opinion

Advertising: The Bare Facts

Harlen B. Yaffe
The power of advertising never ceases to amaze me. Even more astonishing, considering I have made my living on in the internet for the past eight years, was the realization that I had never acquiesced mentally to include online advertising in this robust avenue of social change. Given the amount of weekly promotion done for the Pride- Bucks’ family of sites, adding the role of “advertiser” kind of snuck in there on me like the freshmen 15; but, whoop, there it is. As we end the year, I thought it was prudent to really take a look at kind of messages we are sending out.

A well-crafted ad can plant the need for something we have lived quite happily without, but suddenly learn our lives will not be complete without. For the apathetic, marketing can replace the need to think in favor of being informed by the “suggested” notions of how a happy life is achieved. Advertisement can also silently evolve the ideals we aspire to in how we want our bodies to look, where we want to live, what we want to wear, look at, eat, and in our case, masturbate to.

I know the statistics as well as anyone on supply and demand, torrent sites, free porn, tube sites and a finite number of surfers choosing between a seemingly infinite number of sites. By harnessing the power of advertising, we hope our sites stand out from the overcrowded pack and nab the sale. Looking specifically at the gay market and the proliferation of bareback imagery and influence, I began to wonder just how much of this “demand” we created ourselves.

Create the demand – preposterous you say? Not so fast. My fellow fortysomethings will recall how this was done, with globefelt effectiveness that lasted a decade and a half, in the late 1970s and well beyond. Then it was all but impossible to watch an hour of television or listen to the radio without being repeatedly bombarded by the proclamation that the holy grail of bliss had been discovered and the panacea for your daily ills now has an address: “It’s better in the Bahamas!”

To the delight of the Bahamian Ministry of Tourism and the chagrin of Florida’s Hospitality industry, this message was so successfully engrained in the popular American lexicon, that as late as 1986, the South Florida Chamber of Commerce felt the need to mount a multimillion-dollar counter offensive with a Miami-centric advertising blitz.

Whether the “It” in “It’s better in the Bahamas” was shopping, night clubbing, surfing or sun bathing was never spelled out. Even long before my eventful career as a PMF (Professional Masturbation Facilitator), I knew the “It” the slogan referred to was sex. Was sex really better just because it took place in the Bahamas? Or was the “sex” better because people on vacations are in good moods, away from the kids, enjoying the weather, or turned on by the skin show at the beach? Nothing against the beauty of the Island, but wondering if they got more credit for revitalizing copulation then they deserve is a rhetorical question.

What is not so rhetorical is wondering if our brethren clamor for bareback porn because we taught them to believe “It’s Hotter Without a Condom!” Like HIV, the power of advertising does not discriminate — which means the answer lies within us.

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