Advertising has a duty to normalise sex - Cindy Gallop

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 20 June 2016
Cindy Gallop

Advertising has a duty to consumers to normalise sex though marketing, according to former ad exec and founder of social sex site Make Love Not Porn Cindy Gallop.

Speaking on a panel at the Cannes Lions with film maker Mobeen Azhar, Gallop says that what she learnt during her eight years of working with Make Love Not Porn is that when it comes to sex, people are “rampantly insecure” about it.

While her aim with Make Love Not Porn’s aim is to normalise sex for the masses, Gallop also called on the advertising industry to break the taboo and create a more normal view of sex.

“We have a duty to consumers,” Gallop says. "We help our consumers when we normalise and de-embarrass this area of massive insecurity. The advertising industry has a duty to actually understand, analyse, acknowledge, and design, and market to, and communicate around, sex for all consumers globally."

She said currently, sex in advertising is created almost entirely for the male lens, and that the advertising industry “has not even begun to see the power of depicting sex through the female creative lens.”

The other issue Gallop pointed to was the superficial way that brands depict sex, if they even depict it at all. She says most brand pretend sex doesn’t exist, despite it being a universal human experience.

"People have sex in cars and yet the automobile industry spectacularly fails to ever acknowledge that, or to allow that to influence product design,” Gallop says.

“The mattress industry is failing to acknowledge that people have sex in bed. They’re not allowing that to influence product design either. The kitchen industry is failing to acknowledge that people have sex on kitchen counters. Honestly, I could go on and on. Our universal experience of sex applies to many, many not obviously sexual products and brands and so we are able to tap into a huge depth of experiences.”

While Gallop called on the audience to keep the discussion of sex in advertising going over the next few days, most provocatively, she asked the attendees of the Lions to keep Make Love Not Porn in their minds as they go about their business in the Riviera this week.

“We want to publish a 'Make Cannes Love Not Porn' edition. So, please film the sex you're having at Cannes. It will transform you and your sex lives,” Gallop adds.

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