Honey Birdette – Marketing Masterstroke or Mistake?
The over-sexualisation of women in advertising appears to indicate that sex still sells in 2017 … or is it a trope that lingers around from times gone by?
From UltraTune ads to Wicked Campers, the objectification and at times sheer disrespect for women and their bodies is ubiquitous. Morally, it’s wrong – all of the research indicates that this kind of advertising leads to a higher support of sexist beliefs and an increased tolerance to sexual violence.
From a marketing perspective, it’s complicated. We certainly do not condone any of the aforementioned advertising campaigns, but we are interested in why they exist. When global giants like Dove, L’Oreal and Audi are attempting to make a statement on gender equality, you would assume that the rest would follow. But ad campaigns like this one are continually rolled out, and every magazine seems to have toned abs and pert butts splashed across their covers.
Is this because half naked women catch the eye, or because risque advertising campaigns are guaranteed to create a publicity storm, allowing brands to reach millions organically. Possibly a bit of both and Honey Birdette claim the campaign has led to a “spike” in sales.
This approach might work for Honey Birdette’s consumers, but does it resonate with the majority of women? And would it work for other businesses? Larger companies are pivoting away from such campaigns, because they know the general public expect more in 2017. Plus, promoting body shapes that are unattainable makes the consumer feel bad about their own bodies, which leads to more covering up, and less stripping off. And that is something lingerie companies DON’T want to happen.
So for these reasons, this week, it’s a Marketing Mistake.