Sex Sells and Tom Ford has Finally Found the Right Ratio of Tasteful

Posted on July 18, 2010


It’s probably been around since the world’s first professional Farmers decided to advertise their wares with maidens and their jugs, err, of milk. A good looking woman or man, typically with no connection to the product being advertised has often been used for cheap attraction.

How it began

It all started with wood carvings and then later illustrations of attractive women nude from waist up for saloons, tonics, and tobacco.One of the most definitive case studies for the power of sexual advertising was from 1971 for a product called- Jovan Musk Oil. Advertised using double entendre and its powers of attraction on the opposite sex; profits grew from $1.5 million in 1971 to $77 million by 1978.

Then, circa Spring Summer 2008


Cheap and tawdry Tom Ford campaign circa 2008

You can thank the likes of Calvin Klein and lately, Tom Ford for the increasing use of explicit sexual imagery. Though some critics blame the advent of internet porn on the increasing difficulty of catching the attention of a rapidly desensitised consumer public, truth is that with some designers, sex in marketing efforts have gone from tastefully tantalising to outright pornographic.


This image is usually associated with porn.

Pointing Fingers
It’s easy to blame the likes of Victoria’s Secrets and Agent Provocateur but many forget that sex IS part of the equation when it comes to a product like sexy lingerie. Nevertheless, advertisers like Calvin Klein and Tom Ford have come a long way.


Agent Provocateur's Season of the Witch campaign. Sexy, victorian, artful.

Tantalising to Tempt, Tom Ford Summer Eyewear 2010 campaign
Using Nicolas Hoult and understanding the power of evocative imagery, it’s heartening to see Tom Ford depart from cheap pornography and attract through imagination. Photographed by Mr. Ford himself, Hoult appears alongside Carolyn Murphy.  Cheeky and living tons to the imagination, his latest campaign plays up the sex factor without resorting to voyeurism. Kudos, it’s a return to fine form for the designer- a tasteful sexy advert worthy of a top brand.


Caroyln Murphy and Nicolas Hault for Tom Ford. Sexy yet tasteful.

Watch for August Man’s very own tastefully done fashion spreads in September.
Jonathan Ho is the Editor for and maintains a column while covering the watch beat for the print magazine. August Man and is property of CR Media Pte Ltd. You can visit for stylish men’s fashion, luxury brand and high end watch reviews, travel stories, social commentary, trendspotting and motoring.

Posted in: the critic