Sexual Advertising Appeal: Fit with Brand?


sales promotion, advertising appeals, positioning, brand management

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student Discussion Activity

Use of Sexual Appeals in Advertising

Mrs Mac’s is a food manufacturer of pies, sausage rolls and pastries based in Australia. Its primary market is Australia and New Zealand, with some export markets in south-east Asia. It has worked hard to create the positioning of traditional and home-cooked food.

This strategy has been generally successful with the brand well represented in supermarkets and “on the go” food outlets.

Several years ago, it turned to social media in an attempt to increase its brand awareness and ultimately its sales. The following video has been prepared by the advertising/social media agency that developed the campaign.

As you will see, the campaign was enormously successful in generating brand awareness, viral activity and social engagement. The video also highlights that product sales increased.

Therefore, it appears that the various marketing objectives for the campaign were met and probably exceeded. The questions were raised about the brand’s integrity because of the use of an sexual appeal in the campaign. In reality, it is quite subtle, and is a play on an old Paul Newman movie from the 1960s.

Video Highlighting the Campaign Structure and Its Key Results

Student Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think that this social media campaign was so successful?
  2. Do you think that the social media campaign and message were consistent with the brand’s positioning? And does it matter whether or not it was consistent with the brand, given the success of the campaign in generating social media attention and the end result in sales?
  3. Do you think that the use of a sexual appeal is appropriate when advertising food products? Are there certain products, such as clothes and cosmetics, that are more appropriate for sexual appeals?

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