The old adage is that sex sells. Certain brands--Calvin Klein, American Apparel and Emporio Armani--often bank on the appeal of skin for their notorious billboards. The CK jean-clad orgy (which has now been replaced by the slightly tamer scene of Doutzen Kroes in a red bikini) billboard was right by our offices. There has been high public outrage and disgust over these billboards. But these companies are obviously not backing down anytime soon (Calvin Klein is a veteran in causing scandals with their ads--Brooke Shields and her jeans, anyone?), because they also know those other words of wisdom: bad press is better than no press. The Huffington Post has put together a slide-show of the most scandalous New York City billboards, in case you need proof.
Nudity definitely catches my eye, and that's the first sign of a successful ad. Next it should make you want to buy the product. For me, the nudity doesn't sell. But it doesn't not sell me, which is also key. Have you ever completely stopped buying a brand based solely on an ad you found distasteful? And not buying American Apparel because Dov Charney is a creep is a different issue (although no less important, it's just not what we're discussing here). --AMANDA JEAN BOYLE