Does Sex Sell?

Penelope Cruz has had a rough time on this blog, poor little movie star. But in a previous blog I took exception to an ad in which she was just acting, a hired hand. For this latest effort, her pawprints are all over it…

That was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen…and I was in ‘Nam

I’m reminded of a quote from Glen Cullen in The Thick of It;

“That was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen…and I was in ‘Nam.”

Perhaps a bit strong, in fact it brings up mixed emotions. I’d be dishonest not to acknowledge my natural feelings of lasciviousness. And I’d never be so naïve as to completely deny the tired phrase; ‘sex sells’. But even if you’re a heterosexual bloke, or indeed a homosexual Sheila, I’m sure you’ll agree this ad is crap.

I always thought that Eddie Izzard summed up sexy advertising nicely in his show ‘Unrepeatable'.

Maybe I’m being harsh, I just think the ad is pretty lazy and patronising. I’m no prude either, but I think Cruz could have done something a little more creative than just make a mild desert-based sex-porno.

Notice he really emphasizes the word ‘subtle’ in that video. Now at the risk of sounding like George Bush when he said ‘The French have no word for entrepreneur’ - I think it’s fair to say that Penelope Cruz had forgotten the Spanish word ‘sutil’ when making this ad.

Oh I know it’s an ad for lingerie, and the women do look awesome dancing about in their panties. But that’s the only relevant thing in it, so why bother taking them to the desert? And why bother with the daft mirage premise - that some poor fella is crawling around dying of thirst, after wrapping his truck around nothing?

I assume the target demographic market for this ad is women from say 21 to 40, so presumably the main message is that Agent Provocateur lingerie makes them irresistible to men (a fair assumption). That being the case, why base the ad around the fact that the man is only interested in wetting his whistle rather than his willy?

And why did Lady Penelope bother crowbarring herself in driving a car, because that only provokes disappointment in the viewer (ie. me) that she clearly didn’t fancy donning the lingerie and prancing about as well. Perhaps there wasn’t enough money.

Maybe I’m being harsh, I just think the ad is pretty lazy and patronising. I’m no prude either, but I think Cruz could have done something a little more creative than just make a mild desert-based sex-porno.

Mind you perhaps that’s what marketing lingerie is all about. I did a little research on Agent Provocateur’s previous efforts, which was a real bore I have to say. Most of them are equally sexy and silly, but at least there’s some sort of a comprehensible idea and narrative, like this one with Rosie Huntington Whitely.

Ms. Whitely's wooden acting aside, perhaps this kind of ad just works. Agent Provocateur continues to make them after all. Perhaps the Penelope Cruz one isn’t that crap then...?

All the same I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time writing about it. Hopefully you’ll derive as much pleasure from reading it…I doubt it though.

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