girl. The advertisement above is promoting the show's first season, which centered around young high school. Being a show about high school students, it is likely that its main audience will be HIGH SCHOOL students. So what is this advertisement telling HIGH SCHOOL students? Have sex! Why? Because it looks cool. The caption of the advertisement states that Gossip Girl is "Very Bad for you". Why would a promotional poster contradict itself? It is because the caption is a strategical gimmick to lure audiences in. Usually young audiences would be curious to see something that is supposedly bad for them. That is what makes it even more captivating. The contradicting captions are what makes the sexual acts on the posters look even more cool. At least that is what the advertisement team for Gossip Girl is banking on. 
Sex or Sexuality is considered a powerful tool in advertising and marketing.  People are curious about sex. It's human nature and this is what makes a product sell...or what gives a film or television show high ratings. No matter what the product is, a half naked woman or man would catch the attention of the opposite sex (or same sex) and the audience will either fantasize or wish that they looked like the person on the advertisement. As appealing as sex may be for advertising, advertisers have to be careful when using sex as a market strategy. Recently there have been people who have strongly opposed certain advertisement tactics and have taken the cases to court. In order to avoid this, advertisements should be appropriate for the product and convey an underlying message suitable for the product. However, this is not the case with some advertisements. Sex appeal is still sometimes used just because it looks cool.
The Gossip Girl season one promotional posters are prime examples of sexual appeal advertising due to the sexual nature and the captions that appear on them. The captions agree that the nature of the television show and the posters are "inappropriate" for the audiences that it most likely appeals to: high school students. The poster above states that the images are "every parents nightmare" which highly exemplifies that parents of the audiences will not approve of the sexual nature of the series and that their children should not be captivated by sex. Not at their age. As the captions are sort of contradicting the action of promotion, it uses it as an advantage, because high school students are usually rebellious and will most likely watch whatever they want despite what their parents agree to. Sexual appeal heightens a teenagers curiosity. This is the stage where people usually try to understand their own sexuality and the promotional posters not only entertain their audiences, but subtly makes them question who they are...sexually.

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