We’re currently in the midst of a new era of advertising and marketing. Gone are the “in-this-together”, “now-more-than-ever” montage videos; instead something brighter, more optimistic, more hedonistic is coming: the summer of sex. The recent wave of raunchy ads, from Jacquemus to Suitsupply to Replens MD, are just the beginning. The upcoming flood of make-out marketing is bringing “sex sells,” the problematic fave of PR truisms, to the covid-vaccinated, Gen Z-led 21st century. So take this as your final warning.
Selling sex in 2021 looks very different from previous iterations, like the 90s “heroin chic” era. These ads feature multiple people doing some action, rather than depicting a single person (almost always a woman) just being there to be seen as sexy. It’s less objectification, less of a male gaze, less reference to porn and more reference to affection and love. There’s emphasis on intimacy and human connection, with ads depicting couples kissing, embracing, or even licking each other’s faces. Fit for the next roaring 20s, the content has a more celebratory tone that goes beyond an outright ploy to titillate and provoke––but of course, it is still provocative.