The public transit system in Toronto gets me around most places. Inevitably, this means I’ll be exposed to the advertisements posted throughout it. Posters adorn bus shelters, subway platforms and the interior of the vehicles. Ad screens are popping up throughout subway stations. Sometimes the vehicles themselves, too are plastered with giant ads.
Sex is pervasive in our culture and media; it is used to sell pretty much everything. Except for sex, it seems. I think this calls for a great big HUH?
Case in point: Alesse is a popular contraceptive pill, AKA birth control, for women. This advertisement has been annoying me for some time for the simple reason that this it has absolutely nothing to do with sex. Go ahead… read it.
There seems to be a stigma attached to sex for women. This is changing slowly, but the perception that men having sex is good and women having sex is bad hasn’t completely gone away. This is why I’ve added the College Candy sex blog to my blogroll; it’s written by women about sex. I believe understanding the female perspective on sex will help build better understanding and communication in a relationship.
The ad completely avoids the perception that a woman who likes sex is somehow a slut, and takes a different approach. The woman pictured looks like she could be a student or young professional, perhaps in her twenties or early thirties. The ad is successful at least in that young professional women tend to want careers, not babies! Still, if we infer that to be the intended meaning of the ad, it still requires that the viewer knows what Alesse is.
I’ve been advised by a female friend that the ad is actually about “girl power.” It’s an interesting perspective that I hadn’t fully considered. I can see the allure of an empowerment message to a female audience. She’s not just in control, she’s “fabualesse.”
- Are advertisers afraid of portraying women as sexual beings rather than sex objects?
- Is the idea that women like sex frightening to society as a whole?
- Would women reject the product if its advertising carried a more sexual message
- Does the empowerment message in the ad strike a chord with it’s female audience?
- Considering Alesse is only available by prescription, does advertising it like this actually affect sales?
Tell me what you think.