Why boobs don’t sell

Boobs on motorbikes.

Boobs on fast cars.

Boobs attached to internet guruz who want you to know how very successful they are with their garage full of fast cars and, well, boobs. 

Here’s a secret,: boobs don’t sell.

Here’s a secret, though: boobs don’t sell (unless you’re selling breastfeeding gubbins or bras or “massages” or enhancement surgery).

Everyone says a picture is worth a thousand words… but they don’t tell you it depends on the picture. Especially in marketing.

The right picture in the right place at the right time will definitely increase sales — but most of the pictures I see in advertising and marketing are a giant waste of money.

They might as well be lady lumps.

Sometimes they are.

Here’s why: paid advertising is very expensive. Space is at a premium. Pictures take up lots of space.

If you’re producing a brochure, pictures take up lots of space.

Unless you’re very sure the image you want to use will add value and persuasive power to your piece, ditch it.

Same goes for your website and landing pages and emails.

If the image isn’t doing a job and working hard for its existence, it has no place there.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with breasts. Reasonable question.

I guess it’s less common these days, but have a look anyway…

Google “motorbike adverts” and hit “images”. Most of the ones you’ll see are of a scantily clad honey sprawled on the bike, right?

These are crap adverts.

They’ll get attention for a moment — but will they sell? Probably not.

See, the naked ladies aren’t the target market. The target market is (mostly) middle-aged men. Now, everyone likes looking at boobs. I’m not disputing that. But those target market men will look at the naked lady and ignore the product.

If you want to sell your product or service, use a picture of your target market using that product or service.

You’ll get far better results from your ads.

(As an aside, I ride a motorbike. Guess how many times I’ve seen a motorbike advert with a woman actually riding it? None. None times. There’s a massive missed opportunity for the motorbike industry there, because plenty of women ride, and they have plenty of disposable income to do so.)

Here are the biggest problems I see with pictures in marketing — and a quick tip on how to fix them:

  • Wrong target market — your customer can’t relate. If you’re advertising to old men, use an image of an old man using your product. If you’re advertising to young mums, use an image of a young mum using your product or service.
  • Abstract designs — if it doesn’t connect with your product or reader, they’ll turn the page or click away. Use an image that enhances or explains your message.
  • Illustrations not photos — with one exception (J. Peterman) it’s best to use photos of your product so people can see exactly what it is.
  • No caption — the image is the first thing people will look at, so give it a caption and make the caption a sales message. It’s the one thing — apart from the headline — your reader will definitely look at.
  • Crap stock images — this is a particular problem in the internet marketing world… most stock images look like stock images. Fake. Cheesy. Meaningless. Take real photos of real people doing real things and use them! They’ll be a good investment.
  • Irrelevant pictures — the insurance industry and corporate services are dreadful for this… don’t use big romantic sunset landscapes to advertise with. If you can’t find an appropriate image, don’t use one! It’s a waste of space. Instead, tell a compelling story and include a strong sales message.

Speaking of compelling stories… instead of taking up expensive advertising space or valuable webspace with images that don’t sell, learn how to tell stories that do sell.

Grab a copy of my Storytelling Chronicle, previously only available to my Superheroes.

It’s just £20, and the value you’ll get from it — if you put it into action — will be worth many times more.

Get your copy here:


About the Author

Vicky Fraser

Please do share any articles from this site in part or in full — as long as you leave all links intact, give credit to the author, and include a link to this website and the following bio. Vicky is a gin-quaffing, pole-dancing, trapeze-swinging copywriter who writes about the perils and joys of writing, velociraptor training, and running a small business. She writes this stuff on her websites vickyfraser.com and cookiesforbreakfast.co.uk. She’s the author of one book (with two more in utero) and teaches small business owners how to write copy that sells, and how to be more fecking interesting. You can follow her on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.


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