This "sexist" promotional card was included in a university's welcome packet for students
Science has proven that sex doesn't actually sell in advertising, but that doesn't stop companies from trying. From Cindy Crawford seductively drinking a Coke to Drano's "I'll snake your drain" campaign, sexual innuendos have always been a part of marketing. But it must not be effective, because Cindy Crawford was actually drinking a Pepsi and Liquid-Plumr did the "I'll snake your drain" campaign. You didn't even notice, did you?
Typically you see a racy ad on television, or while flipping through a Maxim magazine. However, students at the University of Sussex discovered one in their welcome packet. Innocent, wide-eyed freshmen opened their orientation materials and discovered a gross ad for BrushBox. And no, the sexual innuendo isn't the word BrushBox. It's not a "brush for your box" - it's an oral hygiene product. Get your mind out of the gutter! Now get it back into the gutter, and let's take a look at this ad!
On one side of the promotional card, a mouth drooling toothpaste foam. Hmmm...
On the other side of the card, an explanation: "Whether you spit or swallow as part of your (twice...) daily oral regime place your oral health on autopilot with Brushbox." I'm glad they bolded spit and swallow. If they didn't do that, I would have never gotten the subtle humor. And notice that afterwards, they didn't say "GET IT?!?!" That showed admirable restraint.
Students complained on Twitter that the ad was sexist, saying "Women deserve better than this." (Who said the face on the ad was a woman’s?)
One person pointed out that men could be offended, too.
One woman imagined the crack marketing team that came up with "spit or swallow."
One woman imagined the marketing team didn't consist of a diverse group of adults.
Even Uncle Ho was offended! Like I always say: You can trust a Ho.
This woman points out the joke doesn't even make sense. Who swallows toothpaste?
The University of Sussex noticed the uproar and tweeted an apology.
A spokesperson for the University of Sussex Students' Union told BuzzFeed News, "We were very disappointed to find this promotional material in our Dig-In boxes, and will be reviewing whether to renew our contract with this supplier."
"We are really sorry if anyone has been offended by the promotional image used in the Dig-In boxes," a BrushBox spokesperson told BuzzFeed news. "We now realise it was inappropriate and misguided of us to use this type of image as a way to raise awareness of dental health issues. We completely understand that the image could be deemed as derogatory to women and for that we are truly sorry - this was never our intention, and we take full responsibility for any upset it has caused."
Well, at least Brushbox and the University of Sussex apologized for the offensive ad. After spending all this time writing about a sexual innuendo, I can't help seeing “sex” in "Sussex." Maybe you guys should change that too.