Marketing to women about sex: a tale of taboo.
Does the ad above shock you? Do you find it distasteful? Would you be embarrassed to have your kids see it?
If so, not to worry. It won't be gracing your flat screen anytime soon. Back in September, the ad was turned down by many TV stations and networks, radio stations, websites and even Facebook -- the very folks who bring us a Viagra-thon of messaging, 24/7.
What did Zestra do? Wisely, they called BS on the media, claiming a double-standard in advertising. They then launched a petition for women to sign that read:
Dear Network Executive,
I think it is WRONG that men's sexual products are advertised but ads for women's sexual enhancement products are blocked. I want to END the double-standard in advertising. Women's sexual products should have the same opportunity to be heard.
Then, they took the matter to the airwaves, scoring a segment on ABC Nightline where they enjoyed 3 minutes and 22 seconds of free publicity. In these segments, they revealed that 43% of women suffer from sexual dysfunction, compared to 31% of men, a compelling case for equal air time and shelf space.
Next, rather than wait for a reversal of policy, they stayed in the game by recreating their ad, using euphemisms like “wow moments" instead of words like “arousal” and “sexuality.”
An ad I'm glad is airing, but that I find harder to watch than the original. Not quite a Saturday Night Live parody (but close), the spot feels scripted, hackneyed and stalled in sorority-speak. The most interesting tidbit -- that 93% of women who tried Zestra would recommend it to a friend -- is served up as an afterthought rather than as the big a-ha it is. It's regrettable that their hard-won airtime didn't result in something more watchable.
But that's just my take. Watch it here and then tell me: what's yours?