What type of products would you consider the primary offenders of the "sex sells" philosophy of advertising? Magazines are probably the top users of sexual imagery, which is not surprising considering their sales are defined by their cover image. Record albums operated on the same principle, and were just as guilty of using cheesecake to boost sales. Can you blame them? It worked.
I'd also have to say automobile, fashion, cologne, cigarettes and alcohol advertising are frequent offenders.
However, what continually gives me great delight (don't ask me why) is to find the "sex sells" principle in a vintage advertisement or promotional material where you'd least expect it. I've shown you sexual imagery used for marketing denture cream, rice, batteries, and crackers in previous posts. Well, let's look a few more unexpected examples of "sex sells" in action.
Here's a new one for you - time delay relays! WTF? Is this the sort of product that can influence its customers using female anatomy? Seems like you either need a time delay relay, or you don't. I'm just sayin'.
Here's 10 more unexpected vintage examples of "sex sells" in action...
1. boot polish
2. Ammonium Sulphate
3. pipe and bolt threading machine (click here for more Rigid Tools advertising)
4. "stacked" ovens (source: Found in Mom's Basement)
5. slide projectors
6. garbage disposals
7. towels (this is actually from a 1945 Ladies Home Journal!)
8. lawn mowers
This power mower ad is a famous example. The ad appeared in House Beautiful magazine in April 1952 as shown above, but the following month the woman's dress had somehow become significantly longer. Who ordered her skirt to be repainted? Advertising mythology blames the account client's wife. No one knows for sure.
9. snow blowers
10. Pipe Welding