Annals of Advertising: Sweet Smell of Success

Excuse me if the image here offends you. It's really nothing compared to the photos on Ford's website, which are part of an ad campaign for a new fragrance for men. There you will be treated to a rapid-fire sequence of images labeled So now everyone will be clicking away to see them, which is the point. I appreciate the uses of sex in advertising--the evidence will show that I am certainly no prude--but I can't help but think a line has been crossed with the Ford campaign. This is pretty much a

Excuse me if the image here offends you. It's really nothing compared to the photos on Ford's website, which are part of an ad campaign for a new fragrance for men. There you will be treated to a rapid-fire sequence of images labeled "sexually explicit." So now everyone will be clicking away to see them, which is the point. I appreciate the uses of sex in advertising--the evidence will show that I am certainly no prude--but I can't help but think a line has been crossed with the Ford campaign. This is pretty much a porn movie starring a perfume bottle. So who better to execute such a visual idea than fashion photographer/pornographer Terry Richardson? (According to Women's Wear Daily, the campaign was originally shot by photographer Marilyn Minter last April, but Ford decided to go with something more shocking.)

I'm old enough to know how this will all play out in the end: cultural uproar and plenty of free marketing for Ford, and in a few years the campaign will be seen as iconic and even a bit tame, because by then some new taboo will have been breached. Not that there's anything wrong with that....or is there?
--David Schonauer