Using sex to sell


I often come across advertising here in the Czech Republic that makes me think ‘wow, that’d cause a fuss in the UK/US/Middle East’.

This is one of those campaigns. It’s for a gym, advertising their ‘low prices from’. This one is ground-breaking only in that it’s the most striking of their poster campaigns so far. I’d just got back from a week in the UK and I saw the female version first and the mini culture shock of having been in the UK prompted me to think ‘um, that’s a little risqué’. Then I saw the male version and thought ‘ah well, at least they’re being even-handed’. Then I thought some more, decided it was a clever campaign (providing you see both, and on the basis of their space buy I imagine everyone will).

This provides a keen lesson in cultural differences when it comes to advertising creative. What’s perfectly acceptable in Prague will get people protesting against you in London. If you’re selling internationally, how do you handle local markets – leave it to your channel, or just play it as safe (bland?) as you can with your creative and hope you don’t trip over some other societal taboo?