Summer’s Eve is catching some flack for a series of ads that use hand puppets, titled vertically, to promote its line of feminine genital cleansing products. With three puppets, each portraying a different ethnicity with phrases like “”ay-yi-yi” (Latina) and “do you really want to be itchy down here? Mmmmhmm” (African-American), and “Just a little love for your vertical smile,” (Caucasian), for some viewers the clips are managing to hit that magical advertising sweetspot of being both sexist and racist.
The idea that a woman’s private parts require any additional cleaning products beyond soap and water is toxic to some women for various reasons. Products like this bottle of feminine body wash and the box of wipes can can be seen as unnecessary, unnatural, and just even another instance of society trying to convince women that they should be ashamed of parts of their bodies — and then selling them the product to solve the problem the advertisers themselves created.
What’s more, the products themselves aren’t even that special. The wash is essentially just a very mild and lightly scented soap. The wipes are basically foil-wrapped baby wipes, or obstetrical wipes. You can get a box of 100 obstetrical wipes for $2.15. You can get a handi-pack of 16 Summer’s Eve Feminine Cleansing Cloths for $2.89 at Amazon. That’s 17.6 cents a wipe vs 2.2 cents a wipe. Just on the basis of math, Summer’s Eve washes are silly products.
But if you need more reasons to dislike them, there’s plenty. “Summer’s Eve, already guilty of making women feel like their lady bits are dirty and smelly, in need of flushing out and cleaning with special, clarifying soap, has really done it this time,” writes Lexa on the MoxieBird blog. “I thought their products hated women enough, frankly, but they will not be deterred in their woman hating ways. The ads are so flagrantly awful, my head is spinning that they made the air.”
Commenter Grace on that site writes, “My Mexican vagina acts nothing like that and does not own a leopard thong (but I may have to look out for one). These are awful. I am not sure what language my vagina speaks but either way I don’t like this. No me gusta.”
Those reactions certainly aren’t what Summer’s Eve had in mind when they designed the campaign. Summer’s Eve Director of U.S. Marketing Angela Bryant told AdRants, “The whole category has been talking to women the same way since feminine hygiene products have been in the marketplace, and ironically, many media outlets won’t even allow the use of the word vagina in advertising. We are way past-due for a change. Hearing from women on our listening tour last year cemented that now is the time. This campaign is about empowerment, changing the way women may think of the brand, and removing longstanding stigmas: Summer’s Eve is not a means to confidence, rather it’s a celebration of confidence, of being a woman, and taking care of their bodies.”
Here are the ads so you can see for yourself whether they really connected with their user feedback or whether it’s a swing and a miss.
Summer’s Eve Shows Us The Definition Of The Word “Douche” In Their New Ads [MoxieBird] (Thanks to David!)