Baseline Advertising in Review: No sex please, we’re advertisers

Well, if you sense Comedy has been declared irrelevant by much of the advertising fraternity, it's still positively thriving compared with Sex!Remember when Those Dreadful Advertising People sold you products you didn't need through the deployment of blatant Sex, irrelevant Sex,...

Well, if you sense Comedy has been declared irrelevant by much of the advertising fraternity, it’s still positively thriving compared with Sex!

Remember when Those Dreadful Advertising People sold you products you didn’t need through the deployment of blatant Sex, irrelevant Sex, demeaning Sex, even lurking-there-in-the-ice-cubes subliminal Sex?

Well, Happy Times are Here Again, Folks, because Sex in mainstream advertising today is practically a no-show!

A Martian who knew Earthlings only from monitoring our ads would undoubtedly conclude that Sex is something that makes people sick.

No kidding, I saw a billboard this morning advertising a condom as The Best Coverage of the XV Commonwealth Games!

Sexual innuendo is also useful to make people look like Jerks.

I submit a stinker of a radio spot by an outfit called Moto Photo: Woman’s voice (bitchy): Why don’t you go to sleep, Harry? you got what you wanted! Guy’s voice: But I’m still excited, Gloria!

Hee Hee! Turns out he got the Moto Photo prints that he wanted, and he’s still excited about it. Whoopie. What a turn on.

I personally want to introduce this couple to the leering creeps in the Kellogg’s All Bran spots who can’t seem to get it straight if they’ve had sex or bowel movements every day for god-knows-how-long.

We’ll have ‘em all over for dinner, and invite the elderly codger who tries to pilfer his lady friend’s cheese squares during the tennis game in the Milk Board spot. And sneak out the back door just in time to trigger the massive gelignite explosion in the basement.

No-panty Shields

The jeans trade has always been a bastion of raunchy advertising, at least since Calvin Klein had an either just-pre or just-postpubescent Brooke Shields writhe around on the floor and infer that she never wore panties under her Calvins.

A truly sensational entry into the sexy jeans ad pantheon, of course, was the first Guess print stuff, giving us the first glimpse of Claudia Schiffer bopping mindlessly in a bustier. (Who knows if she was even wearing jeans?)

The Guess folks are still working Sex as hard as any advertiser in America, though their stock and trade in the women’s books has become hard-looking, melon-breasted bimbos who cavort lasciviously in dank jungle swamps and dreary Midwestern haylofts, and resemble mid-1950s strippers, making Claudia look positively Audrey Hepburn-ish by comparison.

A current tv spot for Gasoline jeans depicts a man stripping naked out of his pants in a locker room, while the pin-up girl pasted to his locker door comes to life and gets hot watching him, which, I suspect, is borderline politically correct, in that the girl’s getting turned on by the guy, and not vice-versa.

Another shows us a just-about-to-couple couple oozing over each other’s bodies as his voice says She was wearing nothing under her raincoat and it wasn’t raining and she says He was wearing nothing but his Manager jeans and I thought they’d look better on the floor.

But, sadly, at the end of the spot, she reflects that perhaps the jeans looked better on his body than on the floor after all. Post-coital depression? I tell ya, this sex stuff is no good for ya!

But, the sexiest ad on tv just has to be the one that looks like quick cuts of an orgy in a nudist camp. Men! Women! Children! In their Birthday Suits says the soundtrack! Striptease cutting! Nibbling! Tickling! wow! she’s just whipped off her top! Whoa! Wait a minute, that’s the kid’s top! hey! what’s that going into somebody’s mouth???

Of course! It’s those hardcore packaged goods people at Lever Bros. and its Lever 2000 spot! Daring! Breathtaking!

Compared with Calvin Klein’s Obsession stuff, with Kate Moss looking like a 12-year-old with severe post-nasal drip, Lever sizzles!

Saw a great spot years ago in a Manhattan hotel room.

It’s dawn in a loft, and a muscled young guy is working out on a rowing machine next to a bed with satin sheet barely concealing the naked body of an agonizingly beautiful girl, who drawls the only words in the spot, which are: Do you do this every morning?

Barry Base is president and creative director of Barry Base & Partners, Toronto.