Aphrodite, Eros & Co – the antique answer on Sex Sells?

Do you think Sex Sells is a modern invention? A strategy the advertising and PR branch developed just to raise awareness or sell products? There are a lot of evidences, which say: Sex Sells exists probably as long as we do….

The cave paintings of the Cro Magon people who lived around 30,000 -10,000 B.C. attest the “sexual publications” of our earliest ancestors in Eurasia. The representations show a variety of sexual activities, which were usually released to the others by painting them on the walls. Scientists assume those were rituals, which were celebrated to contact with the spirit world.

Eros & Psyche     source: www.flickr.com

Eros & Psyche, source: http://www.flickr.com

Since around 20,000 B.C. both the Greeks and the Romans decorated pottery with obvious sexual scenes. And above all the sexual adventures of the Roman emperors are still notorious. Thousands of antique sexual writings are still published and sold. The story of Aphrodite, Eros and Psyche, Cleopatry´s love affairs or Ovid´s sexual poems “Ars Amatoria” still belong to the world´s bestsellers.

In my eyes, Sex Sells is a never-ending story – from former times until now and further on. It´s the oldest strategy ever, but it still works.

What do you mean? Are Sex Sells Strategies old or new? Copy or innovation?

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3 Comments

Filed under Communications, Marketing, PR

3 responses to “Aphrodite, Eros & Co – the antique answer on Sex Sells?

  1. Andy P.

    Hi,
    I´m not sure, if I agree with this approach.
    I think antique Sex stories are not the role model for Sex Sells strategies. Maybe they have their roots in the ancient world but ad- and PR companies have put the sex topic it in a totally new context. For the old Romans or Greeks Sex was just something they wanted to speak or write about but not something to make money with. Advertising´s highest objective is still to sell as much products as possible – mo matter how! (It´s close to sales though).
    Sex Sells is just one of various strategies and definitely not always the best. I agree with you TK:-)
    Cheers Andy

  2. I’m going to have to agree with Andy here.
    I don’t think that the ancient Greeks or Romans used sex to sell anything. That being said, I do think that advertisers and Greeks and Romans all used sex for a common reason; the emotion it provokes.
    Sexual attraction is one the simplest and most felt human emotions. I’d put it up there with happiness and sadness. Greeks & Romans made art about the subject because it evoked emotion from humans. Advertisers and PR people use it for that same reason, to try to get an emotional response. An emotional response will help to move a person towards a certain product because the point of an ad is to try to convince someone that a product will give them a certain feeling inside.

    • evesaintlaurent

      Hi Boys,
      I have to admid, “you are not simple-minded:-)”
      No – Seriously. What 40deuce stated: “Greeks & Romans made art about the subject because it evoked emotion from humans. Advertisers and PR people use it for that same reason, to try to get an emotional response.” Is exactly the answer I was searching for. Emotions are the connection in between former times (when people used sex to evoke feelings) and now (as one of the main objectives of PR and ad).

      And it´s not a secret that feelings decide more about which product we are going to buy or which brand we identify with than anything else.

      But look what I found in one of our Library-books at Penrith about emotional impacts on our consuming behaviour:
      Kuykendall and Keating (1990) found that systematic processing of persuasive communications is reduced by positive but not by negative moods. Positive affect decreases systematic processing because people are content to experience positive states; however, for subjects induced to feel negatively, attitudes were more favorable following strong
      arguments. Their research results were consistent with motivational interpretations of affect and cognitive processing.
      Interesting, isn´t it?

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