Sunday, August 05, 2012
Sex In Advertising
I was reminiscing the other day, with a charming and highly experienced agency boss, about 'when the industry was fun'. We agreed there were more characters, that it was easier to sell good ideas, and then he asked a rhetorical but extremely simple question:
"What happened to the sex?"
I couldn't answer him.
But I've been thinking about it. There certainly seems to be less of it about nowadays.
Let's do a quick historical analysis:
1960s and 70s
Mad Women by Jane Maas has an entire chapter called 'Sex In The Office'. Remember where Peggy lost her virginity to Pete Campbell? That's right. On the office sofa.
Quoting from Neil French's hilarious and no doubt only partially-reliable memoirs, Sorry For The Lobsters: "I have to confess that I spent that night with the gloriously, fabulously, crazy girlfriend of a guy from the agency… she was, and probably still is, the sexiest lady I've ever met. And yes I've still got the Polaroids." Not much changed when 'Frenchy' moved to Australia. "I discovered that Aussie girls were a free-thinking, healthy, and energetic bunch who would happily run a chap around, and expect nothing in return but a barely adequate bonk. The demand was so great that I was, in the end forced to take 'em by the pair, and before breakfast."
A director friend of mine who worked at BBDO New York in the 1990s reports couples openly having sex in the creative department during parties.
If two people in an advertising agency have a snog (Aus: pash), it's a major news event. If they have sex, they have to get married afterwards.
Is this accurate, or am I just getting old?
How much sex is there in your agency?