Sex in advertising is the use of sex appeal to help sell a particular product. Examples of sexually appealing imagery include nudity, pin-up models and muscular men.
In contemporary advertising, sex is present in promotion messages for a huge range of branded goods. The adverts feature provocative images of well-defined women and men in revealing outfits and postures, often selling clothes, beauty products, fragrances and alcohol. Advertisers such as Tom Ford, Pepsi and Old Spice use these images to cultivate a ubiquitous sex-tinged media presene. Sexual information is used to promote mainstream products not traditionally associated with sex.
The use of sex in advertisements can be extremely obvious or subtle, and on some levels subliminal. It can range from explicit displays of sexual acts and seductive acts, to the use of double-meanings and underlying sexual references. It often relies on evolutionary processes and varies in effectiveness depending on the culture and gender of the receiver. The use of sex has been criticised for its tendency to objectify bodies and emphasise stereotypes.
According to Business Insider, 'Sex sells. Plain and simple.' (HERE)
However, there is evidence to suggest that this is going to change in the future, as adverts that don't use sex to sell products often go viral online and get huge amounts of praise.