Sex Sells? How Provocative Ads Work and 5 Examples of Spicy Campaigns

We’ve all stumbled upon erotically themed marketing materials at one point or another. And, whether we like to admit it or not, we all stop to take a closer look.

Here are 5 great examples of provocative ad campaigns that you can’t turn away from!

How Provocative Ads Work and 5 Examples of Spicy Campaigns

Sex Ad: An Intro Without Curtains

Let’s be honest — sex sells.

This has been a universal truth in advertising since the 19th century when, in each pack of Duke Cigarettes, buyers would find cards with starlets posing in erotic postures.

Needless to say, a lot of people started smoking more around that time. However, this type of local sex ad was not appealing to the male audience only. According to Wikipedia, Woodbury’s facial soap for women used images of happy couples to increase product sales in the early 20th century. And that was just the beginning of the evolution of sexy provocative ads in the eyes of the public.

Over the last two decades it’s safe to say that sex in advertising is one of the most powerful seduction tools in advertising. It’s not just websites like that use steamy ads to entice an audience already searching for something in that vein. Big Brands are currently using overtly sexualized ads to immediately attract the interest of customers and keep them engaged.

But let’s take a closer look at some of the spiciest examples of Provocative Ads in advertising, and what exactly makes them so attractive to the public.

1. Durex Naturals Intimate Gel

We are leaving modern times, and fortunately, old school sexual orientation preconceptions and misconceptions are becoming more and more obsolete. The LGBT community has made its entrance, stated its rights, and is finally here to stay. We live in an era of constant evolution and breaking grounds, so why shouldn’t intimacy follow the same trend?

Here is where one of the best-ever Durex safe sex ads comes into play.



It’s a brilliant UK commercial for the company’s Natural Intimate Gel. Depicting several cool instances of feminist evolution, it suggests that this level should reflect into same-gender couples’ intimate life.

The motto is our favorite part, “Ladies, let’s lube.”

2. Forge of Empires Trailer

Most gamers out there are quite familiar with the mind-blowing cinematics used in videogame trailers by the top software companies of the moment. Giant corporations like Blizzard or Ubisoft invest a lot of money and time in these trailers, and let’s face it — most of them are actual cinematic masterpieces.

But how can a smaller company attract just as much attention, when launching a beta version of an online multiplayer game?

InnoGames seem to have found the answer, releasing a Forge of Empires Provocative Ads to announce the game release. Even though there’s nothing erotic about the gameplay, the commercial generated an enormous reaction over the Internet, securing an impressive number of fans, followers, and gamers for a relatively common project.

3. Burger King: This Will Blow Your Mind!

If you’ve missed this one, you need to look it out right away.

burger king itll blow your mind

The Burger King sex ad was a major outrage at its time, depicting a blonde woman keeping her mouth open in front of an elongated hamburger. The highly suggestive motto: “IT’LL BLOW your mind away” painted all kinds of spicy pictures into the viewers’ minds. Probably, it is the hottest and most daring commercials ever advertised in a fast-food world.

4. Calvin Klein Controversy

But we couldn’t have an honest review of spicy advertising without one of the best platforms for it, the fashion industry. Over the years, giant brands such as Emporio Armani, Guess, Paco Rabanne, or Diesel, to name just a few, have all had their share of incredibly hot and provocative campaigns.

But none of them managed to outclass the highly controversial Calvin Klein Provocative Ads from early 90’s.

It’s an intense Denim commercial featuring a topless Kate Moss, sitting in the lap of equally young and topless Mark Wahlberg. He has both hands on her denim covered posteriors, and the tagline is priceless: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

5. Skittles Surprise

Nobody would have seen this coming, and it’s probably for the best that this one got banned quickly. In 2015, the popular candy brand Skittles managed to surprise and shock everyone with an audaciously explicit clip, showing a couple, groom and bride, enjoying their wedding night doggystyle.

No, that’s not a figure of speech; we’re talking about the actual position.

This banned Skittles sex ad was filled highly insinuatingly with remarks from protagonists, culminating with a scene, where the husband pours Skittles in his wife’s open mouth. Cut right down to the slogan, given the content we have just witnessed, it was just as shocking: “Share the rainbow, taste the rainbow!”



The first thing to keep in mind when analyzing promotional materials with erotic content is the fact that all cable and network television still have to stick to compliance and media censorship. Thus, we have automatically eliminated any personal sex ad or phone sex ad, as the chances of seeing these on national TV are slim to none. Given the main focus of our topic, we have also eliminated more serious and grave materials, such as a sex trafficking ad. We have only addressed the coolest and spiciest examples of commercial campaigns that most of us have probably seen on TV or up on a billboard. We hope you have enjoyed them as much as we have. Let us know your thoughts, and if you have better suggestions, there’s absolutely no need to be shy, so kindly share them!