Talking vagina ads fail the smell test



Hard on the heels of the California Milk Board’s ill-fated “Everything I do is wrong” campaign aimed at helping women with PMS stop being so bitchy to the patient men in their lives, comes now Summer’s Eve with talking vaginas helpfully explaining to women how to make sure no one is offended by any naturally occuring odors emanating from their own bodies. 

You’ve come a long way, baby. 

The conceit of the milk campaign was that milk can help mitigate the symptoms of PMS. But it used men as ugly, hairy mirrors, holding them up to women and saying, “See, look at how being a big PMS-ing bitch gives your fella sad puppy eyes. Drink milk and keep him happy.” It’s a Single Most Compelling Idea straight from 1957. 

It will not surprise you that the campaign has been pulled. Its centerpiece, the website www.everythingidoiswrong, now redirects to (get it?), a site evidently designed to contain the outrage where it’s harder to find. Presumably, reasonable people can go there to stroke their chins and muse on why no highly placed advertising executives will ever get fired for wasting so much marketing money on such a stupid, offensive idea. 

But now comes a campaign from Summer’s Eve, the douche company, wherein hands meant to represent talking vaginas (note the vertical orientation) extol the virtues of the brand’s new coochie soap. I discovered the ads when a friend beefed about the video below on his Facebook page, but his main gripe was that the African-American vagina in the ad talks like she’s from the hood: she suggests that a lady with a no-longer-stinky vagina will want to head straight to “da club.” 

You know, I see his point. If I was African American, I’d be offended by ads that try to patronize me by presuming I’ll eagerly relate to tired cultural stereotypes of my ethnicity. Hell, I’m not African American and it offends me. 

But the offensiveness of this campaign starts well before that. The offensiveness starts with the notion that because of their stinky vaginas, women need to go to special lengths to clean their bodies. So, yeah, I’ll just get this out of the way: there’s pretty much NO ad for this product that wouldn’t offend me. I don’t believe the product needs to exist. At all. 

And the marketers know it. They can’t really address the problem directly, because there is no problem. That’s why for years douche ads have hinted and winked about vaugue notions of “freshness” and “a feeling of confidence.” 

But that kind of subtlety will never “go viral.” Never mind that the creative solution arrived at is just one more chisel slowly chipping away at our humanity.

Gentlemen—and most especially ladies—I give you the talking vagina, soul sister version: