Hi Digital Diary Followers
Advertisers of Burger King shocked their audiences in 2009 after releasing an extremely controversial advertisement promoting their newest sandwich, “The Super Seven Incher” (Lantry, 2009). Although the advertisement was printed in Singapore and was not linked to any American advertisers as such it sparked mass outrage. Mark Duffy and advertising copywriter stated:
“I’ve seen a lot of sexual innuendo ads and this is about the worst, especially for something as mainstream as Burger King. I was a little repulsed by it. It’s really misogynistic to women and it’s also unappetizing.” (Lantry, 2009)
Looking at the sign myself it is easy to see why the advertisement draws in so much negative attention. On a first glance I see the denotation of a blonde haired woman about to take a bite into her “Burger King Super Seven Incher”. However when I look into the connotations of the image I think of sex, pleasure, desire and hunger. The use of red lipstick it immediately draws my mind to the connotation of love, desire, lust and deviousness. The vector of the burger leads my eye to her mouth and coupled with the salient bold writing of “blow” I am immediately drawn to think of the act of oral sex. Because of the ideological perception that sex produces pleasure the audience connects the idea of eating the burger with pleasure that is associated with a sexual act. This in turn is meant to leave the audience wanting to try the burger. However not all people may associate the act of oral sex as pleasurable and may find it highly grotesque turning them away from trying the burger.
The sign plays an interesting role because of the sexual shock tactic that it uses to grab audiences’ attention. It is said by Scott Purvis that people are 20 per cent more likely to recall sexually explicit advertisements however this is not seen as persuasive advertisement because the audience generally isn’t interested in the product itself (Lantry, 2009). Because sex is mainly used to grab attention it can be referred to as the “borrowed interest” effect (Daye, 2008). However there are many cases where sex sells advertisement has resulted in long-term success. Calvin Klein managed to generate one billion dollars in annual revenue on a brand that is strongly identified with sexuality (Daye, 2008). So the question seems to be not weather sex works in advertising rather when is the best situation to use sex in advertising? (Daye, 2008)