Georgia Institute of TechnologyMike McCracken's GTL-Blog
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Advertising is another one of those different things in France. On the streets around my current apartment (Hauts Popeliers) and the streets from GTL to the apartment are many small billboards. They seem to change at least once a week. There are the billboards that have about four ads, and those move as you pass by them and other permanent billboards. There are some constants and there are some variables. The constants, just as in the US, are sex sells. Though in France sex sells is a bit more blatant. Frequently there are ads for ladie's undergarments. These undergarments are displayed on beautiful ladies and it is obvious that you should buy some of them if you are a young lady after someone, a young man who wants to impress your young lady, or anybody else who is into sex, drugs and rock and roll. The French are not as blatant as the Italians who often show their women bare breasted on billboards, but it's close.

Another interesting thing about advertising is the sex sells anything theory. The other day, I saw an ad on one of the local billboards with a very attractive lady, who was holding up something that at first glance looked like a powder puff or something like that. She was alluring and holding this thing as if it was the perfect thing to end a night with. Well it was, except what she was holding was a coffee package for your coffee maker that would make the perfect cup of coffee (found out if you read the fine print at the bottom of the ad).

I learned something new today. One of my passions is collecting posters from the turn of the century. Jules Cheret, a Frenchman, is generally recognized as the person who invented the modern day poster (modern day meaning in the late 1800's). Seems he was also the first person to recognize the relative importance of sex in advertising. In the late 1800's in most cases, it was a little less blatant, but the idea is the same. I've attached an image of a Cheret poster so you can see what I mean.

I've also attached a non-sex sells ad, but it is interesting because of it's silliness. Remember French humor is much different than ours.

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Last modified 11 December 2005 at 9:44 am by Mike McCracken