While I was traveling this past weekend, we noticed an interesting article in USA Today about racy Super Bowl ads. The online article features a video interview of Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy.com, known for the success of his sexy ads. The video also interviews GoDaddy Girl and famous race car driver Danica Patrick. Both are asked, “Does sex sell?”
Both say… yes.
Parsons readily admits that when they decided to do a Super Bowl ad in 2005, they were a company that nobody heard of, selling a product difficult to articulate… especially to people that might be slightly intoxicated at a Super Bowl party. “But,” Parsons explains, “what we could get across was the GoDaddy.com name.”
He goes on to explain how it worked for them in 2005.
“I thought the best way to do that was… most of the viewers were males… we’d have a very well endowed female. We’d certainly have our name across her well-endowment. And our ad had to be polarizing, and it was. Our market share before that ad was 16%. The following week it was 25% worldwide. I would say it worked!”
The math doesn’t lie. Neither do the GoDaddy girls.
“If you’re asking me the question, Does sex sell?” says GoDaddy girl Danica Patrick. “Yes is the answer”
But the USA Today article offers an opposing point of view, a report from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, who have been analyzing these types of ads during the Super Bowl for the last two decades. They contend that spots with sexual imagery take a 10% hit in “likeability.”
I don’t want to be a skeptic, but… really?
Apparently they neglected to look at GoDaddy’s year-end financial statement.
Who do you believe? Do you think sex sells? When you look at the content in the top songs and TV shows today, what do you see? Sure, you’ll find some good content, Adele, etc. But are the sexy artists taking hits in popularity?
What about the rise in Internet porn? 25% of all search engine requests are pornography related. 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic. Are these sites taking any hits in likability?
What examples do you see of sex selling?
What examples do you see of sex repelling instead of selling?