Summer’s Eve Talking-Vagina Ads Aren’t Racist, Says Agency
(Ad Week) In addition to its 60-second anthem spot, Summer's Eve released three other videos this week featuring talking hand-puppet vaginas, as part of its new "Hail to the V" campaign. The campaign is meant to be about empowering women and rejuvenating the brand following last year's disastrous print ad telling women to douche before asking for a raise. But these three ads have created a new controversy, with some saying the voice work in the African American and Latina versions promotes racial stereotypes. The black woman is "Pam Grier and Lil' Kim all wrapped in to one," writes MoxieBird, while the Latina woman opens with the cry, "Ay-yi-yi." Everyone from Consumerist to the Daily News has weighed in on the withering critiques.
Watch for yourself below and decide. The larger problem for Summer's Eve is that many women see douching products themselves, and any marketing of them, as anti-woman—i.e., creating a feeling of shame around the issue of cleanliness, then selling the antidote to the shame. Casting the process as female empowerment, it seems, is particularly galling. Given the hangover from last year's ad, the racial element of the new spots is just one more thing to get upset about, if you're already opposed to the brand.