To promote its new period drama Masters of Sex, Showtime came up with quite a racy logo. The sideways E in the word sex is more than just a stylish flourish; it appears to be the outline of a naked woman's body. The logo has appeared in most print and online ad campaigns and can be seen on many billboards and bus ads. But in some parts of the country, the network had to flip the E upright for its outdoor campaigns. "Because of standards, we had to modify the E," says Donald Buckley, Showtime's executive vice president of program marketing and digital services. "It's intriguing. We're having fun with it."
A freelancer came up with the idea for the logo, which insiders say was originally even more risqué. "I would say 70 percent of people get that there's something going on there," Buckley says. "We've had people think it was a martini glass. Other people see a rear view. Is she naked? Is she wearing a bikini?" Buckley wanted to strike a balance between subtle and salacious. "It's intended to be sexy and maybe a little suggestive," he says, "but also ambiguous."