July 29, 2008

Sexy Ads Sell a Lifestyle, Experts Said

Ads for teenage products that depict sexual behavior blur the lines between what is acceptable and what is not, a U.S. researcher said.

John Chapin, an associate professor of communications at Penn State University, said television shows and advertising have a built in cool factor which invites mimicry, ABC News reported Tuesday.

It's promoting a lifestyle and making something more glamorous, Chapin said.

Shows like Gossip Girl and ads for American Apparel have pushed sexual themes with younger actors and models, challenging the culture's sense of good taste, several marketing experts said.

The rub among the adults is 'is this good taste?' ad executive John Klein, a partner of Klein Mickaelian Partners, who has worked with Dov Charney, the founder of American Apparel, told the network.

The market segment to which his ads appeal has lost all sense, Klein said. All morality, all the good taste, all the propriety is gone, said Klein.

Sexually exploitative ads sell whole ways of being, said Editor-in-chief of Common Sense Media Liz Perle, who suggested some advertisers use their own children for sexually exploitative ads. That should be the sanity check, she said.