I was watching a programme on Channel 4 the other day when I saw an advert. This advert to be precise:
‘What’s wrong with that advert?’ I hear you cry. Well dry your tears, because there’s not a lot wrong with the advert. It’s a very good advert in these times of opera singers and meerkats, but there’s just one bit that I find strange: Unbutton them.
As we all know, sex sells. Everybody knows it, advertisers and viewers alike. But recently, it seems to be more and more obvious in adverts, to the point where they’re basically promoting sex. Adverts don’t sell products, they sell lifestyles. What they’re saying in this Levi’s advert is that if you wear Levi’s jeans then you too could get up to some fun stuff with a girl like that. That’s not to say if you go out and buy a pair of jeans a girl is going to want to have sex with you, but it’s more the idea of ‘if I wear that then I will be cool like him’. Usually they do this with cars or phones by showing the person with the car/phone with a pretty young girl (or guy) and lots of friends. But what surprised me about this Levi’s advert was how they just openly showed the couple about to make love and suggested one of the things you can do with your Levi’s jeans is to unbutton them. That’s a bit far isn’t it? They could have said ‘take them off’ and had a couple in bed with the jeans on the floor. That would have been the same message but without actually showing anything untoward. But no. Instead they opted to actually show two people about to have sex. And what makes it worse is that it’s a young child walking into the room. Not only are they having casual sex, but they’re doing it while there are kids around. The child is in pyjamas, so it suggests they’re doing it at night, but it’s bright sunlight outside. Maybe it’s the morning, but who really wakes up before their children?
I may be getting a bit worked up about this, but it’s not just the Levi’s advert that’s making these suggestive ads. Travelodge are at it too.
You probably think I’m going to moan about the ‘let it all hang out’ line, but no. What I take quarrel with is the line: ‘Take the kids… leave the kids… make more kids.’
Take the kids: Holidays are fun and it’s important to spend time with your children, good message.
Leave the kids: Although you promised your children a holiday, you need time to yourself, so forget about quality time and go relax.
Make more kids: Now that you’ve completely abandoned your children, replace them!
I mean, what kind of message is that? Make more kids?! They’re actively suggesting that you should go on holiday without your children and spend the holiday having unprotected sex?! Who’s ever thought when booking up a hotel room ‘Is this a place to get away from my kids and have sex with my partner?’. They can’t sell you a hotel room based on the idea that it’s a good place to have sex can they?
Honestly, the idea of ‘sex sells’ doesn’t really work on me. If I see a guy driving a new car with a hot girl in the passenger seat, I’m thinking forget the car, it’s her I want. I don’t lust over a new phone, I lust over the pretty girl using it in the advert.
I think all adverts should go back to being simple, family friendly adverts that just tell you what the product does and suggests that if you like those sort of products, you might want to buy this newer, better version of it.