The CWA panel “Sex Sells” did exactly that. On Monday morning more than three quarters of the Old Main auditorium was full of individuals young and old drawn to the idea that sex does in fact attract consumers.
This 80 minute panel discussion had a diverse range of characters: ranging from the Playboy CEO, to a feminist author and a musician. There was no way it was going to disappoint. The panelists had different views of sex and advertising, but the main idea was consistent: sex sells.
Jo Muse, founder of Muse Communications and known as one of advertising’s best leaders, stuck to the scientific side of things. A certain part in our brain called the parietal cortex, which provides awareness and choices, demonstrates an individual’s attention span. Jo Muse explained that because every single human being has one, it’s easy to attract attention through sexual visual pleasures.
Long story short, Jo believed that using provocative images in advertising will always entice viewers, so selling sex was just pure laziness.
Howard Schultz, media expert and creator of MTV’s Next!, had a different idea on the matter. His primary response when being asked if sex sells was “duh.” Looking further into the matter, he then asked himself if sex really ever made him purchase anything. The only thing that he bought for the purpose of that was ironically Playboy magazine.
“It’s really not sex, it’s the hope of sex,” Schultz said.
He explained that the provocativeness gets ourselves out of our heads for just moments, desiring and wanting something else. There’s not a true connection between buying a product and sexual imagery, but of sex and attention.
Jenni Schaefer, a nationally renowned author, took on the feminist approach. She dug a little deeper on the issue and explained that by selling sex, young women are being negatively affected. She justified her comments with research she had done stating that self esteem, ambition and even GPA are decreasing while eating disorders are on the rise.
Ironically, Scott Flanders, CEO of Playboy Enterprises and CU alumnus, spoke next. He explained to Jenni that Playboy was not about categorizing women into stereotypes, but to demonstrate what the audience wants to see. He even added that Playboy distinctly tries to find more voluptuous women for their models rather than what we see in high fashion magazines.
Scott explained that sex sells, not solely because of naked women, but because “men are wanting education on how to be attractive to the opposite sex.”
Evelyn Resh, author and sexuality counselor, sparked a room full of laughter with her dry, witty sense of humor. She first identified an important and interesting notion: the part of the brain that controls sex is two-point-five times larger in men’s than in women’s. That is why, she believes, “men rule the industry.”
Resh exploited the fact that it isn’t sex that drives us, but other factors that dig deeper into our subconscious.
“Shame drives us,” Resh said. “We want to know how other people behave sexually, which is why sex sells to our undivided attention.”
You can check out more of the 65th Annual Conference on World Affairs at here.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kelsey Samuels at Kelsey.email@example.com.