This month – an Australian adult actress – Angela White – became an internet sensation when a video of her and a love interest was filmed inside the library of La Trobe University and some how found its way online! You can read more about it here

I myself don’t know who Angela White is and am not a connoisseur in relation to these types of material but what we can tell unequivocally from this situation – is that Angela White has benefited substantially from the video making its way online by ‘accident.’

Angela already takes part in making these videos for a living and thus has no risk of losing any integrity by having this footage go public as she has already made the decision to release materials like this before. However this issue generates us the focal question for this piece – is it ok to use sex or sexual themes to sell your products?

Should I use sex to sell?

The answer to this question can be varied – if we were like Angela White and involved in the adult industry directly, then yes of course we are going to use provocative techniques to sell a product. However even in industries such as these – caution does have to be made to develop some brand authority and a sense of trust with the customer – so a customer feels comfortable purchasing a product or service without fear of their actions being exposed or made public in any way.

For companies in general – using sex to sell normally reduces your target market to some extent. For instance – we see many men’s deodorant advertisements produced by Lynx (referred to as Axe in other parts of the world)  featuring confronting sexual themes which relate in particular to the male demographic and in many cases exclude female viewers entirely. However this is successful for two reasons – firstly the actions of the mother firm – Unilever – appear entirely removed from Lynx – as Lynx here functions as a sub-brand of the company. There would be outrage if a company such as Unilever was objectifying women in its advertising campaigns and thus using a sub-brand can remove this risk almost entirely. Furthermore – when a product such as a Lynx can stand alone by itself – individual marketing efforts for this product may be seen independently from the parent company.

Secondly – as Lynx is a men’s deodorant they can afford to isolate their female clientele if the risk/reward gain is greater to impress male audiences and generate more sales.

However if your firm needs mass-appeal and prides itself on its core values – then you need to be cautious about using sex as a method to sell your products/services or ideas.

What can we learn from Angela White?

The Angela White example teaches us the power of viral marketing. The internet is a tool which can be used by anybody – thus releasing a video in this manner can be done by any corporation – but in our environment the material would need to be entertaining rather than sexual or inappropriate. Furthermore it shows the rapid time in which a video or article can go viral and then to generate fame and further press for an individual, product or company. That is why if you are planning to release something on the internet you need to have the systems in place (IT, web, SEO, sales e.t.c) to respond to an increase in demand and not to for-go any opportunities due to capacity constraints. Also we can learn that viral videos are not often an issue of cost but an issue of what idea is the right one to pursue. In this case – Angela White – whether intentionally or unintentionally – has used a unique idea of filming such a lude thing in a real-life library which has generated this publicity.

So even business people like you and I can learn alot from Angela White!