Please. No. Don't Hail MY V.
October 14, 2011
By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter
I don't see many commercials, since I don't own a television (and I go do something else while the online ones play.) I had read about the Summer's Eve "Hail The V" campaign, however, and thought it sounded both offensive and stupid. I finally saw one of the commercials and - yep - I was right. Offensive, stupid and - oh yeah - historically inaccurate (Cleopatra was Greek, not native African.) They were also blasted as being racist.
But, all of this ya-yahhing, blasting and outrage happened months ago - positively prehistoric in Web time. (And the commercials are still playing. Seriously. In 2011? For a product nobody needs? I was amazed to find out SE was even still around.) So, why am I bringing the whole thing up now?
Well, recently Dr. Pepper came out with a campaign "Not for Women" to promote their new 10 calorie drink. It's for men who “prefer the full-flavor experience of regular Dr Pepper but want a lower-calorie option without the diet imagery.”
Yippee! As a consumer I'm constantly looking for that "full-flavor experience without that diet imagery." (Warning! Warning! meaningless marketing pitch speak!) However, I don't have a problem with Dr. Pepper. It's kinda silly, but at least they're not saying "Hail to the P!" Can you imagine the outrage? Burning torches. Ropes. Angry mobs. Etc. etc.) Overall, based on what I've read and seen on-line, looks pretty harmless and tongue-in-cheek. (I like DP, so I'll try the new one.)
Where am I going with all this? Let's circle all the way back to that V that apparently needs to be hailed. (and constantly - um - attended - so as not to offend.)
As Barbara and Shannon Kelley noted in their Huffpo post: "Don't get me wrong: We're all for Girl Power, and an end to the hideous pattern of victim-blaming that continues to rage against survivors of sexual assault. And we're pretty fond of our Vs. But what about the rest of us? What about the feminine aspect, that je ne sais quoi that makes women women?...To discuss the feminine as something real, something distinct, yes, different even, well it's still perceived as dangerous. Threatening."
...not to mention smelly. *Sigh* Look, folks. We ARE different. We do think differently. We have different body parts. And, I've got to give Summer's Eve points for - um - balls. I mean, talking hands (with crayon hair?!) mimicking talking Vs? Wow. I'd love to have seen the CEO's face when pitched that one. But, c'mon. Seriously? Yeah, I keep saying that, but seriously. No woman needs their product, and in fact it could cause harm. (Which, of course, makes for marketer desperation which leads to massive stupidity.) Here we are in 2011, and apparently we femmes still don't know how to care for our own body parts...and men fear them? Good God amody, as my grandmom would say (whom I'm sure never spent a second worrying about feminine hygiene. She was too busy living, lovin' granddad and having lots of babies).
If you were going to fear anything about me, it'd be my brain, not my vagina. (And, please no genuflecting, in either case.)
Silly commercial aside, here's what really made my eyeballs roll, from Google result, SE web site: "ID the V. Nearly 70% of women cannot identify five major parts of their own genitalia. Can you? Take this chance to find out – and when you ace it, Summer's"
No. I really don't want to know what they'll give me if I ace it. Thank you, Google, for the text limit.
I'm a "V-" (as in Veronika), so when I saw this post I had to read it (it's a requirement).
Wow... I think I'll avoid the viewing of the commercial as your description tells me ALL I need to know! These commercials are embarrassing as it is - and there's really no way to make them amusing...
I think the Dr. Pepper campaign is interesting in an "A Team" kind of way - goofy, playing to men who are way too insecure. I want to try one as I'm guessing that they have a little sugar and taste better than the straight-up diet (but checking their site there is no mention of the product on the FAQ page - shame on their slow marketing/ad staff).
Of course, maybe they just came up with the "10" campaign as a dare for women to try it?
Crayon hair and a talking hand... who wants to see that, much less buy that product!? Do women "D" their "V-area" at five years old now? How stupid...
Enjoyed your guest post!
Posted by: Veronika Freeman, dotcalm | October 15, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Keep that ramblin' rant handy. We might use it elsewhere.
Posted by: Mary Schmidt | October 14, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Ok...I had a long reply that ended up being a big rambling rant, so I deleted it. I'm with you, Mary. Great post! 'Nuff said.
Posted by: Yvonne DiVita | October 14, 2011 at 12:54 PM