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Do Sex and Humor Sell?

Some like to rip theirs off quickly in the heat of the moment.  Others run their fingers down the seam, taking it off slowly savoring every second.  Pulses quicken, breathing deepens, the anticipation is almost agonizing.  Usually it’s the teddies, occasionally polka dots.  Always there is a smile.  There’s nothing like Free Giftwrapping at the Toy House.  What were you thinking about?  Toy House in downtown Jackson.  The giftwrapping’s free, the smiles priceless.

I ran this ad back in October 2009 and I got some flack for it. Yet it brings up two important questions about advertising.


Should a toy store (or anyone else for that matter) be using sex in their ads?

You’ve all heard the adage, “Sex sells!” I agree, but would add the following disclaimer, “but only when the sex is related to the message.”

Take that same statement and replace the word sex with humor. It still applies.

Every Super Bowl someone uses stupid humor or blatant sex to get your attention, often with backfiring results. You remember the sex/humor, but not the company. Sex and humor are attractive. Sex and humor get your attention. Sex and humor make a larger impact. But if they don’t tie into your message, you get all the attention and none of the benefit. Use them with care.


What is your first goal with your ad? If you said draw traffic, you’re wrong. Your first goal is to get someone’s attention. Your second goal is to move the needle so that someone takes action.

You have to remember that your ads are like magnets. Their ability to attract is equal to their ability to repel. The more strongly you attract one type of customer, the more likely you will turn off another type.

If someone is complaining about your ads, then you know two things. You got their attention and you said something strong enough to repel (and attract). You’re moving the needle!

Just make sure you are attracting the right people.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS Don’t write your ads just to get complaints. Write your ads to make powerful statements that you can back up with your actions and don’t worry about the people who complain. Haters gotta hate.

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