Sex sells and wins

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Everyone who was at Cannes last week knows Club 18-30 Holidays now.

The controversial print campaign by Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, London, won the press & poster Grand Prix with three racy ads showing young men and women at a pool, a bar and a beach in cleverly suggestive sexual poses that look like random movements but were carefully orchestrated (see Work, P. 78).

Although some Americans at the festival, including North American judges, found the campaign offensive, most admired its astute and unusually frank targeting of young singles who go on beach holidays in search of sexual adventure.

"Usually photographs in ads have a single point of focus," said Donald Gunn, creator of the Gunn Report, a ranking of festival winners. "These are like murals, or tableaux. You're likely to spend a minute with them rather than 10 seconds."

The Club 18-30 controversy didn't end with print. Saatchi entered an even more risque Club 18-30 commercial in the film competition. The spot, in which dogs peer into the bedrooms of Club 18-30 holidaymakers, apparently observing their sexual behavior, and proceed to make love repeatedly along the beach in a very human fashion, was too explicit for TV. Instead, it ran as a U.K. cinema spot and only before movies restricted to people over 18.

Some of the film judges loved the spot and scored it highly, but it was clear that too much sex, even by dogs, would rule it out as the Grand Prix.

The next step is Club 18-30, the movie. David Droga, executive creative director of Saatchi's London office, said Club 18-30 has financed the script for a 90-minute feature film to be called 18-30. The script was written by Saatchi creatives. Club 18-30 imposed just two rules for the movie: no drug use at all, and no sexual activity by characters playing 18-30 representatives. Mr. Droga said the movie could be out by year end.

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