Eva Herzigova, the Czech model, in 1994 featured in WonderBra’s “Hello Boys” campaign. The Wonderbra is a push-up bra which gained worldwide prominence in the 1990s. “Hello Boys” was the slogan for this new product that promised “to have the same effect on a woman’s pulling power as feeding a bloke ten pints of lager. A sophisticated vice which could squeeze a vital extra inch out of a lacklustre cleavage. They sold by the truckload” as explained by the BBC. This advert also included a quotation from Mae West: “Is that a gun in your pocket?” “Or are you just pleased to see me?” this obviously implies that the male viewer had an erection, and Eva Herzigova is portrayed as a woman knowingly playing with her sexual power (Gill, 2007) as opposed to being an objectified sex object.
Eva Herzigova, the model, is seen in this advert smiling, whilst gazing down at her uplifted cleavage. Not only does this advert appeal to the female consumer, who may want to be like her; holding the same playful sexual power and being desired by men, but also acknowledges men’s consumption of this provocative image (Gill, 2007). A study by Klug and Vigar-Ellis (2012) has shown that the main gender differences in attitudes towards sexual appeal in print advertising are that males respond more negatively to adverts that contained male models as opposed to female models, whereas, women responded in similar ways regardless of the gender of the model. Following on from this, as the “Hello Boys” advert shows a female model, it appeals to both genders.
Pornographic poses, bondage, and sadomasochism have all become consistent aspects of iconography of advertising in the early 21st century (Gill, 2007); sexuality is a widely used appeal in advertising today. Advertisers get consumers attention by producing hyper sexualised imagery, and for this reason, these adverts work. There are many like this “Hello Boys” advert which emphasise playfulness, pleasure, sexual confidence and empowerment.
The flip side to sexual advertisement is whether women are portrayed as sex objects and victims. Advertising is a pervasive form of media, and often people do not give conscious attention to it, and therefore, its social messages are likely to remain unquestioned (Stankiewiez & Rosseli, 2008).
Gill, R. (2007). Supersexualise me! Advertising and ‘the midriffs’. Mainstreaming Sex: The Sexualisation of Culture, 1-13.
Klug, P., & Vigar-Ellis, D. (2012). Gender differences in student attitudes towards sexual appeals in print advertising. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 15, 2222-3426.
Stankiewiez, J. M., & Rosseli, F. (2008). Women as Sex Objects and Victims in Print Advertisements. Sex Roles, 58, 579-589.