Tag Archive | "sex sells in media"

Sex and Music Videos

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In the late 1950’s, the phrase “subliminal advertising” was coined and popularized by market researcher James Vicary.  Vicary claimed that by quickly flashing messages on a screen at a Fort Lee, New Jersey movie theater, he had influenced people to purchase more food and beverage items from its concession area.  His assertion, later recanted, was that during the presentation of the movie Picnic, he projected the words “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Hungry? Eat popcorn” for 1/3000th of a second at five-second intervals and that as a result sales of Coca-Cola and popcorn in the theater increased by 18.1% and 57.8% respectively during the test period.


Since that time, many studies of subliminal messaging have been completed and a good deal of speculation has been aired regarding its viability and application in everything from beneficial self-improvement programs to nefarious government mind control agendas.  Yet, despite extensive research, the effectiveness of subliminal messages and advertisements in producing desired results consistently has been dubious.


Unlike its subliminal counterpart, overtly sexual advertising is a proven commodity, a fact that has not been lost on today’s entertainment moguls and celebrities.   Today’s entertainment industry is so highly sexually-charged that one wonders whether true talent – whether in acting or singing ability – is actually a requirement for stardom.


Undoubtedly, Lady Gaga is a talented singer.  Yet, absent her burlesque-like performance style and attire, I doubt that her notoriety would have grown as widely or quickly as it has.  Even performers formerly considered wholesome like Miley Cyrus have learned the lesson that to increase sales they must reduce clothing.


A casual perusal of music videos will demonstrate the degree to which open sexuality and sexual symbolism is employed to pique the interest of an increasingly voyeuristic public.  For that reason, I was amused when the publicist for UK pop star Eliza Doolittle emailed me the link to her latest video “Skinny Genes.”  The song is pleasant enough in a cutesy, juvenile way, but the video is a series of sexual innuendos suggestive of human anatomical features and sexual acts and fetishes.  I stopped counting the sexual symbols when I reached double figures.


Take a look at the video and, if you are so moved, leave a comment regarding the sexual symbolism you can identify in it. 

  

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