It’s been said that as human beings, we have lizard or reptilian brains that respond to certain primal urges. Food is one. Sex and reproduction are definitely others. This underlying, pre-programmed disposition to respond to sexual imagery is so strong, it has been used for over 100 years in business. And the industry, while abusing it more and more, would be foolish to ignore the draw of sexual and erotic messaging. But, in our wonderfully religious existence, is it true that sex sells in Nigeria?
Sex Aiding Entrepreneurs: Back in 1885, W.Duke and Sons, a manufacturer of facial soap, included trading cards in the soap’s packaging that included erotic images of the day’s most popular female stars. The link between soap and sex is slim at best, but it worked. And ever since, brands have purposely linked themselves to suggestive (or downright blatant) sexual imagery in the search for new customers. In particular, alcohol, fashion, perfume and car advertisements have created strong links with sex.
Does Sex Actually Sell?
Yes, sex sells in Nigeria as well. It’s a fact. Popular men’s magazines like Maxim and FHM have experimented often with their covers. Overwhelmingly, when a sexy, semi-naked woman appears on the cover, it outperforms an image of a male star, even if that star is someone men want to read about.
When ads are more sexually provocative, men in particular are irresistibly drawn to them. It’s simple genetics. Men respond to sexual images. And if your ad creates a sexual situation, it will get the desired response.
The Future of Sex in Advertising
Sex is here to stay, and it’s getting more blatant with every passing year. The rise of the internet over the last 20 years has produced a direct line for much stronger, graphic sexual material to enter consumers’ homes. And they’re responding to it. Pornography,while not used in advertising in its traditional sense, is a multi-billion dollar business. As the rules around sex and consumers become more relaxed, you can guarantee that sex will become a bigger part of our advertising landscape. So the short of it is that sex sells in Nigeria.
Kimberly “Kim” Kardashian West, an American television and social media personality, actress, socialite, and model. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kardashian first gained media attention through her friendship with Paris Hilton, but she received wider notice after a 2003 sex tape with her former boyfriend Ray J was leaked in 2007. Later that year, she and her family began to appear in the reality television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Its success has led to the creation of spin-offs including Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Kourtney and Kim Take Miami. In 2010, Kardashian was reported to be the highest-paid reality television personality, with estimated earnings of US$6 million. In 2015, it was reported her total earnings were US$53 million.
Kim Kardashian covered December 2007 issue of Playboy Magazine before she became famous.
The reality star later stripped nude for the magazine for a feature she later claimed she was sorry she shot stating her mum; Kris Jenner persuaded her into doing the shoot so as to be famous!
She covered the 2007 December issue in a barely there bodysuit with frills over red stilettos while striking a very seductive pose.
With loads of naked covers/features, divorce dramas, more and years later becoming Mrs Kanye West, Kim Kardashian is still in the nude feature/cover business and seems to be going strong.
So far, we’ve had some Nigerian celebrities act in like manner and doing their utmost to confirm that sex sells in Nigeria.
Chinedu Okoli, known professionally as Flavour N’abania is a popular singer who came into the limelight after releasing his hit track “Nwa Baby” remix. Flavour who apparently makes ladies go wild, is easily the most popular Nigerian singer from the South East. And this has as much to do with his craft as his 6-pack. Flavour knows his buff body is a selling point and does not hesitate to put it all out in the open. Proof once again that sex sells in Nigeria.
Controversial singer, Caroline Sam, better known as Maheeda, has stated that she finds joy in indecency and talking about sex. She said going nude is one thing that makes her happy.
In an Instagram post, the mother of one wrote that showing off her body and talking about sex were the things she loves doing and have brought her success.
According to the nudist,“I know I go unclad, I know I act very naughty, I know I love and love to talk about s*x a lot, I know I love to dress sexy and show off my body, I know I love to entertain people in any way I can, I know I love to make people happy, I know I love to help people with my life experiences, I know I love people, I know I love Me.
“As soon as I started paying attention and doing those things I love very well, I started seeing great success in all areas of my life,” she wrote.
In Maheeda’s case, it is difficult for most people to recall any of her music. Her story gets even more interesting when one considers that she actually started her music career as a gospel singer! Yet, she is one of the most recognizable Nigerian “singers” online.
It seems certain that sex sell in Nigeria. Sex helps musicians, actors, and even producers and sellers of most fast moving consumer goods, increase the market reach. More interestingly, even sellers in other sectors such as books (remember the James Hardly Chase series cover pictures?), motor cars, and household furniture to name a few, are all fully logged onto the concept that sex sells.
Yet, many recent studies have shown that sex can actually be a turn-off, especially for TV content, movies, and even many magazines.
So, what is the final word? The over-riding issue for our society is that tasteful sex or nudity works. This has been demonstrated repeatedly in the entertainment industry – music and Nollywood. And the trend is likely to increase for a long especially as the key buying demographic – 18:29 – has fully embraced the more risque approach to marketing and entertainment.
Culture is fighting a losing battle in this regard, while the religious houses in many instances seem to even encourage the trend.
Hopefully, society will soon attain satiation.