Do “Sexy” Advertisements Give Surveyors an Unprofessional Image?

In the past, POB has had advertisers who chose to run “sexy ads” in our magazine. This has been a point of conflict with POB readers. In order to gather more feedback, POB posted a questionnaire about such ads in the Point of View section of our website. The responses about provocative ads were split, but more importantly they signified that a large group of people are noticing these ads (for better or worse). All 30 respondents are professional land surveyors or are affiliated with the industry.

Do you find advertisements with “sexy” graphics appropriate for a survey trade publication?

22 people said no; 5 people said yes; and 3 people were indifferent.

Do these types of graphics cause you to read the ad more carefully?

21 people said no; 9 people said yes.

Do you feel these types of graphics add or detract from the purpose of the ad?

25 people said it detracts; 4 people said it adds; and 1 person said neither.

How would you, the reader, respond to this type of ad?

15 people said they wouldn’t buy from the advertiser; 1 person said he would find out more about the product; 10 people said it doesn’t bother them; and 4 people said they were offended, but would still consider the product.

Does the advertising in a surveying trade publication need to conform to the same professional image the surveyor is striving for?

22 people said yes; 4 people said no; and 4 people were indifferent.

Here are some additional comments on the subject: “Ads using sexual overtones to sell products in a “professional” setting are unnecessary and counterproductive. In an industry constantly battling the perception that we’re not professional, this type of ad is a significant disservice.”—PLS, Calif.

“What era are we living in! Sex sells and anyone who doesn’t know that has not left the comfort of their home in the last decade.” —LS, Colo.

“ Reducing the marketplace to that kind of appeal has a negative effect on my impression of advertisers.” —PLS, N.Y.

“I wonder about the minds of those who have complained about such ads. I think such images are both pleasing and amusing and I would much prefer to have the surveyor pictured in the ad on my crew than one of the closed-minded and dour so-called professionals who wrote to the editor to whine.” — anonymous

“I would like to see, and would be more inclined to purchase products whose advertisers used real-life surveyors, engineers, etc… instead of models with the company logos.” —PLS, Ore.

“I’m bombarded by so much advertising these days in every publication that sometimes it takes a flashy ad to catch my eye enough to get me to stop and read it. Although a big red stop sign might do the job, I don’t think a sexy ad is meant to do anything more than tell you to stop and read the ad. It’s just an advertising ploy and not a reflection on surveying professionalism.” —LS, N.C.

“I think most surveyors are trying too hard to make the survey field something it will never be. That is, a hard field to work in. They will say it’s not right. I say if it sells your product who am I or anyone else to say anything about it.” —Party Chief, Mo.

“It is ads like those in question that help to keep our image as a poor one among other professionals and the public.” —PLS, Ohio

“Lighten up!” —PLS, Mich.

* This compilation is not an official survey; it is a questionnaire posted by POB at The people who responded participated on their own accord.