Friday, January 21, 2011

Sex Sells

The first time I sat down to watch French television I was:

1.  dissapointed (I couldn't understand a damn thing back then)

2.  surprised by the sexual inuendo in the most random commercials. 

Yes, the French take ‘sex sells’ to a whole new level.  Whereas it’s usually reserved for pop stars and prime time television in the U.S. -here sex is used to sell every day products, like….milk.

One of the first commercials I saw when I arrived here consisted of a couple of cute adolescents rolling around in the grass, making out.  Why? 

Because they drank milk, ofcourse!

Duh. 

Makes sense.

Then there’s coffee.  One of my favorites are the Carte Noir commercials.  Basically they all feature a young man and woman who have sexual fantasies whenever they sit down at a café.  (There must be a name for this condition)   Their bodies might be drinking java.  But their minds are doing all sorts of unseemly things.    



I was lucky enough to catch the back end of a publicity run for sugar when I first arrived.  The catch phrase was ‘Sugar.  Exterior sign of beauty’ 

Basically we follow a sugar cube as it rolls down a naked women’s body.  Then she plops it into her coffee.  (I know.  I had to be reassured by my French friends that it wasn’t common practice to rub a sugar cube on your body and then serve it to your guests)

But the most weirdest I’ve seen recently are for insurance.  A couple of people with dog faces (yes, they actually have dog faces digitally animated in place of their real heads.  Don’t ask me why) are about to get busy.  Sometimes it’s in a car.  Or a bed.  And then they’re interrupted by a man with a bear face selling them insurance.

Yeah.  I don’t get it either.  It's like a bad dream.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

*CQG*


47 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

That cracks me up! I guess France doesn't have a Puritan background like America does!

Tracy said...

I'm curious to hear what the French do when it comes to feminine products. If they can make tampons sexy, color me impressed!

salarsenッ said...

You couldn't understand a damn thing...to funny!

I've watched some of those French commercials. Yikes....I think Spain's are pretty racy, too.

Melissa Gill said...

you are so right, sex must sell because it seems like American commercials have gotten a lot more provocative in recent years.

For some reason I want a cup of coffee with milk and sugar, hmmmm?

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Heck, I'd drink coffee if that commerical came true for me. ;)

Tom M Franklin said...

that cafe noire commercial actually made me laugh.

i wonder what an excess of these soft porn style commercials do to the national psyche?


-- Tom

Meredith said...

I never realized coffee, sugar, and insurance were so sexy/creepy. That insurance commercial sounds too ridiculously awesome to be true :)

Shannon said...

Interesting post. I'm with you, the dog faced people and the bear would freak me out! I'm going to have to google that. =)

Have a great weekend!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The dog faces being hounded by a bear-faced insurance man sounds like something Hitchcock would film for a dream or Dali would paint. Absorbing post, Roland

Old Kitty said...

Darn I'm at work and can't view the sexy ad!!

I must try that sugar trick next time I have a dinner party! LOL!

take care
x

Candyland said...

Funny how humor doesn't exactly translate, lol. But sex always does!

Kate said...

Ah, tis tame stuff - have you checked out the gameshows on Itlaian television? - you know - the ones where the contestants have to take their clothes off and the girl who brings on the prizes flashes her boobs at the camera?

;-)

j.m. neeb said...

I'm having a sudden craving for coffee, sugar... and insurance.

(That's some effective marketing right there.)

Janet Johnson said...

French tv is amazing. Wow. Seriously, I'm speechless. :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Oh. My. Godiva. I can't believe that commercial. Do they come on all the time or just at night? I guess isn't as racy a subject as it is here stateside.

Elizabeth Briggs said...

That commercial is too much! And I need to see this insurance one to believe it...

I love all your French posts! I have never been to France and they give me such fun insight into the French way of living.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Lol! I hear you on this one! TV in Europe is waaay more *interesting* than here. Even in Turkey, which I would never have imagined, we had that Italian game show and plenty of other...stuff. Although, we're catching up here in the US! I need some coffee...;)

Jessica Bell said...

LOL! sounds like Greece. You might find this funny: Prime time weather report - Porn Style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FjaEjxAtR8&feature=related

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Sex definitely sells in France! I argue with my French hubby all the time about this. Why do we have to see the woman from the waist up in the shower, suds dripping off her nipples, in the shampoo ad? Why do we have to see a naked woman roll around in the snow, then sit up and lick yogurt off her spoon while simulating an orgasm. (Note to Yoplait: Ick.)

I've saw the insurance commercial last summer when we were over there. Random!

Have a great weekend!

Matthew Rush said...

Sex: The universal language of ... sex.

Gotta love those Europeans!

Stephanie said...

Oh how funny! I love watching that yearly special on TBS, I think, the best commercials of the year! They always have some great foreign ones!

Angela Felsted said...

Yes, sex does sell. I hope you have a great weekend too!

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Great examples! Thanks for sharing. I agree, that dog face one seems disturbing.

As for using sex to sell, the French might still have us on using sexual acts in commercials, but the US uses sex appeal for most of its commercials anymore.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thank you for not posting that dog face one. Ugh. I know that sex sells but that is taking it a little too far!

Melissa said...

UMM dog heads and bear faces? What is the point of that???

The french must really enjoy their sex....

Plamena Schmidt said...

LOL. Gotta love the french!

Gina said...

Wow... I don't even like the smell of coffee but I'd be willing to add a few cups to my diet if it would give me cleavage like that!

I remember being in England and almost falling off my chair reading a Cosmopolitan magazine...naked boobs, erotic articles. I had to put it down because I felt like I was doing something bad! I guess we're just prudes here in America!

Anne R. Allen said...

Oh, that's so very...French. But the doggy/bear people? Don't get it. I guess it shows how subjective humor is, and how it often doesn't translate--not simply in terms of language.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I never watched TV when I was in France, except for a couple concerts on the music channels. But I did see some of those commercials that made me scratch my head and think, "why?"

Christopher said...

French television sounds awesome... if you're doing LSD.

LTM said...

omg--LOL!!! *sigh* I wish I didn't have a milk allergy now... but I love coffee...

and I'm thinking maybe nightmare WAS the point of the insurance commercial--? b/c it could scare you to death? Life insurance? (shrugs) ;o) <3

Master_Vyle said...

One sure hopes sex sells as it is my bread and butter. Just learned today that someone painstakingly translated my novel The Sound Of her Master's Voice into French, so hopefully the word is around about it by the time it goes for broader publication.

It's good to know that it seems a universal that everyone is interested in sexy in advertising.

_Master Vyle

Joy Tamsin David said...

These posts on French culture are so fascinating! If my lifetime dream ever comes true and I actually get to visit one day, I'm going to use this blog as a guide book. :)

Dominique said...

Wow. Yes, because when I drink milk, I instantly feel the urge to cavort on a lawn. That's a bit weird. And the insurance commercial just sounds creepy.

Colene Murphy said...

Umm. Those commercials sound truly creepy... the dog faced ones...buuuhhh...

DL Hammons said...

Hmmmmm. I'm wondering if I can get my satellite dish to pick up french television??

:)

Will Burke said...

If the repressed cultures get really kinky in their underground clubs, do the French have back-ally clube to play checkers?

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

damnit, I totally missed out on the joy of French TV when I was in Paris. sounds pretty nuts though.

Solvang Sherrie said...

That must be some GOOD coffee!! Wow!

Susan Fields said...

Dog faces to sell insurance? I'm missing something here...

Caitlin said...

Man. Apparently I need to be drinking that coffee instead of Folgers.

Vicki Rocho said...

I love it! Don't quite understand the connection, but that's one way to keep most of your audience from running to the bathroom. Do your commercials run every 10-15 mins? Seems to me someone told me once they run all the commercials in between shows in Europe.

Lisa Blandford said...

Too funny! Maybe two people with dog faces about to have sex in a car really DO need insurance from a bear.

Kelly Dexter said...

This post was too funny!

Tamara Narayan said...

Thanks for the giggles. I needed that!

Organic Meatbag said...

Doesn't France have fruit roll ups in the shapes of penises? If they don't already, I bet they will now! You're welcome, France!

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

Let's do it. Let's bring sexy back! Justin Timberlake doesn't count. And if sex sells, my francophile fridays have been tame. Good thing I'm no longer writing middle grade...

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