So, Summer’s Eve finally came to its senses and pulled its controversial ad touting their your-chooch-can-never-be-too-clean, aka
please-use-our-irritation-and-infection-causing products. If you haven’t a clue as to what I’m referring to, then the link above will give you an opportunity to watch the ads featured in its Hail to the V campaign.
The company through an advertising agency initially defended the ads, but later decided to pull them because the controversy was eclipsing “the message and goal of the larger campaign—to educate women about their anatomy and break down taboos in talking about it—and that the online videos had to go.”
“Stereotyping or being offensive was not our intention in any way, shape, or form,” said Barnett. “The decision to take the videos down is about acknowledging that there’s backlash here. We want to move beyond that and focus on the greater mission.”
Barnett further states:
“We do not think they are stereotypical, nor did we obviously intend that. However, it’s a subjective point of view,” said Barnett. “There seems to be an important perception out there that they may be, and we would never want to perpetuate that.”
So, in a nutshell, the PR pro and the company’s mea culpa is moot as they are in denial about how offensive and derogatory these ad are to many women. But their stance is not surprising as many organizations, corporations and groups of people representing whiteness and other forms of dominant sociological, economic and political ideologies tend to insulate themselves, whether intentionally or unintentionally, from persons of color and other oppressed groups.
Barnett and Summer’s Eve’s refusal to admit how offensive and degrading these ads were to some women is a prime example of how often the concerns, criticisms and objections of persons of color and other oppressed groups are swept aside in the name of capitalism and generating profits. Maybe they thought using what presumably were a black, latina and white woman’s hands in each video would appeal to a wide range of women who may or may not consider buying their products. While it’s the norm for corporations to tailor their marketing campaigns to target certain groups of people, playing up racial and ethnic stereotypes is a sure way to have your campaign go from being celebrated to being ostracized.
Using racial and ethnic stereotypes to convince women they need to use harmful chemicals to get rid of their vagina’s natural scent is a one-way ticket to alienating the same women you need to use your products.
What did you think of the Summer’s Eve ads? Were they offensive? Despite the public relations nightmare and resounding criticism, should the company have stood by its campaign?