How a tree with a lazy eye sold me concert tickets

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed whether sex still sells advertisements. I’m not sure our class ever came to a conclusion; however, I’ve been hyperaware of how advertisers use sex to try to sell me products ever since the discussion.

And I guess that awareness is what led me to even notice this quirky Stubhub ad that keeps playing before my Youtube videos.

I love it. It’s not a new video but one that Stubhub recently revived.

It’s not that I don’t believe sex sells — there are too many advertising scholars that tell me otherwise. It’s that I don’t believe sex can sell better than normalcy.

At this point, my peers and I have been inundated with sexual images and innuendoes throughout our lives. I’m not sure there’s any image that’s sexual enough that will shock us out of our media reverie to really notice and synthesize it.

But images of real people — like an overweight, multiracial couple seeking counseling from a tree with a lazy eye — is just normal enough to be something that I haven’t become desensitized to. It’s

I think this is a sentiment that advertisers are beginning to key into. In his analysis of Super Bowl ads for Variety magazine, editor Brian Steinberg writes:

“Perhaps Super Bowl XLIX will be remembered as the event in which Madison Avenue tried to recalibrate its tone. Gone are Budweiser’s crotch-biting dogs and Burger King’s Whopperettes. In their stead are marketers trying to appeal to the consumer’s more serious side.”

While no one in their right mind could categorize the Stubhub advertisement as serious, it did take a nice turn from Stubhub’s other, far less impactful marketing products. And it certainly didn’t rely on sex to sell.


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