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Great Moments in Advertising

Everything Is Wrong With This Douching Ad [Video]

Hi there! This is the stupidest thing you’ll see today. While we are in favor of revering the powers of the mighty vagina to an extent (since we have them and all), this Summer’s Eve ad — which ran in one theater before the Harry Potter movie — is yet another case of advertising a product using sexist and phallic imagery — Well hello, two sets of guys fighting for the noble honor of the (vinegar-fresh) vadge with pointed objects! — to try and get you to stick something in your lady business that doesn’t belong there. Ancient women have been doing throughout the ages! Primitive (read “non-white”) cultures did it too! And all advertising execs know that tribal imagery will remind viewers of “herbal” or “organic” remedies and distract them from the fact that they’re selling scented vinegar wipes. (We’re looking at you, lady with her arms outstretched to the sky in the shape of a “V”!)

And this isn’t just advertising creating a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s shilling a product that’s bad for you. Douching is actually really unhealthy, even dangerous. Don’t douche. Trust us, your vagina is fine. And even undouched, it is still worthy of honor without men having to fight over it or babies being birthed from it.

But should this kind of thing surprise us, since it’s coming from the ad wizards who said that the best way to get a raise was to douche? Maybe not. And yeah, in the tiniest, teensiest way, they acknowledge their own ridiculousness by the end of the ad, but not enough to negate the complete and total misfire they just squirted at us.

(The Frisky)

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  • Kath

    Well, that’s gone and ruined any future attempts to listen to half of my music catalogue (Which is made up of Future World Music, The Immediate, Two Steps from Hell, E.S. Posthumus et al), because I’ll keep remembering this advert.


  • DH

    I already knew that douching was terrible for you, but that scene in Boardwalk Empire where Margaret reaches for the FUCKING LYSOL really drove it home.
    Fuck these ads. My bits clean themselves.

  • Anonymous

    Lysol and Clorox advertised during the 1900′s as birth control as well as douches.  I wonder how these products will hold up 100 years hence.  

  • Frodo Baggins

    “Ancient women have been doing throughout the ages!”
    Doing what?

  • Jasmine Angela Diocares

    I was under the impression that the product in question was for external use only. Honestly, I’ve never gotten the impression that feminine wash products were used for anything internal at all. Pretty sure it says so on the bottle.

  • Francesca M

    This was before Potter?? Oh my lord. But yeah this doesn’t look like an ad for douche… it looks like they want to give you special soap for your lady business outside, not the inside business. What’s wrong with dove or aveeno? YEESH.

  • Komiyan

    Yeah, that’s the case. They do no harm, they’re just for ‘freshness’ sake.

  • Wesley Smith

    I think we’re reading more into this than was intended. Whether or not we find this humorous, this is clearly meant to be funny. The sweeping score, the broad, cinematic imagery… like a lot of commercials shown before the previews, this ad is intended to evoke mental images of epic movies like Cleopatra and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon before shifting focus to the product.

    But the “primitive (read ‘non-white’) is really kind of stretching it. If they wanted to show primitive cultures and used white actresses, we’d probably be crying foul even louder? And nowhere in the ad does it say that women in ancient cultures douched. They kind of, maybe draw a line just through the imagery, but that’s it, and that’s far less than a lot of ads do.

    You could make the argument that it has some phallic imagery, but you’d have to admit that it has just as many yonic symbols (We’re looking at you, lady with her arms outstretched to the sky in the shape of a “V”!)

    Honestly, if I were a woman, I’d find the “nudge-nudge” tone of the “c’mon ladies” is probably the most offensive thing in the ad. After all the seriousness and building up in the previous minute, the ad takes a serious left turn in to irrelevance. That last line SOUNDS like it was written in the boardroom by a VP who’s been divorced twice and has resorted to speed dating. 

    I know literally nothing about douches since my wife doesn’t use them (she only married one…hyuk), but other than the fact that they’re selling a product that is bad for you (hey, it worked for cigarettes), I find it really hard to find much to be offended about here.

  • Wesley Smith

    …and, yes, I am aware that I devoted more words (and probably more time) than Jamie did with the original post. 

  • Kristin Frederickson

    My vagina is the center of civilization, and as such, I expect all men to fight to the death in a forest at midnight for it. With bamboo sticks. And before you call me sexist for deriving all my power and self worth from my lady parts, don’t forget that men are completely disposable and only deserve to live if they can beat up smaller guys less worth of the vagoo. Take that sexism.

  • Erin Dougherty

    If ads are clever, then I’ll enjoy them. If they’re pandering, it’s nauseating. This ad was like watching those cartoon bears talk about wiping their bums and wondering how much TP is left stuck afterwards. Yuck.

    Side note though – love that epic ES Posthumus music. +1

  • Duffy Elmer

    When I saw the ad before my Potter viewing, I shouted at the screen that douche was bad for your vag. But after reading this: Wash; I’m not too sure if it’s all that bad, mostly because they direct you to use it externally only. I suppose I can’t speak for the ladies, but I know that (as a dude) unloved junk can get kinda smelly. Soap and water should really be able to do the trick, but if there’s one thing my biased cultural education has taught me, it’s that women love pampering themselves with very specific health & beauty products (and why should the vulva be any different?)

    Having never actually seen a douche in use, I’m not sure if there is some sort of tip or something on the product designed to shove fluid up the vagina; but I suppose without any glaring disconnects between design and marketing lingo, I don’t see why it’d be terrible to use on the vulva and not internally.

    Although ,as a side point, I thought the part where they made women glorious by making men fight over their vaginas was kinda degrading to both sexes.

  • Anonymous

    Clorox??? Jesus fucking christ.

  • Anonymous

    Meant to evoke Cleopatra and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon you say? Gee willikers, I never would have guessed! Now that I know how much insight and cleverness went into the ad, my opinion has drastically changed! Good thing we had someone to explain it to us.

  • Anonymous

    It says so on the bottle in the same sense that Q-tips say on the package not to stick it in the ear. By definition, douching is introducing liquid into the vagina itself and rinsing. Or else I guess we need a squeezy bottle and nozzle in order to wash our labia? Nope. 

    Their lawyers make them write “external” use so that when people get infections as a result of douching they can’t sue. It doesn’t change how people use the product.

  • Anonymous

    Complaining about how men perceive their “secret garden” apparently.

  • Edcedc8

    “ two sets of guys fighting for the noble honor of the (vinegar-fresh) vadge with pointed objects!”
    yeah, because that doesn’t  happen.
    or are you just pissed off at nature?

  • Edcedc8

    I would totally fight to impregnate you.

  • Edcedc8

    you’re welcome.

  • Anonymous


  • Lauron Haney

    They are the ones that made the commercial.

  • Janice Clanfield


  • Natalie Ferguson

    First of all, this ad was NOT for douching products. Where was there a single douche kit in this ad?! I saw cleansing wipes and washes, which are no different from any other body wash or make up removal cloth you would usually buy. I don’t even see douches in the store anymore and I don’t think they are a part of Summer’s Eve’s usual marketing line up.

    I feel like this article, and a lot of the comments, came across as way too defensive Femi-Nazi over something that’s not at all sexist or offensive. Am I the only woman who thought this ad was funny? I snickered and
    didn’t take it all very seriously, as I am sure was the intention. C’mon
    gals (and guys), lighten up a bit. Men HAVE fought and died over women, seen back in those days as more of a sexual object than men do in this day and age. The ad isn’t reducing a woman down to JUST their sexual parts, but just saying that being our vagina is the most important biological facet of being a woman, why not give it a bit of pampering? And women have been taking care of their vaginas since the primitive ages, I am certain.

    Furthermore, Ms. Frevele, are you calling racism just because they spotlighted non-white cultures…? I’m really confused on your purpose mentioning that in the parenthesis.

    Yes, the vagina is often described as a “self cleaning oven”, but I’m pretty sure we still actually clean them. It’s kind of stupid they would show the ad before Harry Potter, instead of say Bridesmaids or something more audience appropriate, but I think this ad was witty and unafraid to poke fun at itself. C’mon, people. How are we going to move past sexism and racism if we cry wolf at everything that’s just the least bit cheeky?

  • Kristin Frederickson

    “Men HAVE fought and died over women”
    It’s true, but can you tell me exactly why that’s a good thing? Why it needs to be celebrated and put in a commercial that’s meant to make women feel powerful about their sex? Because if you ask me, that seems pretty horrific for people of both genders (not to mention that laughing at men killing themselves over women seems way more man-hating than getting “defensive” over the ad). 

    “but just saying that being our vagina is the most important biological facet of being a woman”
    Oh, thanks for telling me. I guess I can get rid of my hearts, lungs, liver and brain then. I mean, it’s not like they’re biologically important.

    “And women have been taking care of their vaginas since the primitive ages, I am certain/Yes, the vagina is often described as a “self cleaning oven”, but I’m pretty sure we still actually clean them.”
    Yes, women are expected to clean themselves, because not being hygienic is gross no matter what your gender. But women have been washing their downstairs with water and perhaps a mild soap for years, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Wipes and washes (and yes, douches) are unnecessary, and have the ability to upset the natural balance, even if you’re just wiping off the outside. That means that Summer’s Eve is either going to set your vagina aflame if you use it, or it’s so diluted that you might as well be pouring spring water on their lips. Either way, people shouldn’t be wasting money on it.

    I will say this commercial does a good job of avoiding the pussystink-shame that usually goes along with feminine hygiene products, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good product.

    As for racism… let’s compare these ads;
    white vagina;
    black vagina;
    hispanic vagina;

    And props to them for remembering there are more races in the world than black and white, but c’mon.

  • Natalie Ferguson

    “Oh, thanks for telling me. I guess I can get rid of my heart, lungs,
    liver and brain then. I mean, it’s not like they’re biologically
    important to being a woman.”

    C’mon. Put down that knife. Don’t go carving out your innards. They do important stuff too. I didn’t imply any of those fleshy objects that keep us alive were any less important than they are. I meant the biological, physical facet unique to being a woman (Besides breasts, I suppose, and then you could argue which is more important: that which bears children or that which sustains them. I’d still say the va-jay-jay. I digress). Seriously though, the vagina is pretty awesome, and it’s obvious from ancient art to contemporary plays like the Vagina Monologues that women see and celebrate that. I’ve never been to a Women’s Liver Festival before.

    And no one said that fighting and dying over a woman is a good thing. I don’t think Summer’s Eve was defending that. But, it’s true. Are we supposed to ignore that? Can Summer’s Eve not comment on it and point out that the vagina has ruled and directed men’s minds sine the Stone Age and poke a little fun at it? Do they have to be -that- socially responsible? Good gods, they are selling vaginal wash, not cigarettes. Reading into the ad THIS much just shows how much people pick apart EVERYTHING that’s in the media to the point of ridiculousness. The rabid PC-ness of the 21st century is not always a good thing.

    …but on the flipside, those linked ads are stereotypes (especially the Hispanic one. Wow.). I wonder if they were from the same ad agency. The weren’t nearly as bad and borderline racist as some stereotype ads (Like the PSP ads from a few years back. Oi…), and I wouldn’t call them racist. But yes, those are kind of ridiculous.

    (And on a personal note, I use Summer’s Eve and have managed never to set my vagina on fire or rob me of my precious self-cleaning bacteria. I actually like that minty fresh vag feeling at morning and night.)

  • Kristin Frederickson

    “C’mon. Put down that knife. Don’t go carving out your innards. They do important stuff too.”
    Ah, fine. But only ’cause you asked nicely.
    And I agree that vaginas are great and dandy, and I also see why there’s a need for things like the Vagina Monologues considering that there’s been a lot of stigma and shame surrounding vagina owners for hundreds of years, but I honestly don’t see the need to celebrate vaginas. Someone says they wanna celebrate their vagoo, it instantly sets off my bullshit meter because having one isn’t much of an achievement, you’re just born with one or you’re not. I’d much rather celebrate abilities and contributions than physical characteristics.

    “And no one said that fighting and dying over a woman is a good thing. I don’t think Summer’s Eve was defending that.”
    I’m pretty sure they were. They were presenting it as a source of power for women, making men fight over them.

    As for whether or not Summer’s Eve has to be socially responsible, I’d say yes, they do. They have a very bad track record in terms of advertising and I think if they wanna gain back public support, they should get their shit together. Between those racist commercials I linked and that “clean your vagina to get a raise” ad they ran last year, women don’t like them, and not to mention they’re still fighting against anti-douche facts. The celebrate-your-vagina tactic is definitely better than the be-ashamed-of-your-vagina thing they were going for before, but it’s still weird and sort of awkwardly insulting.

  • HotMessSundae

    The package instructions on say “insert into your vagina”.

  • Eric Bazilio

    Do not let crap like this get in the way of Two Steps From Hell. Make an effort!

  • Laura Rodgers

    Summer’s Eve is a company that makes douches.  But the products being advertised here are special soap and special wipes for our (external) ladybits, and wouldn’t be advertised for internal use regardless of what lawyers say or have said.  Pretty sure the company is trying to regain market share among a cohort of young women who are almost universally weirded out by douches.

  • hannah-rose_

    I particularly love how they can’t bear to say “vagina” or in any way reference what the product is actually for. 

  • Anonymous

    Yes! Feminazi, what a great word.  Because wanting equal rights and not wanting to be reduced to the value of a single part of my anatomy is exactly like invading Poland!

    This is super-duper-all-over-the-place sexist.  Dude, it has women standing off to the side meekly while dudes FIGHT OVER THEIR VAGINAS.  I’m insulted by it.  Even putting aside the dubiousness or non-dubiousness of products to freshen up one’s genitals, this IS sexist and racist.  And if we let shit like this slide, then they will keep DOING IT.  Or do something even more obvious.

    And they didn’t “spotlight non-white cultures”, they effing STEREOTYPED THEM.  Oh look, demure asian lady peeking around the corner!  Tough black lady being all tribal and baby-bearing! 

    The little fights matter as much as the big ones. And you can’t “move past” sexism and racism if, despite all your efforts to waltz on forward obliviously, IT KEEPS FUCKING FOLLOWING YOU.  This is how we roll up the newspaper and tell it to take a fucking hike.

  • Dana Howell

    From my exhaustive research of hearing 4 people say this ran before Potter when they saw it, I am willing to say Summer’s Eve did a national ad buy and this ad ran before every Harry Potter showing in America. This ad would be offensive before an X rated movie, but running it before a PG-13 movie is absolutely inexcusable.

  • Mandy

    Exactly! I saw it before Harry Potter and didn’t get what it was until  my mother explained it to me.

  • Tom

    What are 99% of these comments?  People either thought it was funny, and “I’ll remember the product” to it’s offensive to women.  OK.

    Hardly anyone mentions that the real issue is that this ad, stupid and insulting to women as it is, was shown before a CHILDRENS’ MOVIE.  And don’t give me the BS that “it’s not a kids movie, adults go to!”.  You can say that about Disneyland and Magic Mountain as well, and you don’t see ads like this.

    This wasn’t late night on some pay for cable channel.  It was played at movie theaters, knowingly filled with kids.  And what message does it tell those kids, aside from sex-based humor is appropriate in public—-that women are really there to provide their vaginas to men, even to die over.  Ha ha, but it’s funny so that is ok.

    Does anyone, ANYONE find it warped that such a commercial is played for kids?

  • AnnO

    I was in the theater when this ad aired and when it ended I was disgusted and completely offended. Our audience didn’t laugh. One woman gasped. A gentleman behind me made an audible, “Uhh…” This, at least, gives me hope there are still sensible minded people in this world.

    First of all, we were preparing to see a kids/teen movie and surrounded by children.  Good luck parents who now need to explain douching, vaginas and sex to their kids. Tacky ad placement. But what really offends me is the implication that Women’s progress and empowerment throughout history is purely a result of men deferring their power in lieu of possibly “getting some” later.  Do they really want to reenforce this idea to society and KIDS who are still forming their opions of sex and gender equality? It’s scary to think this is their opinon of their customers.

    The snarky conclusion put me over, though. What are you saying? Men aren’t going to like you if you don’t clean your vagina? My ex boyfriend was convinced that douching was necessary for all women to do in order to be “clean”. How many more men/boys are going to form this incorrect opinion as a result of this ad? And girls for that matter?? Controversy of douching aside, to conclude by chiding women who don’t “wash” just emphasizes, yet again, the only great importance a woman can bring to this world is sex. Gee, thanks Summer’s Eve.

  • Tom

    Ann, I will take it one step further.  I hate labels, but I “get” 95% of the “feminist agenda”.  I get equal pay for equal work.  I get breaking down barriers of what women “can and can’t do” as perceived by others, just because of their sex.  And I even get that women want to feel empowered AND feminine, and be take seriously even in a nice dress.  I get it.

    What I don’t get are females that see ads like this, and unlike a few people like you, just laugh it off as humorous.  For the very points you make it’s not.  

    What is it with some “modern women”.  The “Vagina Monologues”.  This ad.   Countless others where men are displayed as goofy, stupid, easily out manipulated, sexist, weak and jerks, while the women save the day.  Women say they DON’T want to be sex objects, but then they make plays, commercials and shows all about the vagina.  Imagine a show all about penises.  The feminists would be up in arms.  Imagine a commercial, let’s say, before the next “Bratz” or “Hannah Montana” movie.  And make it for one of those penis air pumps.  I know what we could do…show ancient times “Women have always valued men for their strength, for their virility, and yes, for the size “down there”….giggle….(cut to cave women duking it out while the caveman stands off to the side, holding his club in a provocative way) …..”and even now”  cut to poolside with the women laughing at the man in the wet trunks, and at his “lack of size”.  And then he gets pushed into the pool by a supposedly well-endowed black guy.

    Could you imagine the uproar?  Not a female in the world would find that “funny”.  It would all be about “protecting the children” against “sexual stereotypes” and “slandering women”.  It would be misogynist, with talks of boycotting everyone.

    It’s real simple ladies. You want to advance the interests of feminists in a positive way?  Stop talking about your vaginas and equating your worth to the essence of a sex organ.  And while you are at it, denounce such material when presented to children.  In short, get a backbone.

    It amazes me, that just because something is presented as “humorous”, you are supposed to just roll with it.  I know a few “men have penises so they are superior” jokes, but I am pretty sure they would go over like a lead zeppelin in here.

    As they should. 

  • Anonymous

    A small group of women challenged the racist elements of the campaign, with the result being a withdrawal of a few ads from You Tube. initiated a petition and there has been a fair bit of attention in the blogging world. Here are two of the best critiques:

    I sense that the battle against this ridiculous, demeaning and offensive campaign will rage for some time.

  • Anonymous

    If you do a little research into the campaign and the advertising world in general, you might find that the majority are men. So while there are women who have had input into the campaign and think it is acceptable, it is mostly men who are the driving force behind these types of depictions of the so-called ‘modern’ woman. Fortunately there are many true feminists who are fighting the campaign and it’s claims of female ‘empowerment’.

  • Cameron Hadoken Russball

    If nothing else, this just takes a really, really long time to tell a not very funny joke. You gotta be snappier in this business.