Naked marketing: GQ gets in on the act

Advertisers aren't the only ones using nudity -- or, more often, coy near-nudity -- to raise eyebrows and sales. It's also a favorite trick of magazine editors, as GQ reminds us with its July issue.

The cover features Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Bruno, a gay Austrian fashion reporter and the title character of his new movie. In a send-up of other racy magazine pictorials, Baron Cohen appears wearing not a stitch. Naturally, he's position just so, yielding a picture that's provocative but not quite pornographic.
It's a funny gag -- but some newsstand proprietors aren't laughing. Media Decoder reports that a major Hudson News store in Chicago is obscuring the bottom half of the cover in its displays. Another Hudson News outlet took similar measures when it sold the January issue of GQ, featuring Jennifer Aniston -- nude but for a necktie.

You might think GQ would be annoyed at having its most effective marketing tool -- its cover -- effectively censored. But in this case, a small loss of retail visibility translates into a whole lot of national publicity (like, uh, this article). It's why you can count on seeing plenty more "naked" covers like these.

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