This Awkward Commercial Proves ‘Sex Sells’ Doesn’t Always Work


Not sure about you, but we are definitely sick of the whole ‘sex sells’ moniker being used as a way to create ridiculous advertising. It has been proven more recently that the phrase is actually a lie, a way to dupe us into thinking it gives us the power to be in control. But in fact it just serves to make us feel insecure. It is a clever way to get consumers to think they need a product. OK bravo advertising, you had a good run. Now it’s time for the realists to step in and turn the industry on its head for something a little different.

Directors Josh Ruben and Vincent Peone were the brains behind this amazing PSA for Save the Children foundation. They hired a bunch of male and female models and instructed them to act sexy and alluring on camera, per the industry standard. The models had no idea it was a commercial for Save The Children, they just thought they were doing their job: objectifying themselves for the sake of someone else’s financial gain. You know, normal stuff.

“Save the Children already knew they wanted to use sexy content to drive attention to the cause, which is wise because, to put it bluntly, even the keyword ‘sex’ is an instant leg up for views,” said Josh.

“We essentially said, ‘Let’s take this a step further and add some organic reactions from our talent’. Viewers respond to visceral material like that, and the turn really hooks you in such a fun, darkly awkward way.”

They purposely made the whole set look and feel like a fashion shoot, so the models had no idea what they were walking into. But it turns out they were in for something completely different. Halfway through, after being told to say lines such as “what is sexy?” and “what are your deepest desires?” they were told to say this:


That was when they knew something was up! The video below shares not only an important message, but a frustrating one too. That if a subject matter is not considered “sexy”, it is hard to share or sell. It was released just before Mothers’ Day.

“Beyond the Mother’s Day flowers and the brunches for the moms in our own lives, we want people to do something for mothers who are facing extreme challenges every day,” said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children president and CEO. “That’s why we set out to create a video that will not only grab people’s attention, but also get them to act. We know that talking about mothers and babies struggling to survive during war and disaster isn’t sexy. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing something about it.”

This isn’t the first time they have found a creative way to get the public’s attention about a serious matter. The war on Syria is the furthest thing from alluring, but there are people fighting for their lives and living in extreme poverty, and it mostly goes unheard of in the west these days. On the 3 year mark of the conflict, Save the Children released a video showcasing what war does to children. But it started off with an innocent birthday party for a girl in the UK, and ends with her living in a war zone.

“There’s an unmatched satisfaction in creating something impactful that generates awareness. We were thrilled to lend our comedic sensibilities to the cause,” said directors Josh and Vincent, who also directed the Syria PSA in March 2014.

It certainly is sad that to get the attention of the public for all the right reasons, companies have to resort to cheap thrills and sexual imagery. This video below also sparks the debate about whether the advertising industry needs a massive overhaul. For far too long we have seen the same type of commercials featuring women in objectified roles and men in seemingly dominant and powerful ones. What it is going to take to reverse the effects of this?

What will it take for the industry standard to become something positive for both genders? Food for thought, but in the meantime we are duly singing the praises of Save the Children for doing their part for humanity, and going against the grain of the rest of the industry.


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