Think about the advertising campaigns that have made the biggest splash in our pop culture consciousness and they generally share one thing in common – beautiful, famous people parading in front of the camera wearing nothing but their birthday suits.

Ditto for top selling magazine issues like Demi Moore’s pregnant pause on Vanity Fair’s August 1991 cover, Jennifer Aniston sporting a strategically placed man’s tie (and nothing else) on GQ’s January 2008 issue and an illustrious bevy of au natural beauties revealing their bits and pieces on countless Rolling Stone covers throughout the years.

In both cases, naked celebrities and musical superstars serve as a form of currency that captures the public’s attention, helping to draw greater awareness to products, services and social issues that might otherwise fall on blind eyes.

However, it’s no longer as shocking as it once was, say, when Calvin Klein first busted out his salacious Obsession billboard ads in the late 80s.

Perhaps that’s because these days, sex sells…and sellsand sells…which begs the question: ‘Are we officially desensitized to the site of skin?” even if it belongs to the likes of Megan Fox, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes?

According to perennial Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie and swimsuit model Joanna Krupa, “A company or a cause needs to find ways to generate interest and make itself memorable in order to be effective. Sadly a touch of ‘shock effect’ works, no matter how much we try to deny it, we all look at it and go ‘wow!’ Or ‘what the heck?!’ And it sticks to our minds, we pass it on to friends or discuss it with colleagues and that means ‘mission accomplished’ for the ad.”

The four time PETA spokesperson, whose most recent nude promo asks the public to “be an angel for animals” by adopting rather than buying dogs feels, however, that America’s attitude toward nude advertising campaigns is a bit chaste compared to the casual and often widespread acceptance in Europe.

Even Eva Mendes agrees after receiving a great deal of flak for her 2008 balmy-body-sprawled-out-on-bed Calvin KleinSecret Obsession’ ad, which was welcomed in the rest of the world, but appeared to be “way too much for the American public” to take.

Still, when Mendes stripped down for PETA to protest the use of fur, the public paid attention and perhaps more people were inclined to read up on the industry practices and make a commitment to seeking humane alternatives.

Until our society does an about-face and decides that Mormon-wear is the new titillating Gaga factor, skin will likely continue to be the most impactful way for companies to reach the masses.

How have the most recent skin-baring campaigns affected your purchasing patterns? Has the site of a naked celebrity promoting the efforts of a cause made you more likely to explore their mission statement and rally behind their efforts?

Speak up in the comments section — we want to hear what you think!

Via Fox News

  • Meghan

    If it didn’t work at getting attention, PETA wouldn’t do it.

    Whether or not that is positive attention is one question.

    I think both sides, PETA and the feminists have overstated their side.

  • Kimitake Hiraoka

    Well Sea Shepherd for one is happy to cash in on the exploitation of women for its sinister ends. It accepts huge contributions from Ady Gil who promotes a website that puts rich older men in contact with disadvantaged young women for the exchanging of sexual services for money. Pretty disgusting stuff.

    Maybe Sea Shepherd could clean up its act a little and raise its funds by Paul Watson baring all and showing off his luscious curves? I’d imagine he’d have some pretty spectacular breasts under the faux-military outfits he loves. I’m sure plenty of the pro-SSCS perverts out there would buy some of those calendars?

    • From MN, with hope…

      Would you just stop! We get it, Ady Gil is a pervert, but HE’S NOT A TRUE PART OF SEA SHEPHERD!! He just made a huge donation, and they really appreciated it! You can’t judge a guy (or a group he supports) by one of his actions! Show me ONE ad where Sea Shepherd has a women trying to be sexy just to get people into saving the creatures of the sea. Defend your point.

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa

    Sure, sex sells, and in the mainstream media and advertising campaigns, I understand why they opt for this easy-to-use methodology. However, I have a problem with companies like Peta, which opt for the sex sells in their advertising. Sure, it may grab attention, but I really believe that companies that are interested in the environment and animal rights should consider the exploitation of women as well.

  • Cho cho ma

    Man, you guys have some real crazy conspiracy theorys.

  • Susie

    Yes it gets great attention — BUT I believe if women want to poes nude for whatever the cause its their right. No one is forcing them to do it. They are drawing attention their cause. I enjoy the PETA ads and the vegetarian ads. I have never been ashamed by the naked form. People can be extremely uptight. People need to ease up a bit. We all have our opinion we just need to respect one another.

  • arquen54

    It’s gotten to the point of instead of ‘sex sells’ its ‘sell sex’… I think the world is getting a little over it. PETA fell into this trap. They started the naked celeb campaigns during the 90′s after their far more shocking and bloody campaigns against fur, but that was on the back of women’s rights and all that, and the ads were far more tasteful and meant to be empowering… today its just sickly and blatant “You wanna F*ck Me?”

    We really need advertising agencies to step up and break out of the pathetic mediocrity they’ve succumbed to.

  • Rob

    It’s insidious and should be avoided. Give people credit for their own intelligence! Gone should be the days of thinking we can ‘trick’ people into paying attention – I’m sorry but I doubt the average lad in the pub sees these adds and then goes of to do a Google search – he just oggles with his mates and laughs it off.

  • Whoever…

    If a famous actress shows some ‘skin’ it’s art, but if women pose naked for a cause it’s a scandal and they’re selling sex and crap…

    I’m not in favor of using this kind of tactic but if women do it voluntarily and if it helps raise awareness so what’s the big deal?

    Stop being such puritans…

  • http://blog.babyganics.com Linda

    Why can’t PETA do it if all the other companies do it? Lol. And should it be considered an exclusive thing to women only, as in PETA objectifies women? There are males who go nude too right? And it isn’t necessarily objectification. It’s just leveraging on a simple truth–sex sells, …it’s just universally appealing, whether you’re from a puritanical society or not.