Of course if you find anything slightly interesting, not to say titillating, about these images [of stuck-out tongues in ads], the marketers who use them will all but call you a pervert. Yahoo would not talk about the pictures of their tongue woman, though a publicist for the company made it clear she thought there was something a little creepy about being asked to explain it.
Responding to a phone message left at Fox, a spokeswoman who absolutely refused to give her name denied there was anything sexual whatsoever about the image in the "Thirteen" ads and said it was simply an accurate portrayal of the subject matter of the film, girls going wild.
It's not really a hard question though, is it? The stuck-out tongue reminds us of sex and at the same time expresses defiance -- cute defiance.
Now that it's the subject of a piece in the NYT Style pages, the stuck-out tongue is officially a cliché. The article -- I'm looking at the paper NYT -- features a lot of pictures of young women with their tongues out, but the teaser on the front page is that picture of Albert Einstein with his tongue out. The Einstein tongue-out picture is an even bigger cliché than the current mini-trend of young girls with their tongues out. I'll bet some of my readers have that Einstein picture within view right now. (Or is your Einstein poster more somber?) That Einstein photo is widely loved, and I'm sure it is used in plenty of ads too. But generally, the tongue ads favor young girls, not old men.
Bonus observation: It's always the front of the tongue that is displayed, never the back (except for the minimalist display needed to symbolize "yummy"). The back of the tongue [i.e., the underside] , I note, is the ugliest part of the body one can easily display. Yet our gesture of contempt made by sticking out the tongue uses the more presentable top side. Strange, no? Or is the underside so ugly that we keep it hidden even when we're trying to be nasty?