17 December 2013 16:20

Sex in Liquor Ads - there's a Right Way and a Wrong Way

The liquor industry is notoriously competitive, and marketing teams have been on the lookout for decades for the an angle that will give their brand the edge. An obvious one is sex and the dynamic between men and women. This can be a good way of getting consumers to sit up and notice you, the trouble is that it can be a bit of a minefield.

Here is a collection of ads that have risked the sexual gauntlet with varying degrees of success.





Most of you will have seen this old classic. The first time I saw this ad I laughed so hard I almost forgot to beat my wife for burning the ironing. Sure, it was first printed in 1952, but even that fact does little (in my opinion) to detract from its hilarious audacity.



This old Budweiser ad is a delight. Back when psychology was still a burgeoning pseudo-science and the subconscious a largely unexplored landscape, this suggestive piece of marketing probably went right over the heads of the type of people who would have jumped at the chance to complain about such things. Isn't retrospect grand.



Here's another one - oh don't pretend like you don't see it!



This is an example of a brand that got it right. There is just the right amount of cheekiness to make it sexy and fun, yet it's still in good taste.



The folk from 42 Below blew out with this failed attempt at tongue in cheek humour. The New Zealand based company offered a prize of $8,000 or a ticket to Moscow with the balance in cash, with a view to snaring a Russian bride. For some strange reason people complained...



Words fail me. Luckily, with this picture, they are unnecessary.



This ad for Saile & Sabga Champagne was banned in Europe. In their infinite wisdom, the Advertising Standards Authority said: "We considered that readers of the ad were likely to infer that her motive for [pouring champagne on to a man's bare chest] was seduction." Yep, they are probably onto something. And I suppose that would be the first time that bubbly had been used to augment a romantic situation! Wait til they see what the perfume advertisers have been getting up to...



I'm not entirely sure what Heineken is trying to say with this one, but it's nicely shot and a bit of clean fun.



What? It's a man grabbing a jug.



Sorry Budweiser, I don't mean to pick on you, but this is too funny.

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