What does s-x sell?

One of Todd’s listeners commented in the GNC podcast 351 about how the GoDaddy use of provocative women in their marketing turned her off the service. This sentiment was then echoed in podcast 352 by another listener. Both these comments came from women, and research would show that women are more than twice as likely to take offense to the demeaning nature of such advertising. There are a lot of men that are similarly turned away from this style of ad as well and marketers should beware when taking this approach as it could easily backfire on them.

Personally I find the suggestion that buying a particular product might help me “get lucky” insulting and that message is more likely to make me discount the product than buy it. If you need to use so base an instinct to sell your product, what is wrong with it? If you look at some of the results of using provocative images in advertising you can see why some advertisers would be tempted to use it if their target market is predominantly male.


This is the classic view of provocative advertising. This shows what people say about how advertising effects them. What this doesn’t reveal though is that this type of campaign gets a lot of extra attention to the ad itself, but does not do much for the product you are trying to sell. If you use the primal urge in the ad, men will pay more attention to the ad and not very much at all to the product. In fact using s-x in an ad will actually halve the amount of men that will actually remember your product


At about this time the female readership is sniggering about men’s lack of ability to focus on more than one thing, and justifiably so. The message is clear, using scantily clad models in your advertising will get a positive reaction from one set of men and a negative reation from other men and most women. Unfortunately for the advertiser, the negative group is the one that will remember your brand. In short, its not a good idea. GoDaddy has become a good example of this. They offer (in my non sponsored opinion) a great service, and I trust my entire Internet presence to them. They have also been really smart in their use of podcasting as an advertising medium. Using a couple of risque pictures has cost them at least two customers, when those pictures have little reflection on their abilities as a company.

This is the full article I used the graphs from

And here’s a backup reference article.

One thought on “What does s-x sell?

  1. Thanks for writing this, Matthew. I don’t know how much GoDaddy is listening to us, but I’m one of the two that commented about not liking their advertising, and that their advertising is why I won’t use their services. I find their advertising to be crass and base, and I’m sorry, I’m a middle-aged woman and that just doesn’t turn me on. They are losing out on my business and will continue to lose out on my business as long as they advertise the way they do. I have a male friend who is just about my age (mid-40’s) who also hates GoDaddy’s sexualized ads. He says it’s demeaning to HIM, that he doesn’t need a product to sell sex as a way to get him to be a customer, he’s smarter than that. When I first saw their ads several years ago I thought maybe they were joking, it was so over the top. But since they’ve continued to use this method of advertising, I’m thinking it’s not a joke, and they really think this kind of advertising works. Not on me, it doesn’t!

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