“Hunkvertising” – Does it help or hurt a brand?

Marketing professionals know that sex sells, but how effective is it in reaching the primary household purchasing decision maker, mom?

Certain marketers in the consumer products space have recently adopted a strategy called “hunkvertising.”  Advertisements showcase seductive men playing into the “fantasies” of suburban housewives/moms to sell unsexy products such as garbage bags, air fresheners and salad dressing.

The question is, does hunkvertisting help or hurt a brand? Some women find humor in these campaigns and appreciate the dose of memorable “eye candy” and entertainment. Others find the approach offensive  (causing groups such as One Million Moms to boycott these companies), contributing to the sexual objectification of women and men and not progressive at all.

Do these campaigns help marketers sell products? According to an article on hunkvertising in AdWeek, Beam Inc., a premium spirits company, was looking to target women for its Sauza Tequila brand. To attract this new consumer, Beam enlisted the help of  Havas Worldwide which created a marketing push that played on the visual and figured the best way to reach women was to present them with an attractive man. These ads may very well have contributed to Beam’s 8 percent gain in global sales to $1.2 billion in the first half of 2013, with Sauza tequila a key performer, up 5 percent worldwide. The Sauza tequila ads launched early April 2013.

What do you think: hunkvertising pro or con as a good way for companies to connect with moms?