There is a famous phrase: sex sells, which basically means that people are more attracted to something if it has a sexual touch to it. The use of sexual innuendo in marketing has increased in recent times as advertisers find it more effective.
Mattresses maker, Superfoam Limited, has taken this to a new level with a play of phrases and puns that appear to be turning on its customers. It’s official tagline is, We are good in bed. Wait a minute, good in what….? Being good in bed is widely known to mean one is good at sex.
In Superfoam’s context, however, the phrase literally means their mattresses are good in bed – they give one comfort and consequently good sleep and rest. Also the management is basically good in bed (as in making beds comfortable). The tagline helps the company keep up with the stiff competition in the mattresses industry in Kenya.
In its range of mattresses, there is also the Morning Glory Medium Density brand. Morning Glory has sexual connotations around it both in slang and medical terms.
The company says the Morning Glory mattress is quilted and designed to provide perfect medium feel to help get the quality: it offers edge support, skid resistant feature, pocket friendly prices, offers the ultimate universal comfort and is covered in a soft and comfortable American knitted fabric.
According to Superfoam, the taglines are part of a strategy to create a conversation among its customers and add an emotional touch to their marketing. “When one sees such a tagline, they are more likely to start talking about it and that is good for our marketing,” said a Superfoam manager, who did not wish to be identified, an indication of just how a sexualised slogan can get a bit uncomfortable for even its champions.
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The concept of arousal, a physiological state which gives rise to attention, is central to the understanding of the effects of sex-based stimuli on consumer attention and recall. Nudity has nothing to do with advertising a car but car adverts incorporate models in bikini to capture the attention of the buyers.
The fact that sex sells is not a recent invention. The earliest known use of sex in advertising dates back to 1871 when Pearl Tobacco featured a naked maiden on the package cover. In fact, the first brands to enter this trend were saloons, tonics and tobacco.
In sexualising your advertisement, you might, however, create legal problems if you go overboard. You should have a strategy to defend the company. At the end of the day, it is the perception of what you intend to communicate that matters.
If it works, the company gets incorporates an emotional touch to your advertising to give your company an advantage over your competitors. Taglines that have sexual innuendos are catchy and make your brand stick in the market. However, people can misunderstand a tagline of sexual innuendo.
According to Ms Gloria Wangechi, a marketing expert with Car and General, a misconception in the understanding of a tagline is likely to be brought by competitors.
“When marketing, the main aim is getting your customers to understand the message. When a company works to make their advertisements understandable to the customers, misconceptions can only be brought up by the competition,” Ms Wangechi told Business Today in an interview.
When advertising, creating awareness about your product is the main aim. Techniques like sexualising the advertisement create awareness faster as it attracts the public who are the tag also helps in engaging in a conversation resulting in conversion.
Multichoice Kenya has recently had to fight off sexual connotation after a tagline offer for its Gotv decoder Tumekudunga Discount was corrupted to an obscene sheng word which means impregnate. Some blamed competitors.
The strategy seems effective as most adverts have incorporated some sex appeal in them to attract the attention of potential buyers. When marketing, one should look for something unique that will give the company a specific position in the industry. A tagline, for instance, should ring a bell about the company without even the mentioning of the company.
A recent tweet by Kenya Wildlife Service, which was full of sexual innuendos and a photo of mating rhinos generated a of debate on social media, though it was meant to interest Kenyans to visit the Nairobi National Park, which acts as a rhino sanctuary.
What’s a Wednesday afternoon timeline without a little romp? Talk about Sex and the City! ? #DiscoverNairobiNationalPark
? by Caters News Agency
?Nairobi National Park pic.twitter.com/jjh3uUemkb
— KWS (@kwskenya) March 20, 2019
KWS shares a crazy picture on its timeline in an attempt to woo Nairobians to visit the Park to learn about the Black Rhino. David Ndii says “shame on you @kwskenya Kenya is conservative society. @EzekielMutua what say you?”Rated for Adults only. Wacha wanyama wajienjoy.”?? pic.twitter.com/v13QGrE4AU
— Kelvin Mutwiwa (@kelvino_mutwiwa) March 21, 2019