With a few exceptions, outside of the Super Bowl, most TV ads I see don’t take risks. That’s understandable. Targeting a mass audience, advertisers largely choose to play it safe. But YouTube is a playground where taking risks may draw in an audience. Ads become content, even ads about unlikely things like women having their periods, condom use and men wiping their butts.
HelloFlo: “Like Santa For Your Vagina”
Let’s start with HelloFlo. If you’ve never heard of it, perhaps it’s because you’re a man and without need of feminine hygiene products. If you’re a woman, well, you’ve never heard of it because it’s a brand new service about to launch, designed to deliver you tampons right when you need them.
How does a new service grab attention? How about an ad where a 12-year-old gets her period first in camp and then rules over all the other campers as they get theirs, until HelloFlo comes to the rescue:
The video has just over 5 million views in the less than two weeks that it has been up. Love it or hate it, it certainly was an effective way for HelloFlo to get some attention. AdWeek has more about the background on how it was produced.
Bodyform: “There’s No Such Thing As A Happy Period”
HelloFlo made me immediately think of another period-related ad from last year. Made by Bodyform, it was a funny response to a man who jokingly ranted on Bodyform’s Facebook page that Bodyform’s ads made it seem like a woman getting her period was a wonderful time of the month. Instead, Richard Neill wrote, in part:
I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin.
Bodyform reacted with a hilarious video called “The Truth,” with a fictional CEO admitting to having lied because focus group testing showed that “some people simply can’t handle the truth” including “the blood coursing from our uteri like a crimson landslide.” Watch. The delivery is priceless:
From Dollar Shave Club: Butt Wipes
Been feeling left out, men? Well, many of you probably remember when Dollar Shave Club came on the scene last year, with an awesome send-up against expensive razor blades by CEO Mike Dubin:
The video is at nearly 11 million views now, and the New York Times has background on how it all came about, plus how Dubin saw his company as not solely about razors but about lifestyle. That leads to its first non-shaving product, One Wipe Charlies, “The Civilized Way To Wipe.”
“Why do you need a butt wipe? Because you’re not an animal,” Dubin explains, in the same funny manner as the first video:
With just over 1 million views since it went up two months ago, it hasn’t had the success of the original. But that’s still a lot of attention. For background on the ad, TechCrunch has more.
Durex: The Joys Of Fatherhood?
There’s nothing for me to quote from this last ad. It’s just Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” playing over scenes of dads with kids — and kids not being at their best.
If you’re not ready for the bad with the ever-so-much good that does come with kids, condom company Durex reminds at the end, “Protect Yourself,” with its logo:
Actually, Durex didn’t make the ad. It was a “spec” ad, made to pitch Durex, as AdWeek explains. I can’t tell how many views the video generated, because the original was pulled. I do know it was making the rounds on Facebook.
I expect the copy of the video above might get pulled, as well. So, watch while you can (a short excerpt is also here). Bonus! Here’s a similar ad that apparently did air on TV, in France, for another condom company: