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Hullabaloo


Sunday, November 14, 2010

 
Too Much Stimulation

by digby


We've all seen the TV ads for Viagra and Cialis which are verging on sheer farce at this point. This is the one that captures the absurdity the best IMO:



And I'm sure you've all seen these unbelievably ridiculous commercials on TV, right?




You undoubtedly remember them because you said at the time (no pun intended) "there's a sucker born every minute." They are ubiquitous. They even sell them at Walmart and at the airport these days.

So what's up with this?

When Rachel Braun Scherl, 45, a Stanford University business school graduate, co-founded Semprae Laboratories, which developed Zestra Essential Arousal Oils, a product described as a botanical aphrodisiac, she thought bringing its message to the airwaves would be a snap. Research had shown that tens of millions of American women had sexual difficulty and no products to remedy it.

Scherl, 45, a married mother of two, and company co-founder Mary Jaensch, 58, a married mother of three, thought they had an answer for this unmet need, along with the cash to pay for ads on TV.

In an apparent double standard, many networks and some websites have declined the company's ads; a few will air them during the daytime, and others only after midnight. There is no nudity, sex, or mention of body parts, unlike ads for men's products referring to "erections lasting more than four hours."

"The most frequent answer we get is, 'We don't advertise your category,' " Scherl said. "To which we say, 'What is the category? Because if it's sexual enjoyment, you clearly cover that category. If it's female enjoyment, you clearly don't.' And when you ask for information as to what we would need to change so they would clear the ad for broadcast, they give you very little direction. ... And yet they have no problem showing ads for Viagra and other men's drugs. Why?"

Zestra's ads feature women of various ethnicities who appear to be in their 40s and 50s talking to the camera about how sex "doesn't feel the way it used to" before they had children and that their bodies "don't react" as they did when they were younger.

Zestra's website states that the oil (classified as a cosmetic) works by "heightening sensitivity to touch." The website contains endorsements by three medical doctors and the founder of a sexual health institute, and cites two clinical trials proving its effectiveness.

The oil has been featured on TV shows such as "Rachael Ray," "The Tyra Banks Show," and "Dr. Oz" and ABC's "Nightline," even though the network would allow a Zestra ad only during the late-night "Jimmy Kimmel" show, Scherl said.

A spokeswoman for Oxygen network, which accepted the ad from midnight to 4 a.m. and during "Bad Girls Club" and "Snapped," declined to specify what was objectionable about the ad during other daytime programming, citing client confidentiality.



Can you believe this bullshit? You can sell absurd Penis Enlargement Pills on TV and you can advertise Viagra with a bunch of men dancing in the streets proclaiming they are Champions for managing to get it up, but women's sexual pleasure is relegated to"Bad Girl's Club" if it's allowed on TV at all.

Not surprising, but come on (again, no pun intended):

"When you see naked women bounding around in any music video or open a magazine and see ads for cars or cosmetics, half-naked women are everywhere," Grindstaff said. "That is not women's sexuality. What you see is completely bound up and constructed by male ideas of what women's sexuality ought to be. An ad like Zestra's, with no men in it, about women's pleasure for the sake of pleasure, is threatening, I guess. What other explanation could there be?"



I would bet if they changed the campaign to feature gorgeous young women getting hot for middle aged men, they'd have no problem getting on the air. I suspect that part of the problem is that it features middle aged women instead of young sexy babes, which just makes everybody uncomfortable. It's one thing to see a bunch of paunchy, middle aged men dancing in the streets celebrating the fact that they got it on. It's normal to think of them having sex. Middle aged and older women? I suspect that programmers and ad buyers think that's just icky.


h/t to reader CS

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