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Advice > Articles > Use Sex In Advertising And Video?

Use Sex In Advertising And Video?






According To John Douglas Bishop in Sage Brief Guide to Marketing Ethics, Sex in advertising raises many ethical concerns, especially where it is gratuitous and “has no or only a tenuous connection with the product,” or when it raises an “ethical objection on how women are viewed.” 


Clearly motor-cycle insurance has nothing to do directly with women. But in the ad you'll soon see below, the implication is that if you drive a motorcycle insured by Bennetts, you can drive hot women, who like to get-off, crazy! Is this gratuitous use of women and “manipulation of male insecurity” as Douglas proposes, unethical?” I don’t think so. I’m personally not fooled, and think it’s a rather silly ad that neglects to educate me on why I should buy Bennet insurance. 


However, I can totally see how an ad like this could piss-off a lot of people, especially women, who feel that they are being degraded and who are worried about the affects an ad like this can have on straight men. The concerns and complaints this raises can be enough to cause certain agencies to step in and ask the sponsoring company to take down the ad, the sponsoring company to feel obliged to take down the ad as a result of bad publicity or complaints, or the media vehicle to refuse to air an ad with questionably indecent content. While the laws about ethics in advertising are different from country to country, apparently this ad was banned and labeled as being “Not for Public Consumption” in the UK. Ummm, something to thing about. 


So, what about all of the MTV videos we see where women are displayed as objects as they are in the Bennetts insurance commercial? Do you think is as ethical or unethical? Do artists have a moral obligation to encourage people to see women as intelligent, productive, and competent individuals, or to merely entertain and give people (i.e., straight men) precisely what they want and need. Heck, personally, I'll take the one wearing black. Ha ha. I’m curious what you think? Do tell. —Bobby Borg


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