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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boobs don't sell

There's this ridiculous notion out there that they do. They'll get guys to watch your ad, sure. Hell, they might even DVR it and watch it again.

But to assume that some Pavlovian instinct will kick in, increasing their propensity to buy is kind of silly.

You could bank on that, I suppose. You could hope that guys will associate boobs with whatever you're selling and start drooling and pick your product up off of the shelf.

Or you could remember that what people think doesn't matter.

If it did you could just describe why your product is better than your competition's, or a necessary part of their lives and they'll buy it.

But that's not how it works.

What people say matters. What they believe matters. What they feel matters.

Not what they think.

Boobs don't sell. The belief that buying your product (or better yet, buying into it) will increase the likelihood that they'll spend more time around boobs might do it.

But that's a separate issue. That's the Axe factor. Convince pubescent boys that spraying themselves with some nasty skunk scent will help them live life as if girls will be flocking toward them, and they'll tell their moms to buy them Axe from now on, sure.

That's a dream. That's emotional.

That has nothing to do with showing boobs.

They don't actually think it will happen, but using Axe connects with their need to be wanted by other people.

There's a difference.

Think beer ads versus Axe ads. Beer ads show half-naked women.

But there's nothing about most beer ads that would convince you that buying it makes women like you more. There's no dream there, no connection. It's Pavlovian and empty. There's nothing about that connection that gives a person something to feel deeply.

But Axe sells you the dream of being wanted, special, important. That's fulfillment and emotional, and something worth striving for.

Those kids aren't buying deodorant, they're buying desirability.

Know the difference.


Glitterati_Duane said...

Good points Joel. I wish some of my past clients could read this. What you said can be applied to many things beyond boobs that people feel their ads need but in reality add no real value.

Joel Kelly said...

Glad you liked the post!

You're so right, lots of people can't see past trying to get people to like their ads, without giving them a reason to believe in something worth having.