Checking my email last night before bed, I found an email referring to the “biggest moon of the year.” Since my daughter and I had been enjoying the supermoon of the last few days, I (naively) clicked on the email… only to come face-to-face with a rear end mooning me.
We live down the street from an American Apparel store. I see their ads and posters every day. Sex sells. I get it. But being faced with a grainy photo of a young girl’s butt crack in my own email box at 9:39 p.m. on a Sunday night is where I draw the line.
The psychology of sexy advertisements works like this: A sex-themed ad activates a pleasure-seeking part of our brains. That same part of our brain also encourages us to make riskier financial choices–and spend more money. The folks at American Apparel know this, but they also know that we’re used to seeing sex-focused ads all the time. So to get the viewer’s pleasure-seeking brain nodes to activate will take more and more salacious images every time.
You could argue that this is a nod to the Coppertone Girl ad from the 1940s. But c’mon. The grainy image screams “porn” and the close-up is, well, significantly more erotic. And American Apparel knows what it’s doing: Their ads have been banned in the UK for pushing this idea too far. Many have been criticized for degrading women.
Yet having the semi-pornographic image appear in my inbox seems like more of an invasion than seeing it in a magazine or on a billboard. It’s pushed to me aggressively. In my own home. Sure, I could delete it, unsubscribe from their mailing lists and march down to their store and make a formal complaint. But what I was really hoping to see was an outcry on the blogosphere this morning echoing my sentiments. And…. radio silence.
Welcome to the new normal. Oh, supermoon.
[Editor’s note: To see the “Supermoon” ad Christine opened thinking it might be something to share with her toddler, click here (after removing any small children from the room).]